• Promoting Safe and Responsible Production of Natural Gas. Natural gas is helping to reduce carbon pollution, and the Administration is taking steps to make production safer. The Administration is developing new environmental standards for oil and gas drilling on public lands and will continue to invest in research to ensure safe and responsible natural gas production. Under the President’s Climate Action Plan, the Administration is also developing a multi-sector strategy to reduce methane emissions.
• Setting New Energy Efficiency Standards. As part of the Climate Action Plan, since August, the Department of Energy (DOE) has proposed five energy conservation standards and finalized one standard for appliances and equipment. These actions will cut consumers’ electricity and gas bills by hundreds of billions of dollars while reducing carbon pollution.
• Balancing Conservation and Development – Permitting Renewable Energy Projects on Some Public Lands While Setting Aside Places Too Precious to Develop. The President believes that we must encourage energy development in the right ways and in the right places, but he also recognizes that there are some places that are too special to develop. That is why the President will use his authority to protect some of the places that Americans love most, even as we continue to develop energy resources elsewhere. And as we continue the transition to cleaner energy, the President has directed the Department of the Interior (DOI) to continue to make progress towards the President’s goal of permitting 20,000 megawatts of renewable energy projects on public lands by 2020, which if fully built, is enough capacity to power more than 6 million homes. Since June 2013, DOI has approved several large renewable energy projects, including a 500 megawatt wind project in Arizona and a 40 megawatt geothermal energy project in California. In addition, in July of 2013, DOI held its first-ever offshore wind lease sale for areas off the shores of Rhode Island and Massachusetts, and, in the fall, DOI held an additional offshore wind lease sale for an area off the shores of Virginia and announced the next auction for an area off the shores of Maryland.
• Taking Steps to Make our Communities More Resilient to the Effects of Climate Change. In November 2013, President Obama signed an executive order directing agencies to help American communities strengthen their resilience to extreme weather and prepare for other climate-related impacts. Under the EO, agencies are working to modernize Federal programs to better support preparedness for climate change impacts. The EO also established a State, Local and Tribal Leaders Task Force which is composed of 26 elected officials from across the country, which will advise the Administration on how the Federal Government can modernize programs and provide tools to support local climate preparedness efforts.
• Opening New Markets for American Clean Energy Manufacturers. Under the Climate Action Plan, the President directed his Administration to negotiate an agreement that would eliminate tariffs on environmental goods, including clean and renewable energy technologies. Such an agreement would accelerate growth in the $955 billion market in annual global trade in environmental goods, which currently face tariffs as high as 35% in some countries.
Vice President Joe Biden waits to conduct a mock swearing-in ceremony with Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, in the Capitol's Old Senate Chamber, December 2, 2014. Schatz was sworn in to serve the remainder of his term since he was appointed to the seat after Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, passed away.