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This proposal summarizes the 2013 Climate Action Plan released by the Executive Office of the President of the United States of America.



This seed proposal is a summary of 2013 Climate Action Plan. This summary was created by a Climate CoLab Fellow. We invite other CoLab members to link to this proposal or to use it as a starting point for creating new proposals of their own. The  Executive Office of the President of the United States of America has not reviewed or endorsed this summary.

Recognizing the need to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions and strengthen community resilience by adapting to climate impacts already underway, the President's Climate Action Plan address climate change in three key ways:

  1. Reduce carbon and other greenhouse gas emissions
  2. Adapt to the impacts of climate change
  3. Lead international efforts to address global climate change

Strategies for each category are described in the next section.

Which proposals are included in your plan and how do they fit together?

1) Reduce carbon and other greenhouse gas emissions
1a) Deploy clean energy

  • As part of the United States Clean Power Plan, the United States will cut carbon emissions from the electricity generation sector, responsible for one-third of US greenhouse gas emissions, by regulating carbon emissions as a pollutant under the Clean Air Act. Significant discretion will be given to the states to meet carbon reduction goals.
  • The United States will increase renewable electricity generation by expediting the process of permitting renewable generation and transmission on public lands. 
  • The federal government will invest in clean energy technology, including "advanced fossil energy" projects to avoid, reduce, or sequester greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuels.

1b) Reduce the carbon intensity of the transportation sector

  • Increase vehicle fuel economy standards for "heavy-duty" and passenger vehicles to reduce fuel use.
  • Support the development of alternative energy sources for the transportation sector, including advanced biofuels and advanced batteries and fuel cells for electric cars.

1c) Reduce energy waste in homes, businesses, and factories

  • Develop new efficiency standards for consumer products and appliances (e.g. dishwashers) and federal buildings.
  • Increase grants and loan guarantees for rural communities to invest in energy efficiency and renewable energy generation projects.
  • Support deployment of innovative energy efficiency technologies in test environments.
  • Work to incorporate energy efficiency improvements in mortgage underwriting and appraisal processes.
  • Expand the "Better Buildings Challenge" to multifamily homes and support state and local policies intended to reduce energy waste.

1d) Reduce non-carbon greenhouse gas emissions

  • Providing incentives to induce the private sector to reduce the use of hydrofluorocarbons in favor of "climate-friendly" chemicals.
  • Encourage collaboration between federal agencies, states, and the private sector to reduce methane emissions.
  • Identify new approaches to maintain and enhance the carbon sequestration capacities of forests, grasslands, and wetlands.

1e) Federal Government Actions

  • The federal government will procure 20% of its electricity from renewable sources by 2020.
  • Promote greater energy efficiency in federal buildings by improving access to financing for upgrades, sharing energy data, and strengthening building codes.

2) Adapt to the impacts of climate change
2a) Enhance the resilience of communities and infrastructure

  • Consider the risks from climate change when planning federal infrastructure and natural resource management.
  • Convene a task force of state, local, and tribal officials to recommend policies that support resilient investments, improve pertinent grant and loan programs, and share information and other resources with communities.
  • Provide technical assistance to communities in assessing and preparing for climate vulnerabilities.
  • Assess and improve guidelines for safe buildings and infrastructure, incorporating climate impacts.
  • Provide grant support to infrastructure projects that incorporate climate preparedness in planning process.
  • Provide financial support for research on improving resilience.

2b) Protecting Economy and Natural Resources

  • Federal agencies will identify the impacts of climate change on pertinent sectors and propose strategies to address those impacts.
  • The Department of Health and Human Services will provide guidance to hospitals to reduce the potential impacts of climate change on healthcare provision.
  • Work with insurers to account for climate change risks when developing policies and provide incentives to encourage policy holders to mitigate risk.
  • Create 7 USDA Regional Climate Hubs to provide agricultural producers with up-to-date information and technical assistance.
  • Improve the management of public lands to improve coastal resilience, sequester carbon, and reduce the risk of wildfire. 
  • Provide information and technical assistance to reduce the impact of drought.
  • Update flood-risk reduction standards to reflect new science on climate change impacts.

2c) Managing climate impacts with better climate science

  • $2.7 billion to study climate impacts, risk models, and adaptation efforts, translate information into useful knowledge for decision-makers, and share data.
  • Provide adaptation resources and best practices through Climate Resilience toolkit.

3) Lead international efforts to address global climate change
3a) Collaborate with other countries to address climate change

  • Pursue bilateral and multilateral cooperation to share information, technology, and other resources to support low emission economic development and strengthen resilience to climate change impacts
  • Mitigate short-lived climate pollutants
  • Reduce deforestation and forest degradation
  • Reducing subsidies that support "wasteful" fossil fuel use

3b) Address climate change through international negotiations, particularly at the UN 

Explanation of the emissions scenario calculated in the Impact tab

What are the plan’s key benefits?

The President's Climate Action Plan offers a number of strategies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and mitigate the effects of climate change. The Plan represents the most significant federal action on climate change in the United States to date. The Plan also signals the willingness of the United States to address climate change, an important factor in international climate negotiations and agreements. The Plan sets the stage for future US action to address climate change. 

Though the proposal does provide concrete steps to reduce the United States's contribution to global climate change, the overall impact of the plan in mitigating climate change is unclear. 

What are the plan’s costs?

The costs of the overall plan are unknown, though specific elements are tied to budget allocations. Review the full plan for more information.

What are the key challenges to enacting this plan?

Since this Climate Action Plan was issued by the Executive Office of the President, it does not have the same legal authority an Act of Congress might carry. The Plan can (and is) being challenged by Congress and other parties. The Plan and its constituent strategies may be undermined or eliminated in the administration of the next President of the United States.


All elements of the Plan are intended to begin during the presidency of Barack Obama. Elements of the plan may change based on the election of a new president in 2016 or by an Act of Congress.

Related plans


Read the full Climate Action Plan for additional detail.