The President’s historic announcement today will send ripples internationally about the United States’ commitment to meeting the climate change challenge. Leading the world as the “indispensable nation” demands that we must be the indispensable stewards of the planet. Decisive action at home empowers us to make more progress internationally on a shared challenge.
The United States is making progress. In 2011, our emissions were down nearly 7 percent over 2005 levels, and our energy-related carbon dioxide emissions were down 8.8 percent from 2005 levels. We are making good progress toward meeting our international pledge to reduce emissions in the range of 17 percent by 2020. The President’s plan keeps us moving in the right direction.
Climate change cannot be solved by one nation alone. The global community must step up. I raise this issue everywhere I travel, in every meeting, and we have already broken new ground by creating the U.S.-China Working Group, where we recently agreed to work together to phase down a class of potent greenhouse gases. Just this past weekend, we launched a Climate Working Group with India that can lead to similar advances. And we are working with partners around the world to craft an ambitious, fair, and durable international climate agreement. Continued pressure and high-level engagement is vital to reduce emissions, transform global energy economies, and help the most vulnerable cope with the effects of climate change. We must use every day to find and take tangible, collaborative steps forward.