Yes we did: A complete timeline of Barack Obama’s climate legacy

As Barack Obama waves goodbye to eight years in the White House, edie takes a stroll down memory lane to round-up all of the landmark pledges and announcements made by the outgoing US President who strove to leave a safer environment for future generations.

A complete timeline of Barack Obama’s climate legacy

America’s green policy is on a knife-edge.

As one of the world’s largest emitters, the country has spent the best part of the past decade attempting to transform itself into one of the world’s largest low-carbon economies. The work done by the Obama Administration over the past eight years developed from a slow-paced crawl, bogged down by an obtrusive senate, into a rapidly-evolving movement that has seen transport, cities and energy all infused with a low-carbon, resource-efficient hew.

At times, the progress has been slow, but at others, it has been staggering. America’s momentum has captured the interest, and importantly the co-operation, of previously-uninterested parties such as China and Japan – paving the way for a global climate movement that reached its greatest height in December 2015, with the drafting of the Paris Agreement.

The US and China set the wheels in motion for quick-fire ratification of that Agreement, but since then, climate ambitions in the US have been engulfed by the shadow of president-elect Donald Trump.

Much has been made of Trump and his infamous belief that climate change is a “hoax”, but as he enters the White House, some are beginning to believe that he is softening his stance.

It is, of course, highly doubtful that Trump will be remembered for his environmental legacy, but that shouldn’t take away from the positive work that the Obama Administration has done to thrust the climate change agenda onto a global platform – capped off by a new $500m Green Climate Fund pledge Obama made this morning (18 January).

So, to celebrate (or perhaps commiserate) Obama’s last day in office this week (20 January), edie has put together the above timeline of his greatest environmental accomplishments across his two-term reign as US President. Flick through, and enjoy.

Matt Mace

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