In his State of the Union address, President Obama presented his priorities for his second term, including addressing the threat of climate change.
New analysis by the World Resources Institute has identified four essential steps the Obama Administration can take to reach its national target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 17 percent below 2005 levels by 2020.
Following is a statement by Andrew Steer, President, World Resources Institute:
“President Obama made it clear that climate change is one of the great challenges of our generation. It’s a national priority that is essential for the country’s economic future and its global competitiveness. He announced that we ‘must do more to combat climate change.’ If the president puts these words into action, citizens of the United States will be better off, as will citizens around the world.
“The President declared that he will direct his Administration to cut pollution, prepare the country for the consequences of climate change, and shift to more sustainable energy-- these policies will be good for people and the economy.
“The President also called on Congress to engage on this issue. This is important. While the President can and should act, the cost would be lower and the benefits greater with market-based legislation that would effectively put a price on carbon.
“Analysis by the World Resources Institute shows that the Administration can make significant progress in reducing emissions. It can start by enacting standards for existing power plants, which represent the largest portion of U.S. emissions. The U.S. can also make progress by cutting emissions of hydrofluorocarbons, tackling methane from natural gas systems, and enhancing energy efficiency.
“By reaching its emissions target, the U.S. can signal that it’s serious about tackling climate change at home while enhancing its credibility on the global stage. With more droughts, wildfires, and extreme weather events taking their toll around the globe, the world desperately needs more action. And, it needs the United States to be a leader on climate change.
“The Obama Administration has the tools. Now is the time to use them.”
Read an Op-ed by Andrew Steer in the Hill about how the Administration can reduce U.S. emissions.
Read more about WRI’s new report on U.S. emissions, “Can the U.S. Get There From Here?”