Climate Action Plan

Hello all! Thanks for joining me once again for another article of Red Goes Green. As many of you know, President Obama’s term is coming to a close. Just like most presidents nearing the end of their term, he has begun thinking about how he will be remembered after his presidency. It has become evident that President Obama wants to leave behind an environmental legacy.

One of his most noticeable environmental undertakings is the Climate Action Plan. It aims to 1) Cut carbon pollution in America 2) Prepare the U.S. for the impacts of climate change and 3) Lead international efforts to address global climate change.

The first of these goals, cutting carbon pollution in America, is not an easy task. Legislators hope to accomplish this through increased use of clean energy/renewables, updating the transportation sector, and cutting energy waste in homes, businesses, and factories with the implementation of energy efficient technologies. The Climate Action Plan hopes to lead all of these changes at the federal level.

The next goal acknowledges that we will be facing at least a certain degree of climate change in our lifetimes and tries to prepare us for the impacts of it. Rather than mitigation strategies, this part of the plan emphasizes adaptation. This aspect of the plan mostly addresses improving infrastructure in anticipation of rising sea levels, conservation of land and water resources, maintenance of agricultural sustainability, and drought management. All of these areas are expected to see a certain degrees of change in the coming decades making some amount of adaptation necessary.

Finally, the last objective of the Climate Action Plan hopes to create an international effort to address global climate change. It outlines plans for bilateral cooperation among different economies. This section outlines plans for a US-China Clean Energy Research Center, a partnership to advance clean energy with India, and discussions with Brazil about more strategic energy use.

It is nice to see an actual piece of legislation being passed that aims to address carbon emissions, and curb the effects of climate change. After my visit to the Environment Virginia Symposium, I learned that there are some people fighting the Climate Action Plan though. The largest critic of the plan is Dominion Resources, the major power supplier of Virginia. Dominion Resources, claiming that the bill’s standards are too steep in Virginia has been fighting the bill to its fullest ability.

Environmentalists across the state hope that the federal government does not submit to Dominion’s requests to lower the standards. In an age where it seems as if politics is constantly inhibiting the progress of environmental change, it would be comforting to see a situation in which some legislation with actual substance. We all hope that Obama holds strong on this issue in order to preserve his environmental legacy, because the Climate Action Plan could be one of the first plans to actually create change.

Thanks for reading and stay tuned for more environmental news before leaving for summer vacation!

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