Today marks the opening of the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP15) in Copenhagen, which will last through December 18th. UN Climate Chief, Yvo de Boer, spoke optimistically of the negotiations, saying, “Never in the 17 years of climate change negotiations have so many different nations made so many firm pledges together. Almost every day countries announce new targets or plans of action to cut emissions.” The U.S. is committed to forging an international response and achieving a successful outcome.

Climate Change is one of the greatest threats facing our planet, and the United States is taking significant action to meet this challenge. Under President Obama, the U.S. has done more to reduce greenhouse gas emissions than ever before, and is demonstrating its commitment to lead through robust domestic action including historic investments in clean energy, stringent vehicle and appliance efficiency standards, and comprehensive clean energy and climate legislation that is making its way through Congress.

But no nation can solve this crisis on its own. Climate change is a global challenge that demands a global solution. The U.S. is engaging allies and partners around the world to forge the necessary international response and to achieve a successful outcome at the UNFCCC conference in Copenhagen.

Special Envoy for Climate Change Todd Stern will lead the U.S. delegation during the two-week conference, and President Obama will attend the closing day on December 18th.  Other U.S. departments and agencies will join the Department of State on the delegation, including the Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Energy, Interior, Transportation, and Treasury; the U.S. Agency for International Development; the Environmental Protection Agency; the U.S. Trade Representative; and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The U.S. delegation will also include officials from the National Security Council and the White House Council on Environmental Quality; and Members of Congress.

Ultimately, a successful international climate agreement must complement and promote sustainable development by moving the world to a low-carbon, clean energy future that provides all nations the opportunity to grow.

To read the full text of the White House statement on the COP15, please click here.

The White House announced on Wednesday that President Obama will travel to Copenhagen on December 9th to participate in the United Nations Climate Change Conference.  Battling Climage Change is a top priority in the Obama Administration, and it has been very obvious in the impressive resume of action and accomplishments that have been developed over the past 10 months.  As part of the lead up to the COP15 in December, here are a few examples of U.S. Domestic and International Leadership.

DOMESTIC LEADERSHIP

Recovery Act: The U.S. is investing more than $80 billion in clean energy through its Recovery Act – including the largest-ever investment in renewable energy, which will double our generation of clean renewable energy like wind and solar in three years.

Efficiency Standard for Automobiles: President Obama announced the first ever joint fuel economy/greenhouse gas emissions standards for cars and trucks in May. The new standards are projected to save 1.8 billion barrels of oil over the life of the program with a fuel economy gain averaging more than 5 percent per year and a reduction of approximately 900 million metric tons in greenhouse gas emissions.

Advancing Comprehensive Energy Legislation: Passing comprehensive energy and climate legislation is a top priority for the Administration and significant progress has been made. In June, The U.S. House of Representatives passed the American Clean Energy and Security Act that will promote clean energy investments and lower U.S. greenhouse gas emissions more than 80 percent by 2050. The Senate continues to advance their efforts to pass comprehensive legislation and move the U.S. closer to a system of clean energy incentives that create new energy jobs, reduce our dependence on oil, and cut pollution.

Appliance Efficiency Standards: The Obama Administration has forged more stringent energy efficiency standards for commercial and residential appliances, including microwaves, kitchen ranges, dishwashers, lightbulbs and other common appliances. This common sense approach makes improved efficiency a manufacturing requirement for the everyday appliances used in practically every home and business, resulting in a significant reduction in energy use. Altogether, about two dozen new energy efficiency standards will be completed in the next few years.

Offshore Energy Development: Within the Administration’s first 100 days, a new regulatory framework was established to facilitate the development of alternative energy projects in an economic and environmentally sound manner that allows us to tap into the vast energy potential of the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS). The National Renewable Energy Lab estimates that development of wind energy alone on the OCS may provide an additional 1,900 gigawatts of clean energy to the U.S.

Emissions Inventory Rule: For the first time, the U.S. will catalogue greenhouse gas emissions from large emission sources – an important initial step toward measurable and transparent reductions.

INTERNATIONAL LEADERSHIP

The Major Economies Forum (MEF): President Obama launched the MEF in March 2009, creating a new dialogue among developed and emerging economies to combat climate change and promote clean energy. At the July L’Aquila summit, MEF Leaders announced important new agreements to support the UN climate talks and launched a new Global Partnership to promote clean energy technologies.

Eliminating Fossil Fuel Subsidies: The President spearheaded an agreement at the Pittsburgh G20 summit for all G20 nations to phase out their fossil fuel subsidies over the medium term and to work with other countries to do the same. Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation nations followed the G20 lead at their summit in Singapore, expanding the number of countries committing to these subsidies. According to the International Energy Agency, this measure alone could reduce global greenhouse gas emissions 10 percent or more by 2050.

Bilateral Energy and Climate Partnerships: The U.S. is accelerating its collaboration with China, India, Mexico, Canada and other key international partners to combat climate change, coordinate clean energy research and development, and support the international climate talks.

Energy and Climate Partnership for the Americas: President Obama proposed a partnership with our neighbors in the western hemisphere to advance energy security and combat climate change. An early product of this cooperation is Chile’s Renewable Energy Center, which receives technical support from the U.S. Department of Energy.

Phasing Down HFCs (Hydrofluorocarbons): The U.S. joined Canada and Mexico in proposing to phase-down HFC emissions, a very potent greenhouse gas, in developed and developing countries under the Montreal Protocol. This represents a down payment of about 10% of the emission reductions necessary to cut global greenhouse gas emissions to half their current levels by 2050.