President Barack Obama’s climate action plan can be a critical move forward on the path towards a new, global climate agreement, the head of the United Nations climate change body said in reaction to today’s announced strategy by the United States leader.
“When the United States leads action, it also encourages more rapid international efforts to combat climate change by strengthening political trust, building business momentum and driving new technology solutions,” UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Executive Secretary, Christiana Figueres, said in a statement.
She said that the plan is a necessary next step to meet an “immediate, worrying shortfall in action,” and if implemented to the fullest extent to which it is intended, the new strategy will show the US leading serious action to deal with climate change, both at home and abroad, and she urged that the plan be seen as a positive for the US economy and the economies of other countries.
“I applaud the fact that the US intends to play a leading role by helping to forge a truly global solution to climate change that galvanizes international action to significantly reduce emissions, prepares for climate impacts, and drives progress through the international negotiations,” Ms. Figueres noted.
Mr. Obama presented his national plan in a major speech at Georgetown University in the capital city, Washington DC. It includes proposals to cut carbon pollution in country, prepare for impacts of climate change, and galvanize international action.
“It is significant that the new plan aims to start up rapidly and covers the full menu of solutions to climate change: clean energy, renewable energy, energy efficiency and the many actions that all countries need to take to adapt to accelerating climate change,” the top UN climate change official said.
The US announcement comes amid ongoing UN-led negotiations on a universal treaty on climate change by 2015, which would enter into force starting in 2020. One of the goals is to keep global warming to below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.
The plan is “a necessary next stop” to meet a downfall in action and must be “leveraged into fresh, high-level political consensus among countries” to smooth the way for faster progress in the climate change talks, Ms. Figueres said.