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 America

Statement: By passing a Congressional Review Act resolution, Senate takes valuable step toward reversing catastrophic methane rule

WASHINGTON -- In a bipartisan vote, the Senate passed a Congressional Review Act resolution on Wednesday undoing a Trump-era rollback of methane emission controls. The resolution was introduced in March by Sens. Martin Heinrich of New Mexico, Ed Markey of Massachusetts and Angus King of Maine. Republican Sens. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Susan Collins of Maine joined Democrats in voting for resolution. A similar resolution is pending in the House, introduced by Reps. Diana DeGette of Colorado, Scott Peters of California and Conor Lamb of Pennsylvania.

> Keep Reading
News Release | Environment America

Statement: Biden moves toward allowing states to return to setting stricter vehicle emission standards

WASHINGTON -- The Biden administration announced Monday it would begin to undo the Trump administration’s attempt to block states such as California from setting stronger tailpipe emissions standards than the federal government. Specifically, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) posted a notice seeking public input for the purposes of rescinding the Trump’s administration's action. This is the first step toward reaffirming California’s clean cars waiver under the Clean Air Act and allowing other states to adopt California’s more stringent greenhouse gas emissions standards and zero emissions vehicle mandates. 

> Keep Reading
News Release | Environment America

Biden to commit to major emissions reductions in sweeping climate announcement

WASHINGTON -- According to reports ahead of a global climate summit in Washington, President Joe Biden will announce Thursday that the United States will reduce global warming emissions 50 percent by 2030 as part of America’s commitments under the newly rejoined Paris climate accords. This nearly doubles the target agreed to in 2015 by the Obama administration. The reductions will hinge on an accelerated transition to carbon-free electricity and the phase out of gas-powered vehicles.

> Keep Reading
News Release | Environment America

Report: Pricing carbon key to taking on climate change

BOSTON -- Last month, President Joe Biden released a massive infrastructure spending plan designed to build a cleaner and healthier America. This week, on Earth Day, the president is hosting world leaders for a global climate summit, and is discussing ways in which the U.S. will meet its goals under the Paris climate accords. According to a new report, putting a price on carbon can be key to the success of both. In Carbon Pricing 101: Strategies for putting a price on global warming pollution, U.S. PIRG Education Fund, Environment America Research & Policy Center and Frontier Group recommend that the federal government and U.S. states pursue carbon pricing programs, along with other policies, to cut pollution, as the best way to achieve the emissions reductions necessary to stave off the worst of global warming.

> Keep Reading
News Release | Environment Texas

New report: Electrifying Texas buildings would reduce pollution equal to 3.9 million cars

AUSTIN -- Texas ranks #3 in the nation for potential reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and #6 for  potential reduction of gas usage as a result of building electrification, according to a new report released today by Environment Texas Research & Policy Center, TexPIRG Education Fund and Frontier Group. The study, Electric Buildings: Repowering Homes and Businesses for Our Health and Environment, found that completely repowering Texas’s homes and businesses with electricity by 2050 would result in result in emissions reductions of 18.3 million metric tons of carbon dioxide -- equal to taking 3.9 million cars off of the road -- and reduce pipeline gas usage by 378.4 billion cubic feet. Going all-electric in our state’s buildings would help cut emissions, improve public health and protect the planet, the report concluded.

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