White House bets on low-carbon future for US economy

On Monday (July 27) the US Secretary of State John Kerry along with other White House officials launched the American Business Act on Climate Pledge, an initiative involving 13 of the largest and well-known companies who support the Obama Administration on the way towards the global climate change deal in Paris in December. Among them are: Apple, Bank of America, Coca-Cola, General Motors, Goldman Sachs, Google, Microsoft, PepsiCo, UPS, and Walmart. The companies announced measures they would take to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and deploy renewable and energy sources.

Overall they made pledges for $140 billion in low-carbon investments and more than 1,600 megawatts of new renewable energy, the White House said in an official release. By signing the American Business Act on Climate pledge, these companies are voicing support for a strong outcome in the Paris climate negotiations, demonstrating an ongoing commitment to climate action and setting an example for their peers. Although not all the corporate pledges represented new commitments, Monday’s announcement showed the administration’s willingness to get private sector on board in international climate change financing.

President Obama is committed to leading the fight to climate change, the release continues, and its Climate Action Plan will ultimately cut 6 billion tons of CO2 by 2030. To support the government efforts, that aim at reducing emissions by 26-28% by 2025, the private sector, local governments, and foundations have stepped up to increase their plan on energy efficiency, low-carbon investment, and renewables.

A second round of pledges will be released this fall with a goal of mobilizing many more companies to join the initiative. In addition, on October 20-21, Secretary Kerry will convene a forum at the State Department to highlight American leadership in climate investment and innovative solutions to our toughest climate finance challenges.

Also the Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton announced, in a video on her website on Sunday night, her plans to fight climate change. If elected, she pledged to put her efforts into increase US reliance on renewable energy, pledging to have more than 500 million solar panels installed by the end of her first term and to power every home in the country by 10 years she takes office. The two targets are the first elements of what Clinton said would be a comprehensive climate and energy program including revisions in the tax code to promote renewable energy sources, to be finalized over the next few months. The Democratic party’s front-runner for 2016 presidential elections, also added she would fight efforts to roll back President Obama’s executive actions to cut CO2 emissions from power plants.


(Image: White House, Washigton DC. Photo credits: Diego Cambiaso on Flickr)