Obama's new climate change action plan

On June 26, in light of the global challenge of climate change, president of the United States Barack Obama announced a new Climate Action Plan (CAP).

This plan will tackle the reduction of carbon pollution, a measure some Americans have been waiting on for a long time. Congress has previously blocked a national emissions trading scheme comparable to Australia's own carbon pricing mechanism, and consequently president Obama has used his executive action powers as president to implement a new set of measures.

Australia's federal minister for climate change, industry and innovation Greg Combet responded to this development in a June 26 statement, commenting that the United States' CAP is an important contribution to global efforts in tackling climate change.

One of the major aims of the CAP is to reduce carbon pollution by at least three billion tonnes by the year 2030. In order to help achieve this, the US Environmental Protection Agency has been ordered to complete carbon pollution standards for new as well as existing power plants.

The CAP also includes measures which will support the further development and implementation of renewable energy, energy efficiency and innovation. Considering that the United States is the world's second largest carbon emitter, only surpassed by China, the CAP shows that the nation is taking on a leadership role in combatting climate change. 

"This important action will help the US transition to clean forms of energy, promote US business innovation and create jobs," said Mr Combet.

"As President Obama has said, climate change is too important for political leaders to indulge in scare campaigns and Flat Earth Society meetings," said Mr Combet, commenting on those who doubt the realities of climate change.

"That's as true in Australia as it is in the United States."

The announcement of the CAP comes in light of Australia's own carbon pricing's one year anniversary. While Australia's carbon pricing has been in effect, carbon emissions and electricity usage has dropped. Many Australians have been wary of rising electricity prices and have been encouraged to take up energy efficiency measures in the home.

President Obama's announcement of the CAP is likely to boost the profile of the importance of cutting carbon emissions around the world, and reinforce Australia's own position on climate change.

Posted by Charlie Moore