Climate Change
And President Obama's Action Plan

The United States is leading global efforts to address the threat of climate change. President Obama is taking the biggest step yet to combat climate change by finalizing America’s Clean Power Plan, which sets the first-ever carbon pollution standards for power plants.

Clean Power Plan

The Clean Power Plan

The Clean Power Plan sets achievable standards to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 32 percent from 2005 levels by 2030. By setting these goals and enabling states to create tailored plans to meet them, the Plan will:

Protect the health of American families. In 2030, it will:

  • Prevent up to 3,600 premature deaths

  • Prevent 1,700 non-fatal heart attacks

  • Prevent 90,000 asthma attacks in children

  • Prevent 300,000 missed workdays and schooldays

Boost our economy by:

  • Leading to 30 percent more renewable energy generation
    in 2030

  • Creating tens of thousands of jobs

  • Continuing to lower the costs of renewable energy

Save the average American family:

  • Nearly $85 a year on their energy bills in 2030

  • Save enough energy to power 30 million homes
    in 2030

  • Save consumers $155 billion from 2020-2030



Watch Now: The President on the Clean Power Plan

Due to climate change, the weather is getting more extreme

Due to climate change,

the weather is getting more extreme

Temperatures are rising across the U.S.

2014 was the hottest year on record globally, and 2015 is on track to break that record.

Globally, the 10 warmest years on record all occurred since 1998.

Source: NOAA

For the contiguous 48 states, 7 of the 10 warmest years on record have occurred since 1998.

Source: NOAA

Extreme weather comes at a cost

Climate and weather disasters in 2012 alone cost the American economy more than $100 billion

$30 Billion

U.S. drought/heatwave

Estimated across the U.S.

$65 Billion

Superstorm Sandy


$11.1 Billion

Combined severe weather

Estimated for incidents across the U.S.

$1 Billion

Western wildfires


$2.3 Billion

Hurricane Isaac


There are also public health threats associated with extreme weather

Children, the elderly, and the poor are most vulnerable to a range of climate-related health effects, including those related to heat stress, air pollution, extreme weather events, and diseases carried by food, water, and insects.

We can choose to believe that Superstorm Sandy, and the most severe drought in decades, and the worst wildfires some states have ever seen were all just a freak coincidence. Or we can choose to believe in the overwhelming judgment of science — and act before it's too late."
- President Obama

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Carbon Pollution

We're still contributing to the problem

Carbon pollution is the biggest
driver of climate change

Global temperatures and carbon dioxide levels are on the rise

The global annual average temperature has increased by more than 1.5 degrees F between 1880 and 2012. This interactive graph from the National Climate Assessment shows the concentration of atmospheric carbon dioxide over the same time period. Climate scientists say we need to avert an additional 2-degree temperature increase to avoid the most catastrophic impacts of climate change.

U.S. greenhouse gas pollution includes:

Carbon Dioxide (CO2), 82%

Enters the atmosphere through burning fossil fuels (coal, natural gas, and oil), solid waste, trees and wood products, and also as a result of certain chemical reactions (e.g., manufacture of cement).


Fluorinated gases, 3%

Hydrofluorocarbons, perfluorocarbons, and sulfur hexafluoride are synthetic, powerful greenhouse gases that are emitted from a variety of industrial processes.

Nitrous Oxide (N2O), 6%

Emitted during agricultural and industrial activities, as well as during combustion of fossil fuels and solid waste.


Methane (CH4), 9%

Emitted during the production and transport of coal, natural gas, and oil as well as from landfills.

Source: EPA

We've made progress thanks to:


Stronger Fuel Economy Standards

We set the highest fuel economy standards in American history that will double the efficiency of our cars and trucks by 2025.


increasing clean energy

Since President Obama took office, the U.S. increased solar generation by twenty-fold and tripled electricity production from wind power.


Decreased Carbon Pollution

In 2012, U.S. greenhouse gas pollution fell to the lowest level in nearly 20 years.


Renewable Energy and Efficiency Targets

35 states have renewable energy targets in place, and more than 25 have set energy efficiency targets.

But we have more work to do.

President Obama's Plan to Cut Carbon Pollution

The President's Clean Power Plan

Reducing Carbon Pollution from Power Plants

Power plants are the largest major source of emissions in the U.S., together accounting for roughly one-third of all domestic greenhouse gas pollution.



