U.S. Climate Action Plan

President Obama addresses the nation on the global agreement to combat climate change that was just reached in the Paris climate talks, December 12, 2015.

Video Transcript 
I committed this country to the tireless task of combating climate change and protecting this planet for future generations. goal—an enduring agreement that reduces global carbon pollution and sets the world on a course We came together around the strong agreement the world needed. We met the moment. for presiding with patience and resolve. And I want to give a special thanks to Secretary John Kerry, my Senior Advisor Brian Deese, our chief negotiator Todd Stern, and everyone on their teams for their outstanding work and for making America proud. I also want to thank the people of nearly 200 nations—large and small, developed and developing—for working together to confront a threat to the people of all nations. historic agreement is a tribute to American leadership. In 2009, we helped salvage a chaotic Copenhagen Summit and established the principle that all countries had a role to play in combating climate change. We then led by example, with historic investments in growing industries like wind and solar, creating a new and steady stream of middle-class jobs. We've set the first-ever nationwide standards to limit the amount of carbon pollution power plants can dump into the air our children breathe. From Alaska to the Gulf Coast to the Great Plains, we've partnered with local leaders who are working to help their communities protect themselves from some of the most immediate impacts of a changing climate. Now, skeptics said these actions would kill jobs. Instead, we've seen the longest streak of while driving our carbon pollution down to its lowest level in nearly two decades. And then, with our historic joint announcement with China last year, we showed it was possible to bridge the old divides between developed and developing nations that had stymied global progress for so long. That accomplishment encouraged dozens and dozens of other nations to set their own ambitious climate targets. And that was the foundation for success in Paris. Because no nation, not even one as powerful as ours, can solve this challenge alone. And no country, no matter how small, can sit on the sidelines. All of us had to solve it together. Now, no agreement is perfect, including this one. Negotiations that involve nearly 200 nations are always challenging. Even if all the initial targets set in Paris are met, we'll only be part of the way there when it comes to reducing carbon from the atmosphere. So we cannot be complacent because of today's agreement. The problem is not solved because of this accord. But make no mistake, the Paris agreement establishes for us to continually tackle this problem in an effective way. This agreement is ambitious, with every nation setting and committing to their own specific targets, even as we take into account differences among nations. to help hold every country accountable support the most vulnerable countries as they pursue cleaner economic growth. In short, this agreement will mean less of the carbon pollution that threatens our planet, and more of the jobs and economic growth driven by low-carbon investment. Full implementation of this agreement will help delay or avoid some of the worst consequences of climate change, and will pave the way for even more progress, in successive stages, over the coming years. Moreover, this agreement sends a powerful signal that the world is firmly committed to a low-carbon future. And that has the potential to unleash investment and innovation in clean energy at a scale we have never seen before. The targets we've set are bold. And by empowering businesses, scientists, engineers, workers, and the private sector—investors—to work together, this agreement represents the So I believe this moment can be a turning point for the world. We've shown that the world has both the will and the Progress won't always come quick. We cannot be complacent. building a clean energy economy—jobs created and money saved—we may not live to see the full realization of our achievement. But that's okay. What matters is that today we can be more confident that this planet is going to be in better shape for the next generation. And that's what I care about. and holding their hands, and hearing their laughter, and watching a quiet sunset, all the while knowing that our work today prevented an alternate future that could have been grim; that our work, here and now, gave future generations cleaner air, and cleaner water, and a more sustainable planet. And what could be more important than that? Today, thanks to strong, principled, secure, more prosperous, and more free. And that is our most important mission in our short time here on this Earth. Thanks.

The President's Climate Action Plan Fact Sheet
Fact Sheet

The President's Climate Action Plan Full Report
Report

The President's Climate Action Plan Infographic
Infographic

The President’s Climate Action Plan aims to cut U.S. climate pollution, prepare America for climate change impacts and galvanize global efforts to address climate change.

The Climate Action Plan aims to ensure all nations are acting in unison to address climate change and to ensure a clean, stable environment for future generations.

The plan commits to:

  • Cut Climate Pollution in America. Setting limits on climate pollution will reduce U.S. dependence on fossil fuels and move our economy toward clean and efficient energy sources and technologies. This will create new jobs, lower energy bills and improve health for Americans.
  • Prepare the United States for the Impacts of Climate Change. Building on lessons from Hurricane Sandy, the plan will provide climate preparedness tools and information to state, local, and private-sector leaders, ensuring all regions have what they need to safeguard local homes and economies.
  • Lead International Efforts to Address Global Climate Change. The United States will galvanize global action to address climate change, ensuring no country is acting alone. Among other actions, the plan will:
    • Expand new and existing international initiatives, including bilateral initiatives. See how USAID supports Low Emission Development.
    • Lead global financing toward cleaner energy. See how USAID supports Clean Energy.
    • Strengthen global resilience to climate change. See how USAID supports Adaptation.
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Last updated: January 19, 2016

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