Obama presents a bold vision to combat climate change

In a highly anticipated speech, U.S. President Barack Obama outlined three key steps that his administration will promote over the coming years. The U.S. is currently the world's second largest emitter, behind China.

Step 1: Use less dirty energy

The president called for limits on America's coal-fired power plants, which are currently responsible for around 30% of the country's emissions. He also plans to continue supporting the nation's shift to natural gas, which he referred to as a 'transitional fuel' to be used in the 'medium term'.

Step 2: Use more clean energy

The administration has committed to the goal of doubling America's wind and solar energy output by 2020, and for the federal government to consume 20% of their electricity from renewable sources by that time.

Step 3: Waste less energy

The present noted that roughly a third of current U.S. emissions are a result of building energy use. He called on the nation to install more efficient lights, windows, and appliances, reminding the public that "the savings will show up on your energy bill every month, forever!"

Obama noted that "these new standards might not sound sexy, but its the equivalent of planting 7.6 billion trees and letting them grow for 10 years".

A number of climate adaptation strategies were also announced, including additional funding for critical water and power infrastructure which is designed and constructed to be 'hardened' to withstand floods and stronger storms, which are expected to increase in the future.

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