White House unveils new solar, energy efficiency steps

Ahead of next week’s international summit on climate change, the White House unveiled 50-plus new public and private efforts Thursday to boost the use of two non-polluting power sources: solar and energy efficiency.

It announced $68 million in federal funds for 540 renewable power and energy efficiency projects in rural areas, including 240 solar ones. It said it’s proposing stricter rules for commercial air conditioners that could save more energy than any prior standard and it’s partnering with military bases to launch a veterans’ solar job training program.

These steps alone, it said, will lower energy bills and cut heat-trapping carbon dioxide emissions by nearly 300 million metric tons through 2030 – equivalent to taking more than 60 million cars off the road for one year.

As leaders of more than 100 nations convene Tuesday in New York City for the United Nations Climate Summit, the White House has made several announcements this week to show U.S. leadership in reducing the greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to global warming.

On Tuesday, it announced commitments from 19 major U.S. companies — including Kroger, Target, Coca-Cola, Pepsi and DuPont — to reduce use of a coolant that’s used in many cars, homes and buildings for air conditioning and refrigeration. The coolant, which replaced earlier ozone-depleting chemicals, emits hydrofluorocarbons or HFCs, a potent greenhouse gas.


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