Obama promises climate action, again - China Dialogue
Climate

Obama promises climate action, again

Campaigners hope strong US leadership can help bring about a global agreement at the UN climate summit in Paris in 2015
United States’ President Barack Obama re-iterated his commitment to tackling climate change in his annual State of the Union address.

President Obama said climate change was “already harming western communities struggling with drought, and coastal cities dealing with floods” and that he would be setting pollution caps on fossil-fuel burning power stations, as outlined in his Climate Action Plan, announced in June 2013.

 
However, he did not mention the controversial Keystone XL crude oil pipeline from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico, which is still waiting for his approval. 
 
Some observers have also criticised him for pushing the expansion of natural gas, making it harder for renewables like solar and wind to expand their market share.
 
Obama claims gas can be “the bridge fuel that can power our economy with less of the carbon pollution that causes climate change”.
 
Responding to his speech, the World Resources Institute (WRI) said it was now imperative that the US Environmental Protection Agency set “ambitious” emission standards on power plants.
 
“Contrary to what some critics say, these standards can drive innovation and spur new technologies,” said Andrew Steer, CEO of WRI.
 
“US leadership on climate can also help drive global momentum in the lead up to a strong, universal climate agreement in Paris in 2015. By setting a high bar at home, the US can achieve its international commitment to reduce emissions by 17% below 2005 levels by 2020. These actions would build trust in the international community and lay the foundation for more ambitious climate targets beyond 2020."