Earlier today, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon convened a Climate Summit, where President Obama and other world leaders gathered to discuss their actions and commitments to tackle the growing problem of climate change.
In his address at today’s summit, the President made one thing very clear:
No nation — including ours — is immune to climate change.
He’s right. We’re already feeling the effects — the past decade has been America’s hottest on record. In the west, the wildfire season starts earlier in the spring, lasts later into the fall, and burns more acreage. And California is experiencing record drought.
But the worst part: Carbon emissions across the globe are still rising, and that will make the effects of climate change even more damaging over time.
Last year, President Obama put forward a Climate Action Plan that will cut carbon pollution, prepare the U.S. for the effects of climate change, and lead international efforts to fight climate change across the globe.
And we’re making progress. In 2009, the President pledged that we would cut our carbon emissions in the range of 17% below 2005 levels by 2020. We’re on pace to meet that target.
Just last week, the Administration announced new actions to cut carbon pollution by almost 300 million metric tons through 2030. That’s the equivalent of taking more than 60 million cars off the road for a year, at the same time saving American consumers $10 billion on their energy bills.
These are tangible, important steps. Yet even though we’re making ambitious reductions in our carbon emissions while making critical new investments in clean energy, the reality is that climate change is worsening faster than our efforts to address it. As the President made clear today, all the world’s major economies have to step up for us to successfully protect our planet.
We also know that most people get it. Just this past Sunday, nearly 400,000 people — including the U.N. Secretary-General — marched in the streets of New York to show their support for action against climate change. And similar events were held on the same day in more than 160 other countries.
Fighting climate change isn’t an option — it’s an obligation. We may not see the full fruit of our efforts in our lifetimes, but we owe it to our children and our grandchildren to leave this world a better place.
Counselor to the President
The White House