The White House announced a plan Tuesday to curb greenhouse gas emissions by as much as 28%.
The proposal will be submitted to the United Nations as part of a global treaty to combat climate change. The U.N. plans to finalize the treaty at its 2015 Climate Change Conference in Paris this December.
“The United States’ target is ambitious and achievable, and we have the tools we need to reach it. The goal will roughly double the pace at which we’re reducing carbon pollution through cost-effective measures using laws already on the books,” senior Obama advisor Brian Deese wrote in a blog post on Medium.
To implement the plan, the administration will employ fuel economy standards, energy efficiency measures for buildings and appliances, and programs to phase down climate pollutants known as HFCs. Additionally, the plan highlights upcoming rules to limit methane emissions from the oil and gas sector and the EPA’s Clean Power Plan to curb carbon pollution from existing power plants.
This announcement comes after President Barack Obama finalized a historic climate deal with China in Beijing last year.
“As the world’s two largest economies, energy consumers, and emitters of greenhouse gases, we have a special responsibility to lead the global effort against climate change,” Obama said in a joint news conference with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing last November.
At the time, Sen. Mitch McConnell called the plan to curb emissions “unrealistic” and said it would harm the U.S. economy.
McConnell again criticized the “job-killing and likely illegal” Clean Power Plan on Tuesday, saying that even if it were fully implemented, “the United States could not meet the targets laid out in this proposed new plan.”
“Our international partners should proceed with caution before entering into a binding, unattainable deal,” McConnell said in a statement.
This plan is part of a bigger push by the Obama administration to bolster its legacy combating climate change.
Just last week, Obama signed an executive order mandating that government agencies curb their greenhouse gas emissions by 40% over the next decade.
Republicans have largely blocked any legislation on climate, leaving Obama to achieve most of his climate goals through executive measures.
The plan was welcomed by environmental activist groups, including the Natural Resources Defense Council.
“This important commitment sends a powerful message to the world: Together we can slash dangerous carbon pollution and combat climate change,” NRDC president Rhea Suh said in a statement.
“We are confident that the U.S. commitment can be met – and even exceeded.”
Kevin Liptak contributed to this report.