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U.S. Department of State

Diplomacy in Action

Global Climate Change

Date: 05/21/2009 Description: Renewable Energy © USG Photo

The United States is taking a leading role in addressing climate change by advancing an ever-expanding suite of measures at home and abroad.  The President’s Climate Action Plan includes unprecedented efforts by the United States to reduce carbon pollution, promote clean sources of energy that create jobs, protect communities from the impacts of climate change, and work with partners to lead international climate change efforts.


In 2012, U.S. greenhouse gas emissions fell to the lowest level in nearly two decades, and since the President took office, wind energy production has tripled and solar energy has increased by a factor of ten.  Significantly, in June, 2014 the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency proposed the first carbon pollution standards for existing power plants, which account for a third of U.S. carbon pollution.


The working partnerships the United States has created or strengthened with other major economies has reinforced the importance of results-driven action both internationally and domestically.  U.S.-supported partnerships such as the Major Economies Forum on Clean Energy and Climate Change, the Climate and Clean Air Coalition, the Enhancing Capacity for Low Emission Development Strategies and the Low Emission Development Strategies Global Partnership are achieving measurable impacts now to help countries reduce their long-term greenhouse gas emissions.


Today, the United States is participating in the latest round of international climate negotiations, which were launched at the end of 2011 in Durban, South Africa, are scheduled to culminate in Paris, France in late 2015, and would go into effect in 2020.  The UN climate conference in Lima, in late 2014, is an important step in setting the tone for the Paris conference in the following year.  The United States is working with international partners to address the three main pillars of a global climate agreement — mitigation, adaptation and financial assistance — to achieve an agreement that is ambitious, inclusive and applicable to all, durable and fair.  The administration’s commitment and leadership to put forward a robust post-2020 agreement has helped spur international action to address climate impacts, and the U.S. government is working to carry that momentum to Paris.


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