In September 2013, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced proposed carbon pollution standards for new power plants.



In August 2015, we established the Clean Power Plan — the first-ever carbon pollution standards for existing power plants, protecting the health of our children and working toward a 32 percent reduction in carbon pollution by 2030.



Expanding the Clean Energy Economy

Since the President took office, the administration has made the largest investment in clean energy in American history, including increasing solar generation by twenty-fold and tripling electricity production from wind power. The Clean Power Plan will lead to 30% more renewable energy generation in 2030.



Since 2009, the Department of the Interior permitted more than 50 clean energy utility-scale projects on public or tribal lands. The projects could support over 20,000 jobs and generate enough electricity to power 4.8 million homes.



The Administration launched Solar Ready Vets, an initiative to train transitioning veterans to enter the solar workforce and meet our goal to train 75,000 people to enter the solar workforce by 2020.



President Obama has created a new initiative to increase access to solar energy for low- and moderate-income households, and to build a more inclusive workforce.



Building on our progress in wind and solar, the Administration secured more than $4 billion in private sector commitments and actions to scale up clean energy innovation and technologies that reduce carbon pollution.

Continuing the momentum for the future:

To ensure America's continued leadership position in clean energy, President Obama has set new goals.


President Obama's Fiscal Year 2015 Budget continues to further American leadership by investing approximately $6.9 billion in funding for clean energy technology programs. This includes investment in a range of energy technologies, from advanced biofuels and emerging nuclear technologies to clean coal. DOE made available $1 billion in additional loan guarantee authority and announced new guidelines for distributed energy projects utilizing innovative technology.


To ensure America's continued leadership position in clean energy. President Obama has set a goal to double wind and solar electricity generation once again by 2020.


Federal agencies are setting a new goal of reaching 100MW of installed renewable capacity across federally-subsidized housing stock by 2020.


The Department of Defense — the single largest consumer of energy in the United States — is committed to deploying three gigawatts of renewable energy on military installations by 2025.

Building Clean Energy Infrastructure

Heavy-duty vehicles (commercial trucks, vans, and buses) are currently the second largest source of greenhouse gas pollution within the transportation sector.



In April 2015, the Department of Energy released the federal government’s first Quadrennial Energy Review (QER) Report, with an focus on our nation's energy infrastructure.



In June 2015, EPA and DOT released a proposal for the next phase of medium- and heavy-duty vehicle fuel efficiency and greenhouse gas standards, which will cut carbon emissions by 1 billion metric tons.



In 2011, we finalized fuel economy standards for Model Year 2014-2018 for heavy-duty trucks, buses, and vans, which reducing greenhouse gas emissions by about 270 million metric tons and saving 530 million barrels of oil.



The Administration has already established the toughest fuel economy standards for passenger vehicles in U.S. history. These standards require an average performance equivalent of 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025.

Continuing the momentum for the future:

During the President's second term, the Administration is partnering with industry leaders and other key stakeholders.


In partnership with industry leaders and other key stakeholders, the Administration will develop post-2018 fuel economy standards for heavy-duty vehicles to further reduce consumption through the application of advanced cost-effective technologies.

Cutting energy waste in homes, businesses, and factories

Energy efficiency is one of the clearest and most cost-effective opportunities to save families money, make our businesses more competitive, and reduce greenhouse gas pollution.



The President’s Better Buildings Challenge enlisted more than 250 partners in cities, states, utilities, manufacturers, school districts, and businesses to improve energy efficiency. Since 2011, they've saved 94 trillion units of energy and $840 million.



In President Obama's first term, DOE and HUD completed efficiency upgrades in nearly two million homes, saving many families more than $400 on their heating and cooling bills in the first year alone.



In December 2013, the Department of Agriculture announced it will provide up to $250 million to help businesses and residential customers in rural areas cut their energy bills through energy efficiency and renewable energy use.



In 2014, DOE issued 9 proposed and 10 final energy conservation standards for appliances and equipment. If finalized and combined with current rules, the energy savings will cut consumers' electricity bills by hundreds of billions of dollars.

Continuing the momentum for the future:

The Administration will continue to take a range of new steps geared toward cutting energy waste and achieving President Obama's goal of doubling energy productivity by 2030, relative to 2010 levels.


