Local News

Learn more about the U.S. climate policy

Posted January 22, 2008 12:41 a.m. EST
Updated March 22, 2009 4:00 p.m. EDT

The United States government has established a comprehensive policy to address climate change. This policy has three basic components:

  • Slowing the growth of emissions
  • Strengthening science, technology and institutions
  • Enhancing international cooperation

To implement its climate policy, the Federal government is using voluntary and incentive-based programs to reduce emissions and has established programs to promote climate technology and science. This strategy incorporates know-how from many federal agencies and harnesses the power of the private sector.

In February 2002, the United States announced a comprehensive strategy to reduce the greenhouse gas intensity of the American economy by 18 percent over the 10-year period from 2002 to 2012. Greenhouse gas intensity is a measurement of greenhouse gas emissions per unit of economic activity. Meeting this commitment will prevent the release of more than 100 million metric tons of carbon-equivalent emissions to the atmosphere (annually) by 2012 and more than 500 million metric tons (cumulatively) between 2002 and 2012.

EPA plays a significant role in helping the Federal government reach the United States' intensity goal. EPA has many current and near-term initiatives that encourage voluntary reductions from a variety of stakeholders. Initiatives, such as ENERGY STAR, Climate Leaders, and our Methane Voluntary Programs, encourage emission reductions from large corporations, consumers, industrial and commercial buildings, and many major industrial sectors. For details on these and other initiatives as well as other aspects of U.S. policy, visit the U.S. Climate Policy section of the site.