The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Executive Secretary, Christiana Figueres, believes the recently announced U.S. climate change plan can be a critical move forward towards a new, global climate agreement. "When the United States leads action, it also encourages more rapid international efforts to combat climate change by strengthening political trust, building business momentum and driving new technology solutions," Ms. Figueres said in a statement.

The U.S. announcement comes amid ongoing UN-led negotiations on a universal treaty on climate change by 2015, which would enter into force starting in 2020. One of the goals is to keep global warming to below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.

"I applaud the fact that the U.S. intends to play a leading role by helping to forge a truly global solution to climate change that galvanizes international action to significantly reduce emissions, prepares for climate impacts, and drives progress through the international negotiations. It is significant that the new plan aims to start up rapidly and covers the full menu of solutions to climate change: clean energy, renewable energy, energy efficiency and the many actions that all countries need to take to adapt to accelerating climate change."

A fact sheet provides a short summary of President Obama's plan to address climate change and cut carbon pollution.