President Obama ‘not done yet’ with climate change commitment

Despite entering his last term, President Obama has revealed that there is "still much more to do" in his effort to combat climate change, as new plans to release a second round of fuel efficiency standards and reach 50% clean energy targets across the US were announced.

During a video address Obama reflected on the achievements that his administration had implemented, such as an increase in solar and wind project deployments, but noted that the US had to lead in pushing the world “in the right direction”.

“Together, we must continue to work domestically and build upon the progress we’ve made along with other countries – such as the Paris Agreement, the most ambitious climate change agreement in history,” Obama said.

“There’s still much more to do. But there’s no doubt that America has become a global leader in the fight against climate change. And if we keep pushing, and leading the world in the right direction, there’s no doubt that, together, we can leave a better, cleaner, safer future for our children.”

Obama revealed that the White House will roll-out plans to release a second round of fuel efficiency standards, this time aimed at heavy-duty vehicles. Obama will also reach out through partnerships with Canada and Mexico to achieve a 50% clean power target across North America by 2025.

As well as orchestrating a threefold growth in wind power capacity, Obama’s seven-and-a-half-year stint as US President has seen solar power multiple “more than thirtyfold”. Obama has also claimed that carbon pollution from the energy sector is at its lowest levels since 1990 and that renewable energy sources are “finally cheaper than dirtier, conventional power”.

American duty

Obama has been vocal in his efforts to mobilise climate action in the US, using trips to Alaska and Clean Energy Summits as backdrops for his “American energy revolution” ideate.

Nike, McDonalds, Sony and Dell are just some of the companies that have pledged to support this revolution. In total, American multinationals have put forward $140bn in new low-carbon investment to support Obama’s Climate Action Plan.

The President has also announced his administration will invest more than $160m in innovative technology across a range of American cities in an attempt to help local communities tackle key sustainability challenges.

While Obama has worked to build a climate platform in the US, the two presidential candidates are offering the public vastly different climate and energy pledges.

Republican nominee Donald Trump is seemingly unable to escape the headlines, and has already threatened to “cancel” the Paris Agreement. In stark contrast, his Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton has vowed to transform the US into a “clean energy superpower”.

Matt Mace

Action inspires action. Stay ahead of the curve with sustainability and energy newsletters from edie