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Obama Returns From Vacation With Focus on Climate

  • VOA News

From left, President Barack Obama with daughter Malia and first lady Michelle Obama with daughter Sasha, walk form Marine One across the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, Sunday, Aug. 23, 2015.

From left, President Barack Obama with daughter Malia and first lady Michelle Obama with daughter Sasha, walk form Marine One across the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, Sunday, Aug. 23, 2015.

President Barack Obama is continuing his focus on cleaning up the country's energy production with a keynote address Monday at a summit in Las Vegas.

The event comes as Obama returns from a two-week vacation with a number of important issues facing him in the next few months, including working to push the international agreement on Iran's nuclear program through a skeptical Congress.

But with the world trying to clinch a binding agreement to address climate change by the end of the year, the president has been working on reforms at home to cut carbon emissions.

Monday's National Clean Energy Summit is aimed at looking to ways governments and the private sector can work together on clean energy solutions and modernizing the U.S. power grid, according to organizers. In addition to Obama, speakers include leaders from electric utility companies, solar technology firms and an electric car maker.

Earlier this month, Obama unveiled new regulations for power plants with a goal of cutting polluting carbon dioxide emissions by 32 percent below 2005 levels by the year 2030. The plan, if implemented, would also call for boosting the amount of power generated by renewable sources so that it makes up 28 percent of overall power production.

Power companies have already been converting some of their operations in recent years, increasing their reliance on natural gas, solar and wind. As a result, government data has shown a drop in carbon emissions from coal-burning power plants.

The issue of reducing the amount of carbon released into the atmosphere is a major focus on global efforts to contain a rise in temperatures.

The U.S. National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration issued a report last week citing July as the warmest month ever recorded since data collection began in 1880. The same report said so far 2015 is the warmest year on record.

Delegations from all over the world will convene in Paris on November 30 for nearly two weeks of talks to decide how to reach the goal of keeping temperatures from rising more than 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, which scientists warn would bring extreme weather and rising seas. They want a binding agreement with specific plans for each country to accomplish.

A new agreement would go into effect in 2020.

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