To continue the success of the President’s Better Buildings Challenge, the Administration will continue to expand Better Buildings Accelerators to support and encourage adoption of state and local policies to cut energy waste and save consumers and families money.


The Administration will build on its progress and continue to establish impactful energy conservation standards for appliances that — when combined with the progress already underway from the first term — will reduce carbon pollution by at least 3 billion metric tons by 2030, equivalent to more than a year's carbon pollution from our entire electricity system.

Reducing other greenhouse gas emissions

Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) are among the fastest-growing greenhouse gases. Methane, another potent greenhouse gas, accounted for nearly 10% of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions in 2012.



In 2015, the EPA issued two proposals to further reduce emissions of methane-rich gas from municipal solid waste landfills. The proposal is expected to reduce methane emissions by 487,000 tons a year beginning in 2025.



In October 2015, we announced new private-sector commitments and executive actions to reduce the use and emissions of HFCs, reducing the equivalent of more than 1 billion metric tons of carbon emissions globally through 2025.



The Administration has partnered with farmers to cut emissions and increase carbon sequestration in the agricultural and forestry sectors through voluntary and incentive-based measures.



The Administration released proposed standards for methane and volatile organic compound emissions — expected to prevent emissions equal to 7.7 to 9 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent by 2025 — improving air quality.

Continuing the momentum for the future:

The United States must lead through international diplomacy and domestic actions to reduce emissions and transition to safer and more substantial options.


The EPA will also use its authority under the Clean Air Act to encourage private sector investment in low-emissions technology by identifying and approving climate-friendly chemicals while prohibiting certain uses of more harmful HFCs.

The EPA will also use its authority under the Clean Air Act to encourage private sector investment in low-emissions technology by identifying and approving climate-friendly chemicals while prohibiting certain uses of more harmful HFCs.

Moving Forward

When it comes to the oil and gas sector, investments to build and upgrade gas pipelines will not only put more Americans to work, but also reduce emissions and enhance economic productivity.

The Obama Administration will continue to work collaboratively with state governments, as well as the private sector, to reduce emissions across multiple sectors, improve air quality, and achieve public health and economic benefits.

Federal leadership


Since 2008, federal agencies have reduced greenhouse gas pollution by more than 17 percent — the equivalent of permanently taking 1.8 million cars off the road — and set an aggressive new goal of reducing federal emissions by 40 percent by 2025.



Expanded energy performance contracts from $2 billion to $4 billion to provide energy efficiency upgrades for Federal buildings, at no net cost to the taxpayer.



In December 2013, President Obama signed a Presidential Memorandum directing the federal government to buy at least 20% of its electricity from renewable sources by 2020.

Continuing the momentum for the future:

President Obama believes that the federal government must be a leader in clean energy and energy efficiency.


The federal government will consume 20 percent of its electricity from renewable sources by 2020 — more than double the current goal of 7.5 percent.


The President committed to reduce the federal government’s direct greenhouse gas emissions by 30 percent below 2008 levels by 2025.

Even as we take new steps to reduce U.S. greenhouse gas emissions, we must also prepare for the impacts of a changing climate that are already being felt across the country.

President Obama's Plan to Reduce the Impacts of Climate Change

The President's Plan Will

Prepare for the impacts of climate change

…Science, accumulated and reviewed over decades, tells us that our planet is changing in ways that will have profound impacts on all of humankind…those who are already feeling the effects of climate change don’t have time to deny it—they’re busy dealing with it.”
- President Obama, 2013
Read the Press Release

Moving forward, the Obama Administration will help states, cities, and towns build stronger communities and infrastructure, protect critical sectors of our economy as well as our natural resources, and use sound science to better understand and manage climate impacts.

Assess the Impacts of Climate Change


Provide an assessment of climate change impacts on the United States that translates scientific insights into practical knowledge that can help decision-makers prepare for specific impacts.


On May 6, the Administration released the Third U.S. National Climate Assessment (NCA), the most authoritative and comprehensive source of scientific information to date about climate change impacts across all U.S. regions and on critical sectors of the economy. The NCA serves as a critical resource for informing climate preparedness and response decisions across the nation.

