Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

8 Million Americans Tell EPA to Take Climate Action

Climate

In the past few months, Detroit got flooded by unusually heavy rains. Washington State wrapped up one of its most destructive fires seasons on record. And California remains in the grip of extreme drought, with major reservoirs holding just 43 percent of normal levels. Joe Muzzi, a California farmer, said, "If it doesn't rain this winter we are out of business." Already 17,100 jobs have been lost due to the drought.

Carbon pollution is the biggest driver of climate change, and 40 percent of all carbon pollution in this country comes from power plants.

Climate change is hurting American communities right now. It will take an even greater toll on future generations if we don't confront it.

Fortunately, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is taking action.

Yesterday was the deadline for filing comments on the EPA's proposed limits on carbon pollution from power plants. The National Resources Defense Council (NRDC) submitted detailed comments, because we know the EPA's plan is the most important step the U.S. can take to address climate change right now.

Carbon pollution is the biggest driver of climate change, and 40 percent of all carbon pollution in this country comes from power plants. Yet, astonishingly, there are no national limits on how much carbon pollution these plants can dump into our atmosphere. That's not right, and it's time to fix it.

Americans have filed more than 8 million comments in favor of the EPA's plans to limit carbon pollution from new and existing power plants—the most ever received by the agency. This comes as no surprise given numerous polls. An ABC/Washington Post survey, for instance, found that 7 in 10 Americans view climate change as a serious problem and support federal action to reduce greenhouse gases.

People want to shield their families from extreme weather. And they want to breathe cleaner air and expand the economy. NRDC's analysis confirms that the EPA's carbon limits will deliver those benefits.

Here is how it works. In June, President Obama released a Clean Power Plan calling on the EPA to cut carbon pollution from power plants by 26 percent in 2020 and 30 percent by 2030. States and power companies will develop their own pathways to hit the targets, and energy efficiency and renewable power offer the most cost-effective ways to do it.

This shift toward cleaner energy would save the average American family $103 a year on electricity bills, according to recent analysis.

Strong carbon limits could also create more than 274,000 jobs in energy-efficiency alone in 2020. That's on top of new jobs in the fast-growing renewable power sector. There are already almost 200,000 Americans working to get more power from the sun and the wind. The president's plan will expand those opportunities.

In the comments NRDC filed today, we celebrated the many benefits of the EPA's proposed carbon limits. We also suggested three ways to make a good plan better. Here is what we urged the EPA to do:

1. Recognize the Full Contribution of Efficiency and Renewable Power.

Technology and market advances have improved that picture since the EPA made its initial calculations. As a result, the EPA's figures underestimate the potential for renewable generation in 2020 by at least 40 percent. Similarly, the EPA's projections underestimate what's possible through energy efficiency. Updating those calculations will show we can cut more carbon, at less cost and create even more jobs than the agency's own analysis has shown.

2. Cut Carbon Pollution Even More.

The rapid performance improvements and price cuts in energy efficiency and renewable power make clear that we can do better than the EPA's initial goal. NRDC analysis shows we can readily exceed a 40 percent reduction by 2030. America should commit to that target and show that we're serious about protecting future generations from the dangers of climate change.

3. Set Verifiable and Enforceable Interim Targets for Reducing Pollution.

Right now, the EPA has proposed that carbon pollution cuts be averaged in over a ten-year period between 2020 and 2029. Sharpening our focus with two five-year compliance periods will help states and power companies keep their eye on the ball, step up the pace of progress on efficiency, renewable power and other clean-energy advances and improve our ability to measure and monitor our gains.

Strong limits on carbon pollution will save Americans money, create jobs, improve our health, and help defuse climate change. Republican leaders in Congress, however, have vowed to block the EPA from moving forward—despite the enormous public support for climate action.

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

3 Key Issues Governments Must Agree On at Lima Climate Talks

Low-Carbon Economies Most Promising Pathway to Meaningful Global Climate Agreement

Fracking Frenzy Threatens Developing Nations

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

In Germany's Hunsrück village of Schorbach, numerous photovoltaic systems are installed on house roofs, on Sept. 19, 2019. Thomas Frey / Picture Alliance via Getty Images

Germany's target for renewable energy sources to deliver 65% of its consumed electricity by 2030 seemed on track Wednesday, with 52% of electricity coming from renewables in 2020's first quarter. Renewable energy advocates, however, warned the trend is imperiled by slowdowns in building new wind and solar plants.

Read More Show Less

In many parts of the U.S., family farms are disappearing and being replaced by suburban sprawl.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
General view of the empty Alma bridge, in front of the Eiffel tower, while the city imposes emergency measures to combat the Coronavirus COVID-19 outbreak, on March 17, 2020 in Paris, France. Edward Berthelot / Getty Images

Half the world is on lockdown. So, the constant hum of cars, trucks, trains and heavy machinery has stopped, drastically reducing the intensity of the vibrations rippling through the Earth's crust. Seismologists, who use highly sensitive equipment, have noticed a difference in the hum caused by human activity, according to Fast Company.

Read More Show Less
The current rate of CO2 emissions is a major event in the recorded history of Earth. EPA

By Andrew Glikson

At several points in the history of our planet, increasing amounts of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere have caused extreme global warming, prompting the majority of species on Earth to die out.

Read More Show Less
The "Earthrise" photograph that inspired the first Earth Day. NASA / Bill Anders

For EcoWatchers, April usually means one thing: Earth Day. But how do you celebrate the environment while staying home to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus?

Read More Show Less