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Three Years of Action under the Climate Action Plan

Three years after the President announced the Climate Action Plan, the Administration is still all in on action on climate change and clean energy at home and abroad.

Tomorrow, at the North American Leaders Summit, the United States, Canada, and Mexico will announce new steps to take action on climate change and clean energy, building on progress already achieved on the global stage. Although we have made huge strides with the international community, we are accelerating our domestic efforts to combat climate change to deliver on the vision the President first set out three years ago, when he announced his Climate Action Plan.

Under President Obama's Climate Action Plan, efficiency standards for appliances and vehicles will avoid 9.3 billion tons of carbon emissions when fully implemented. The same emissions savings as taking all of the cars in America in 2015 off the road for more than 7 years.

Today, in the latest step to put that vision into practice, the Federal Emergency Management Agency and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration released a draft set of national-level community-resilience indicators to support better-informed preparedness capacity-building strategies across the country. Developed in response to needs identified by the State, Local, and Tribal Leaders Task Force and the White House Insurance Industry Roundtable, these resilience indicators will inform the efforts of governments, individuals, and businesses to enhance their resilience to climate change and extreme events.

This important step is simply the latest of many taken under the Climate Action Plan. When the President released the Climate Action Plan, he committed to taking strong, comprehensive action to address climate change. Here’s how President Obama’s Administration has followed through:

The President committed to cut carbon pollution and other greenhouse gases:

  • Promulgated the Clean Power Plan, which is projected to cut carbon pollution from the power sector—the largest source of carbon pollution in the United States--by 32% by 2030.
  • Finalized numerous energy efficiency standards and building codes, which alone will produce emissions savings of 3 billion tons of CO2 through 2030, leading to consumer savings of more than $600 billion through 2030.
  • Supported a more than 30-fold increase in U.S. deployment of solar electricity and a tripling of the amount of wind electricity generated as costs have dropped 70% and 40% respectively compared to 2008. And in 2015 wind and solar made up 67% of new electricity capacity brought online.
  • Released the first-ever standards for new sources of methane pollution in the oil and gas sector  and began the process to regulate existing sources -- providing substantial cardiovascular and respiratory health benefits in addition to reducing warming emissions.
  • Worked with Congress to secure long-term extensions of tax credits for wind and solar, which will support a 100 GW surge in renewable energy deployment in the coming years--double the amount in operation today.
  • Released a 21st century clean transportation plan that will build off of strong fuel efficiency standards for light and heavy duty vehicles.

The President committed to enhance U.S. preparedness for the impacts of climate change:

  • Awarded, through the National Disaster Recovery Competition, $1 billion to 13 states, counties, and cities affected by recent disasters to support innovative, climate-resilient solutions.
  • Launched the first-ever Resilience AmeriCorps program to boost capacity and provide technical assistance to advance climate preparedness in 28 communities in need.
  • Launched the Climate Resilience Toolkit and the Climate Data Initiative, an effort that has made available over 1,000 U.S. government datasets to private-sector innovators and others, to make America’s communities more resilient.
  • Institutionalized the National Drought Resilience Partnership, and initiated more than 25 actions, through a Long-Term Drought Action Plan, to advance drought and water information, preparedness, and recovery from future droughts.
  • Issued Executive Orders directing Federal agencies to take steps to make the nation safer from the impacts of floods and wildfire.

The President committed to lead international efforts to address climate change:

  • Secured the Paris Agreement, where more than 190 countries agreed to a framework for global action on climate change.
  • Launched Mission Innovation, a landmark commitment with 20 countries plus the E.U. committing to double their respective clean energy research and development (R&D) investment over five years to more than $30 billion per year.
  • Secured the first-ever global carbon standards for commercial aircraft through the International Civil Aviation Organization at the U.N. with more than 190 member countries agreeing.
  • Fostered a commitment by more than 30 countries of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development to dramatically reduce financing for coal-fired power plants overseas.
  • Forged a historic joint announcement with China on our climate targets, with a U.S. pledging to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 26 to 28 percent below 2005 levels by 2025, while China committed to peak carbon emissions around 2030 and increase the share of zero-carbon energy used to 20 percent.

Although these accomplishments are representative of the unprecedented progress and action on climate change at the regional, national, and international level, the changes are best seen and felt on the ground—in Baltimore neighborhoods that have access to independently produced solar energy, bases from Colorado to Virginia that are training transitioning military personnel to be the workforce of the future through Solar Ready Vets, and communities that are rebuilding safer and more resilient infrastructure from North Dakota to Louisiana.

And the future looks bright. On Earth Day this year, more than 175 countries signed the Paris Agreement, the largest one-day signing event in the history of the UN – and countries large and small around the world are working to complete their domestic processes to join this year.  There is more to do--from implementing the Paris Agreement to continued international collaboration on reducing HFCs and aircraft emissions—but the United States and the global community are on board.

As we’ve seen over the years, the United States is leading the way in taking action on climate change. In doing so, we will leave the planet a better place for our children and grandchildren.