On January 1, the State Department submitted the 2014 U.S. Climate Action Report to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). The report details actions that the U.S. is taking domestically and internationally to address climate change.
The 2014 report fulfills requirements under the UNFCCC for all Parties to report periodically on actions and progress in combating climate change. The last U.S. Climate Action Report was submitted in 2010.
The 2014 report indicates that:
The U.S. has made significant progress in reducing emissions by doubling electricity generation from renewable sources, establishing strong fuel economy standards, and promoting energy efficiency in homes and businesses.
The goal to reduce emissions by ~17% below 2005 levels by 2020 is ambitious but achievable through a range of actions across the economy. The President’s Climate Action Plan augments domestic efforts to address climate change by setting the U.S. on a path to:
Implement new rules to cut carbon pollution from the power sector;
Enhance action on energy efficiency and clean energy technologies; and
Reduce methane (CH4) and hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) emissions.
The U.S. is preparing for the impacts of climate change, which are already being felt across the country. In addition to the Obama Administration’s efforts to strengthen America’s resilience to the effects of climate change, states and communities are taking steps to protect themselves by improving building codes, adjusting the way they manage natural resources, investing in more resilient infrastructure, and planning for rapid recovery from extreme weather events. To further this work, President Obama established a Task Force through which governors, mayors, tribal leaders, and local officials will share approaches and advise the Federal Government on building preparedness and resilience across the U.S.
A graph from the 2014 Climate Action Report, showing the range of projected emissions for (1) the 2012 Policy Baseline scenario (in blue), which assumes that no additional measures to reduce emissions are implemented after 2012; and (2) a scenario (in green) that incorporates post-2012 implementation of additional measures consistent with the Climate Action Plan (TgCO2e = teragrams of CO2 equivalents).
The report reflects the input of 21 Federal agencies, as well as members of the public. It contains the first ever U.S. Biennial Report and the sixth quadrennial National Communication to the UNFCCC. Together, these documents:
Explain how U.S. social and economic circumstances affect U.S. greenhouse gas (GHG) emission levels;
Summarize U.S. GHG emission trends from 1990 through 2011;
Identify existing and planned U.S. policies and measures to reduce GHG emissions;
Show future trends for U.S. GHG emissions under both existing and planned climate policies and measures;
Outline the potential impacts of climate change on the U.S. and the measures the Nation is taking to address those impacts;
Provide information on climate-related financial resources and technology diffusion; and
Detail U.S. research and systematic observation efforts and describe U.S. climate education, training, and outreach initiatives---including those associated with USGCRP.
For the full Fact Sheet on the 2014 U.S. Climate Action Report, please click here.