Support climate-resilient investments


Remove policy barriers, modernize programs, and establish a short-term task force of state, local, and tribal officials to advise on key actions the federal government can take to support local and state efforts to prepare for climate change.


Federal agencies are working to ensure grants, technical assistance, and other programs support smarter, more resilient investments.


The President's State, Local and Tribal Leaders Task Force on Climate Preparedness and Resilience — made up of 26 Governors, county executives, mayors and tribal leaders — released its recommendation.

Rebuild and learn from Superstorm Sandy


Pilot innovative strategies in the Superstorm Sandy-affected region to strengthen communities against future extreme weather and other climate impacts and update flood risk reduction standards for all federally funded projects.


From HUD grants and DOT funding for resilient transit systems to a DOI competition for support for coastal resilience projects, over $10B in Sandy recovery funds is being used to increase resilience.


In August 2013, the Hurricane Sandy Task Force delivered a rebuilding strategy that is serving as a model for communities across the nation.

Launch an effort to create sustainable and resilient hospitals


Establish a public-private partnership on increasing resilience of the health care industry.


In December 2014, the Administration released a guide providing best practices for increasing the resilience of health care facilities.

Maintain Agriculture Productivity


Deliver tailored, science-based knowledge to farmers, ranchers, and forest landowners to help them understand and prepare for the impacts of climate change.


USDA established seven new “regional climate hubs” to help farmers and ranchers adapt their operations to a changing climate.

Provide tools for Climate Resilience


Include existing and newly developed climate preparedness tools and information that state, local and private-sector leaders need to make smart decisions.


In 2014, the Administration launched the Climate Data Initiative, bringing together extensive open government data and innovation competitions to develop data-driven resilience tools for communities.


In 2014, the Administration released the Climate Resilience Toolkit to provide access to federal tools that can help planners and decision makers conduct their work in the context of a changing climate.

Reduce Risk of Droughts and Wildfires


Make it easier for communities to get the assistance they need to adapt to drier conditions.


Launched the National Drought Resilience Partnership and released the National Wildfire Cohesive Strategy.

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President Obama's Plan Will Lead International Efforts to Address Global Climate Change

Because climate change spans international borders, the President's plan will also

Lead international efforts to address global climate change

America will continue to take on a leadership role in engaging the world's major economies to advance key climate priorities and in galvanizing global action through international climate negotiations. The plan will:


Lead public sector financing toward cleaner energy



The President put forth an initiative to end public financing for new coal-fired power plants overseas, except in rare circumstances. Following the lead of the U.S., other nations—including the U.K., the Netherlands, and the Nordic countries—have joined the initiative.

Bilat cooperation with major economies



We are making progress with key partners on issues such as renewably energy deployment, hydroflourocarbon (HFC) emissions, vehicle emissions standards, energy efficiency, and clean energy initiatives.

Expand clean energy use and cut energy waste



Facilitating the transition to a global clean energy economy, the U.S. Department of Energy is leading the Clean Energy Ministerial, a high-level global forum that promotes policies and programs aimed at scaling up energy efficiency and clean energy.




Building on the breakthrough June 2013 agreement on hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) by President Obama and China’s President Xi, G-20 leaders in September 2013 expressed support for using the expertise and institutions of the Montreal Protocol to phase down HFCs.



The U.S. continues to spearhead the Climate and Clean Air Coalition which has expanded to more than 100 partners, including 46 countries. The Coalition is implementing ten initiatives to reduce emissions of methane, HFCs, and black carbon.

Reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation



In November 2013, the U.S., Norway, and the U.K. launched a public-private partnership to support forests in developing countries to reduce emissions from deforestation and promote sustainable agriculture. The initiative has identified its first 4 priority countries and begun work.




In July 2014, the U.S. and 13 other WTO members, representing 86% of global trade in environmental goods, launched negotiations on the Environmental Goods Agreement (EGA) to achieve global free trade in clean technologies.




The United States continues to play an active role in shaping the design of a new global climate agreement due in 2015, including through our chairmanship of the major economies forum on energy and climate.

Mobilize climate finance



In 2014, the President announced the U.S.'s intention to contribute $3 billion to the Green Climate Fund to cut carbon pollution and strengthen developing countries' resilience. This helped increase other countries’ contributions and propel the fund's initial capitalization over $10 billion.

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