The White House announced a slew of new renewable energy initiatives yesterday ahead of next week’s UN Climate Summit in New York. The 50-plus public and private efforts are focused on solar and energy efficiency.
$68 million in funding was announced for 540 renewable power and energy efficiency projects, 240 of which were solar, in rural areas. It’s also proposing stricter regulations for commercial air conditioners and is partnering with military bases to launch a program that aims to train veterans for jobs in the solar industry.
These efforts, the White House said, will help reduce energy bills and reduce carbon emissions by roughly 300 million metric tons by 2030. This would be the equivalent of taking 60 million cars off the road.
In the private sector, 19 companies and two industry groups committed to reduce the use of a popular coolant that is a major contributor to greenhouse gas via its emitting of hydroflurocarbons (HFCs). HFCs replaced ozone-depleting chemicals such as Freon, though it’s still roughly 10,000 more potent gas than carbon dioxide.
Other companies and cities are taking steps to ensure lower emissions and boosted renewable usage. Cisco Systems aims to get at least 25% of its power from renewable sources. New York is also looking to update its buildings with more efficient technologies.
“The good progress we are making on restoring the earth's ozone layer would not have been possible without a strong public-private partnership," Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy said. “By working together again, we can tackle the challenges of climate change.”
The U.N. Climate Summit kicks off next Tuesday.