FACT CHECK: Obama in UN speech spins statistics

5 PHOTOS
President Obama speech - United Nations Climate Change - 9/23/2014
See Gallery
FACT CHECK: Obama in UN speech spins statistics
NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 23: U.S. President Barack Obama speaks at the United Nations Climate Summit on September 23, 2014 in New York City. The summit, which is meeting one day before the UN General Assembly begins, is bringing together world leaders, scientists and activists looking to curb climate change. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 23: Dignitaries listen as President Barack Obama, who is in New York City for the 69th Session of the United Nations General Assembly, delivers remarks at the Climate Summit at the United Nations on September 23, 2014 in New York City. World leaders, activists and protesters have converged on New York City for the annual UN event that brings together the global leaders for a week of meetings and conferences. This year 's General Assembly has highlighted the problem of global warming and how countries need to strive to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 23: US President Barack Obama, who is in New York City for the 69th Session of the United Nations General Assembly, delivers remarks at the Climate Summit at the United Nations on September 23, 2014 in New York City. World leaders, activists and protesters have converged on New York City for the annual UN event that brings together the global leaders for a week of meetings and conferences. This year 's General Assembly has highlighted the problem of global warming and how countries need to strive to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 23: Marine One lands in New York City with US President Barack Obama, who is in New York for the 69th Session of the United Nations General Assembly, to deliver remarks at the Climate Summit at the United Nations on September 23, 2014 in New York City. World leaders, activists and protesters have converged on New York City for the annual UN event that brings together the global leaders for a week of meetings and conferences. This year 's General Assembly has highlighted the problem of global warming and how countries need to strive to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
Members of the New York Fire Department watch as Marine One, with US President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama aboard, prepares to land at the Wall Street Heliport in New York, September 23, 2014. The Obamas are traveling to New York for the United Nations General Assembly. AFP PHOTO / Saul LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE


By DINA CAPPIELLO

UNITED NATIONS (AP) - President Barack Obama glossed over some inconvenient truths Tuesday in his climate-change speech to the United Nations. For one, as the U.S. cleans up emissions at home, it's sending dirty fuel abroad to pollute the same sky.

As well, the U.S. is not cleaning up quite as aggressively as Obama implied in his remarks.

Obama was among scores of world leaders at the gathering, which followed by days a mass demonstration in New York City in support of action to combat global warming. Among those who marched: Al Gore, whose 2006 documentary "An Inconvenient Truth" shed light on the problem.

A look at some of Obama's claims and how they compare with the facts:

OBAMA: "Over the past eight years, the United States has reduced our total carbon pollution by more than any other nation on Earth."

THE FACTS: Europe as a whole has cut a bigger proportion of its emissions.

From 2005 to 2013, the period cited by Obama, the European Union reduced carbon dioxide by 13.9 percent, compared with a 10 percent reduction in the U.S. Because the United States pollutes more, it has reduced more raw emissions than the EU - cutting raw tonnage by 649 million tons since 2005, compared with Europe's reduction of 614 million tons. But Europe has cut a bigger proportion of its emissions.

From 1990 levels, the benchmark year from which the EU measures progress, emissions were down about 18 percent in Europe. Meanwhile, compared with 1990, U.S. emissions are up about 10 percent, based on data from the Global Carbon Project.

___

OBAMA: "So, all told, these advances have helped create jobs, grow our economy, and drive our carbon pollution to its lowest levels in nearly two decades - proving that there does not have to be a conflict between a sound environment and strong economic growth."

THE FACTS: About half of the 10 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions the U.S. has achieved in recent years can be attributed to the economic recession, not any specific actions from the Obama administration. Obama's comments also left out that U.S. carbon emissions rose 2.9 percent from 2012 to 2013, the first increase since 2007, because higher natural gas prices spurred more coal use.

___

OBAMA: "We're helping more nations skip past the dirty phase of development, using current technologies, not duplicating the same mistakes and environmental degradation that took place previously."

THE FACTS: The U.S. is actually sending more dirty fuel abroad even as it takes steps to help other nations transition to cleaner energy. The U.S. has cuts its own coal consumption by 195 million tons in six years. But according to an AP analysis of Energy Department data, about 20 percent of that coal was shipped to power plants and other customers overseas. Emissions from that coal were not eliminated but rather moved to other countries. As well, the U.S. exported more products refined from oil - another dirty fuel - than it imported, starting in 2011.

On the other side of the pollution ledger, the Obama administration has placed restrictions on U.S. financing of coal plants overseas that don't control for carbon dioxide and wants to lower tariffs on trade in clean energy technology.

___

OBAMA: "Today I'm directing our federal agencies to begin factoring climate resilience into our international development programs and investments."

THE FACTS: Not an entirely new effort. The U.S. Agency for International Development already factors climate-change impact in its assistance programs, says Oxfam America. Raymond C. Offenheiser, Oxfam America's president, welcomed news that more U.S. agencies will do the same while saying that amounts to "a drop in the bucket" without additional financial commitments.

___

OBAMA ADMINISTRATION: From a White House background document: "The Climate Action Plan is working. In 2012, U.S. greenhouse gas emissions fell to the lowest level in nearly two decades."

THE FACTS: That plan has nothing to do with reductions in emissions in 2012 because it was not announced until June 2013. Moreover, two of its cornerstone regulations - controls on new and existing coal-fired power plants - are at this point just proposals. The administration isn't expected to complete those rules until next year and some states may not submit plans until after Obama leaves office. The statement also leaves out the fact that in 2013, emissions in the U.S. rose for the first time since 2007.

Obama did invest in renewable energy and boost fuel economy before announcing the climate plan. But the plan can't be credited with improving anything before it came into existence.

AP EDITOR'S NOTE : An occasional look at political claims that take shortcuts with the facts or don't tell the full story

Obama Urges World to Follow U.S. Lead on Climate


More from AOL.com:
Obama: No nation has 'free pass' on climate change
Thousands march in NYC, around globe over climate

Read Full Story