New: Pivotal Year—WRI’s 2015 Annual Report

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United States

WRI established its U.S. office in 1982. We work to improve water quality, increase awareness of local climate change impacts, and identify cost-effective emissions-reduction opportunities in the United States. Learn more about our work in the United States.

The White House’s climate action plan aims to transform the U.S. electricity system in the coming decades. The President directed the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to develop and implement standards to reduce carbon dioxide pollution from power plants, double renewable energy in the United States by 2020, and open public lands to an additional 10 gigawatts of renewable energy development, enough to power more than 6 million homes.

The big question is: Are renewable energy sources up to the task of taking on a significant portion of the country’s electricity? Recent trends and data show that the answer to this question is a definitive “yes.”

Four big signs that renewable energy is ready for the limelight include:

While reactions to President Obama’s newly announced climate plan have focused on domestic action, the plan actually has potentially significant repercussions for the rest of the world. These repercussions will come in part through his commitment to limit U.S. investments in new coal-fired power plants overseas. If fully implemented, the plan will help ensure that the U.S. government channels its international investments away from fossil fuels and toward clean energy. The move sends a powerful signal—and hopefully, will inspire similar action by other global lenders.

The world has been asking: How will the United States turn its climate change talk into real action? President Obama began to answer that question this week when he announced his National Climate Action Plan, laying out concrete steps to curb climate change at home and abroad, including a policy that would bar the U.S. from financing conventional coal plants internationally.

The concrete steps he described are vital--most importantly because they represent actions, not just words. But everyone should also take note of the starting point in his speech. It reveals the critical role the international climate change process can play in stimulating climate action.

Craig Hanson

Global Director, Food, Forests, and Water Programs

Craig Hanson is the Global Director of Food, Forests & Water at World Resources Institute. In this role, he guides programmatic strategy, catalyzes projects, and ensures a focus on results,...

Nate Aden

Research Fellow

Nate Aden is a Research Fellow with WRI’s Business Center, as well as the WRI Ross Center for Sustainable Cities. Nate conducts interdisciplinary research focused industrial sector emissions...

Kirsty Jenkinson

Director, Business Center

Kirsty Jenkinson is Director of WRI’s Markets and Enterprise Program and is responsible for the program’s overall strategy, results, financial development and staff capacity.

The program...

Peter Veit

Director, Land and Resource Rights Initiative

Peter is Director of the Land and Resources Rights (LRR) initiative. LRR seeks to strengthen land tenure and natural resource rights of rural people and communities by: 1) conducting research and...

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