Environment & Energy

Of all the challenges we face as a nation and as a planet, few are as pressing as the three-pronged challenge of climate change, sustainable development and the need to foster new and cleaner sources of energy. The Obama administration and the Office of Science and Technology Policy are committed to addressing this looming issue aggressively, intelligently and in a way that will not only minimize the negative impacts of past policy failings but also strengthen our economy and enhance our national security.

That is why we have set a goal of reducing our greenhouse gas emissions 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050. It takes harnessing the best science and technology and ensuring evidence-based policy decisions. To get there, OSTP and the Obama Administration will:

  • Implement a market-based cap-and-trade system
  • Establish a national low carbon fuel standard
  • Double fuel economy standards within 18 years and get 1 million plug-in hybrid cars on the road by 2015.
  • Set an example—and help support new markets—by demanding that the federal government use renewable sources of electricity and by making federal buildings “zero-emission” by 2025.
  • Develop domestic incentives that reward forest owners, farmers, and ranchers when they plant trees, restore grasslands, or undertake farming practices that capture carbon dioxide from the atmosphere

But climate change and environmental degradation requires a global perspective and international action. So at the same time we will reduce our dependence on foreign energy sources, eliminating imports from the Middle East and Venezuela within ten years; re-engage with the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change; and create a Global Energy Forum based on the G8+5, which includes all G-8 members plus Brazil, China, India, Mexico and South Africa, to focus exclusively on global energy and environmental issues.

And recognizing that the oceans are one of the most important buffers of climate change and a key source of biodiversity and economic stability, the Administration and OSTP will also promulgate policies that propel the United States into a leadership position in marine stewardship. Among other priorities, we will:

  • Work to ratify the Law of the Sea Convention—an agreement supported by more than 150 countries, which will protect our economic and security interests
  • Boost regional and bilateral research and oceans preservation efforts with other nations and reauthorize the Coastal Zone Management Act in ways that strengthen the collaboration between federal agencies and state and local organizations.
  • Strengthen and reauthorize the National Marine Sanctuaries and the Oceans and Human Health Acts.

Finally, we will make sure that the benefits of these important initiatives do not remain at arm’s length but are brought home to directly benefit all Americans by:

  • Creating millions of new green jobs
  • Improving the quality of our nation’s lakes, rivers, and drinking water, in part by strictly monitoring and regulating pollution from large Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations
  • Protecting the public from nuclear material
  • Encouraging organic and sustainable agriculture