Tuesday, Barack Obama revealed his much anticipated climate change plan to the American people. In addition to linking current agricultural difficulties to global warming, Obama stressed the need to lower carbon emissions.
Obama also broached the subject of the controversial Keystone XL pipeline and suggested that he will allow it to proceed only if it does not cause any carbon emissions.
The administration hopes to make the most significant changes in carbon emissions by enforcing new rules for existing and new power plants. Although not finalized until 2015, these rules might put the US on or even ahead of schedule to reduce emissions by 17% from 2005 levels by 2020.
New initiatives will also be offered in the hopes of lowering emissions. These include allowing permits to generate an extra 10 gigawatts of renewable energy on US public lands by 2020. This is the equivalent of enough power to energize 2.6 million homes.
Between 2013 and 2020, stricter energy-efficiency standards for federal buildings and appliances might prevent up to 3 billion tonnes of carbon from entering the atmosphere. This is the equivalent of two years’ worth of emissions from US coal-fired power plants.
Experts are hoping that once Obama’s plan is fully in place and all measures are followed, the country will become a trailblazer in the fight against climate change – leading by example.