One week before the international climate summit in New York, the Obama administration has unveiled over 50 public and private initiatives to grow solar power and improve energy efficiency in the U.S.
These initiatives include a six-year job training program that will teach 50,000 people, including veterans, to become solar panel installers. In addition to saving homeowners billions of dollars on energy bills, this and other programs will reduce carbon dioxide emissions by an estimated 300 million tons by 2030.
The initiatives apply to a range of industries and states:
– The Agricultural Department will spend $68 million to fund 540 solar and renewable energy products.
– Commercial air conditioners will adhere to stricter energy efficiency standards.
– Cisco Systems has pledged to generate at least 25 percent of its power from renewables.
– Cisco, 3M and Kimberly-Clark will give discounts to employees who install solar panels on their homes.
– Montgomery county, Maryland will install 6 megawatts of solar arrays on its public facilities before 2016.
– Beaverton, Oregon will build a 433 kilowatt solar array above its city reservoir.
– Charlottesville, Virginia will install over 250 kilowatts of solar by the end of 2015.
– New York state will join the federal Better Buildings Challenge, which aims to make make buildings 20 percent more energy efficient by 2020. Over 200 organizations have also committed to the challenge.
At the New York climate summit, over 125 heads of state will meet alongside international business leaders to discuss plans for reducing global greenhouse gas emissions. These initiatives, as well as Obama’s continuing climate action plan, are meant to showcase America’s commitment to cleaner, more efficient energy.
Many in the international community are calling on the United States to take the lead in fighting climate change. The September 23 summit is a stepping stone on the road to the 2015 Paris summit, where leaders are hoping the U.S. will sign on to an international climate treaty. Unfortunately, a gridlocked Congress skeptical of climate change has many wondering if Obama will be able to achieve much, despite the executive branch’s impressive series of climate proposals.