FEDERAL

Federal

On June 25, 2013, President Obama announced his Climate Action Plan, a multi-pronged approach to address global warming by reducing U.S. greenhouse gas emissions, adapting to the effects of global warming and participating in international efforts to address global warming. The Climate Action plan includes a commitment to reduce U.S. greenhouse gas emissions to 17 percent below 2005 levels by 2020. Central to achieving that target is an Administration proposal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from new and existing power plants which the President directed EPA to undertake in a Memorandum released alongside the Action Plan.  For existing power plants, EPA proposed CO2 emission limits under Section 111(d) of the Clean Air Act on June 2, 2014 and has been instructed to issue final guidelines by June 1, 2015.  States are required to develop implementation plans consistent with those federal guidelines by June, 2016. Additional measures to lower emissions include promoting greater reliance on renewable energy sources, modernizing the U.S. electric grid, investments in technologies that reduce the greenhouse gas impacts of fossil fuels and a periodic process to conduct strategic energy policy planning. The Obama Administration has also proposed a $1 billion climate resilience fund to mitigate the effects of climate change through research and community adaptation projects. In addition, EPA has already adopted several regulations to reduce and track greenhouse gas emissions, including regulations to limit greenhouse gas emissions from motor vehicles, mandatory greenhouse gas reporting requirements and greenhouse gas permitting regulations.

The U.S. government is also very active in conducting scientific research on global warming. The U.S. Global Change Research Program is a collaborative effort involving 13 federal agencies to evaluate the current and future impacts of climate change, inform policymakers and the public about scientific findings and investigate effective ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and deploy cost-effective clean energy technology. With respect to adaptation, an interagency Climate Change Adaptation Task Force has crafted recommendations for how federal agency policies and programs can better prepare the United States to address the risks associated with a changing climate. The White House Climate Data Initiative combines federal data sets to develop tools that help communities prepare for the impacts of climate change.

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