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April 3, 2015

As President Obama Submits Climate Plan To UN, EPA Administrator Addresses Question About Keystone

Last Tuesday, President Barack Obama formally submitted to the United Nations (UN) the U.S.’s domestic climate change strategy. Politico called the plan “a key step forward in the lengthy fight for an international climate change deal.” The White House’s outline calls for reducing greenhouse gas emissions from their 2005 levels by 26 percent to 28 percent by 2025. To achieve this goal, the White House told the UN, under authority of the Clean Air Act, the Energy Independence and Security Act and the Energy Policy Act, it has asked:

  • The Environmental Protection Agency to finalize by summer 2015 regulations to cut carbon pollution from new and existing power plants;
  • The Department of Transportation and the EPA to promulgate post-2018 fuel economy standards for heavy-duty vehicles;
  • The EPA to develop standards to address methane emissions from landfills and the oil and gas sector;
  • The EPA to move to reduce the use and emissions of high-global warming potential Hydrofluorocarbons through the Significant New Alternatives Policy program; and
  • The Department of Energy to continue to reduce buildings sector emissions including promulgating energy conservation standards for a broad range of appliances and equipment, as well as a building code determination for residential buildings.

You can learn about and access the White House’s plan here. MSCI supports efforts to address climate change, but in order to adequately address this issue, and not put U.S. job creators at a competitive disadvantage against their global counterparts, the U.S.’s efforts must come in tandem with efforts by all nations, including China and India, which are two of the world’s top polluters. As National Journal said last week, “U.S. officials know that a global deal is toothless without other governments on board.” 

Stay tuned to Connecting the Dots as this story develops. 

Meanwhile, in other environment-related news, according to National Journal, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Gina McCarthy admitted last week that finishing the Keystone XL Pipeline would not be “a disaster” for the environment. It is still unclear when the Obama Administration will release its final decision on whether to approve the pipeline or not. The decision does hinge on reviews, currently underway, by several federal agencies, including the EPA.