The last generation

We are the first generation to feel the sting of climate change, and we are the last generation that can do something about it.” - Washington State Gov. Jay Inslee

Years ago, many of us thought of global warming as something that would happen “someday.” As it turns out, “someday” is now.

Since 2000, we’ve experienced 16 of the 17 warmest years on record  including 2016, the hottest year ever recorded. As the oceans warm, we’re learning that it’s no longer a question of if the Antarctic ice sheet will melt but how fast.

We’re fast approaching the point when scientists say climate change could tip toward catastrophe, with sea levels rising faster along our coasts, and storms growing more powerful, and droughts and other forms of extreme weather more disruptive.

A two-part challenge

Nobody, of course, wants to leave the next generation a world where heat waves, floods, droughts and worse are the “new normal,” everyday events in an increasingly dangerous world.

If we accept, as we must, the broad scientific consensus that our pollution is accelerating these changes, then this is our challenge: to stop putting carbon into our air, and to repower our society with clean, renewable energy such as solar, wind and energy efficiency.

The good news is that solutions like solar, wind and efficiency not only reduce carbon pollution. They also clean up our air, reduce asthma attacks, and promote energy independence.

The Clean Power Plan

Over the past eight years, we’ve made significant progress to reduce global warming pollution and to make sure we leave kids growing up today a cleaner, healthier planet.

For example, in June 2014 President Obama moved forward with what The New York Times called “the strongest action ever taken by an American president to tackle climate change.”

His plan is called the Clean Power Plan and it would limit — for the first time ever — carbon pollution from dirty power plants.

Why power plants? The country’s more than 500 coal-fired power plants are America’s #1 source of global warming pollution — even bigger than cars and trucks. 

In fact, the Clean Power Plan would cut this pollution at least 30 percent by the end of the next decade. By giving the states the option to replace dirty coal plants with wind, solar and energy efficiency, it also has the potential to speed the shift to clean power. And the plan is an essential building block to the success of the president’s climate deal with China — which is itself the cornerstone to a broader global agreement. 

More than 8 million supporters

A recent poll shows that 2/3 of all Americans back the idea. Americans submitted more than 8 million comments asking the EPA to take action on the issue. More than 600,000 of these comments have come from our members and supporters.

Unfortunately, some members of Congress — including backers of the fossil fuel industry and those who still deny the overwhelming science behind climate change  have vowed to do everything in their power to block the plan.

What can and must we do to see that the Clean Power Plan remains in place?

First, in Congress, we must persuade enough representatives and senators to defend the Clean Power Plan and other necessary protections from repeal and rollback. 

Second, outside of Washington, we must persuade both Republican and Democratic governors who support clean energy to stand behind the Clean Power Plan  and thereby signal to Congress and the courts that blocking this plan will be politically unpopular.

Third, we must keep showing all of these officials that local leaders and the public are with us and willing to speak out on this issue  because we know when the public leads, our leaders will, eventually, follow. 

Protect our children's future

That’s what happened when we helped mobilize public opinion and support to turn back attacks on solar in Arizona, Colorado and New Mexico and won new commitments to solar in Austin and Houston, Athens and Atlanta, and New York State and California, among other places. Over the last 10 years, we’ve helped establish dozens of pro-solar programs, including the biggest: California’s Million Solar Roofs Initiative.

As Gov. Inslee pointed out, global warming is the challenge of our generation. Protecting our children’s future requires us to stop dumping carbon into our atmosphere and there’s no better place to start than with America’s #1 global warming polluters. 

 

Global Warming Updates

News Release | Environment Texas

30 Local Elected Officials Join 600 Nationally, Tell President Obama: Act on Climate

AUSTIN – President Obama today received a letter signed by 30 Texas elected officials, including El Paso County Judge Veronica Escobar and Houston Senators Rodney Ellis and Sylvia Garcia, thanking him for his leadership on addressing climate change and pledging their support as local partners in implementing carbon pollution standards for power plants and other key components of the president’s Climate Action Plan. In total, more than 600 local elected officials from across the U.S. signed the letter.

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Headline

Worse global warming effects ahead for Texas, federal report says

But Luke Metzger, director of the advocacy group Environment Texas, said climate change is already harming Texas and called greenhouse limits on coal vital.

“This isn’t the only action we need to solve the climate crises,” he said. “But it’s a big step, and taking one step at a time is the only way to move forward.”

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News Release | Environment Texas Research and Policy Center

Clean Energy Is Cutting Carbon Pollution in Texas

AUSTIN – As public concern about extreme weather ramps up, Texas is proving that we can win the fight against global warming. Clean energy policies, such as Texas’ renewable electricity standard, are significantly cutting emissions of carbon pollution – the leading cause of global warming – according to a new report by Environment Texas Research & Policy Center. The report, “Moving America Forward,” showed that Texas’ clean energy policies reduced carbon pollution by at least 18.1 million metric tons of carbon dioxide in 2012. That is comparable to the annual emissions from over 3.7 million cars.

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Report | Environment Texas Research and Policy Center

Moving America Forward

American leadership in the fight against global warming is crucial. America is the world’s largest economy, the second-largest emitter of global warming pollution, and the nation responsible for more of the human-caused carbon dioxide pollution in the atmosphere than any other. Without prompt action by the United States and others to reduce global warming pollution, catastrophic impacts – from coastal flooding to food system disruptions – could become unavoidable.

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Blog Post

Austin Joins Nationwide Vigils Against Keystone XL

Yesterday, Environment Texas held a vigil outside of the Pickle Federal Building attended by over 50 members and volunteer activists standing against the Keystone XL. Globally, we joined over 10,000 people in 283 locations, in 49 states (plus DC and  Canada), calling on President Obama to reject the Keystone XL pipeline.

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