Quantcast

Regulating Carbon Emissions: Moving from Rhetoric to Reality on Climate Action

Climate

National Wildlife Federation

Experts from different fields and from all around Ohio joined together for a teleconference today to share their perspectives on the benefits of regulating carbon pollution from power plants and the urgent need to finalize the carbon pollution rule, proposed in April 2012. The rule would, for the first time, set national limits on the amount of carbon pollution emissions that can come from power plants built in the future.

The Gavin Power Plant near Cheshire, OH. Photo credit: Randy Sheidler

The speakers offered information on the economic, agricultural, moral, public health and environmental aspects of implementing these standards.

“The President and Congress have the authority to act, and are compelled to by the Clean Air Act to mitigate climate change pollution,” said David Beach, director of the Green City Blue Lake Institute, the sustainability center of the Cleveland Museum of Natural History. “We have come together today to urge action on this important environmental and economic priority.”

Every year, power plants produce 2 billion tons of pollution, contributing to climate change and creating conditions that lead to increased health risks for children and seniors including more asthma attacks, heart attacks and premature deaths. More extreme and deadly weather events like floods, intense storms, drought and heat waves are occurring. According to the Center for American Progress, there were 25 extreme weather events with damages of more than $1 billion during the time period of 2011-2012. These events left more than 1,100 people dead and the economic costs reached nearly $188 billion.

Dr. Brent Sohngen, a Professor of environmental economics at the Ohio State University and co-author of sections of the 2007 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, discussed the effects of climate on Ohio’s farming sector.
 
“All farm output is climate sensitive,” said Dr. Sohngen. “Crops in Ohio, such as corn and soy, will be heavily impacted in a negative way by climate impacts that we will see over the next century. For every one degree Fahrenheit increase in temperature, we expect to see a 2.7 percent reduction in corn yields.  Climate models project we could see increases anywhere between four and 15 degrees by the end of this century.”

In addition to protecting our air and agricultural environments, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency regulation of greenhouse gas emissions has the potential to make a more energy-efficient and globally competitive economy in the future. History demonstrates that good jobs and a clean environment work hand in hand in the 21st century.

“In the long run, the real choice is not jobs or the environment; It's both or neither,” said Lee Geisse, regional program manager for the BlueGreen Alliance. “If we believe in a future with good jobs, a clean environment and a safer world, then we must act to prevent the effects of climate change. We can do this while making our economy and environment prosper.”
 
For many Ohioans, faith and spirituality have compelled them to action on climate change as a deeply moral imperative. Being good stewards of creation, faith leaders from Ohio and around the country have joined the movement to protect our environment.
 
“Climate change is also an environmental justice issue,” said Dr. Greg Hitzhusen, lecturer in the School of Environment and Natural Resources at the Ohio State University and board chair of Ohio Interfaith Power and Light. “Climate impacts impose a disparate burden on the poor and vulnerable on our planet. There is widespread support among congregations in Ohio to care for creation and respond with action now.”
 
There is widespread agreement that Lake Erie is a treasured resource for Ohioans. Lake Erie is the most biologically productive of all the Great Lakes, often producing more fish for human consumption than all the other Great Lakes combined. However, climate change now threatens this as its water levels, already below average, could drop four to five feet by the end of this century, significantly altering shoreline habitat and decreasing water quality.

“Just as we saw with Hurricane Sandy, an increase in extreme storms will also impact shoreline inhabitants like it did in Northeast Ohio,” said Hyle Lowry, Ohio outreach coordinator for the Alliance for the Great Lakes. “Lake Erie is viewed as the Walleye Capital of the World, but heavy rainfall and flooding caused by climate change will have an environmental and economic impact on our area.”
 
President Obama has repeatedly talked about his obligation to address the causes of climate change. Setting limits on dangerous industrial carbon pollution are a logical step, starting with the most important step of limiting carbon from power plants, which are the biggest pollution source in the U.S. Millions of Americans support this course of action.
 
These new standards, when taken together with other air quality standards proposed to cut pollutants will help to protect health and create jobs by encouraging the development of cleaner, safer technologies.

Visit EcoWatch’s CLIMATE CHANGE and RENEWABLES pages for more related news on this topic.

——–

Click here to tell Congress to Expedite Renewable Energy

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Record flood water levels in Venice hit again on Sunday making this the worst week of flooding in the city in over 50 years.

Read More Show Less

By Brian Barth

Late fall, after the last crops have been harvested, is a time to rest and reflect on the successes and challenges of the gardening year. But for those whose need to putter around in the garden doesn't end when cold weather comes, there's surely a few lingering chores. Get them done now and you'll be ahead of the game in spring.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
(L) Selma Three Stone Engagement Ring. (R) The Greener Diamond Farm Project. MiaDonna

By Bailey Hopp

If you had to choose a diamond for your engagement ring from below or above the ground, which would you pick … and why would you pick it? This is the main question consumers are facing when picking out their diamond engagement ring today. With a dramatic increase in demand for conflict-free lab-grown diamonds, the diamond industry is shifting right before our eyes.

Read More Show Less
(L) 3D graphical representation of a spherical-shaped, measles virus particle that is studded with glycoprotein tubercles.
(R) The measles virus pictured under a microscope. PHIL / CDC

The Pacific Island nation of Samoa declared a state of emergency this week, closed all of its schools and limited the number of public gatherings allowed after a measles outbreak has swept across the country of just 200,000 people, according to Reuters.

Read More Show Less
Austin Nuñez is Chairman of the Tohono O'odham Nation, which joined with the Hopi and Pascua Yaqui Tribes to fight a proposed open-pit copper mine on sacred sites in Arizona. Mamta Popat

By Alison Cagle

Rising above the Arizona desert, the Santa Rita Mountains cradle 10,000 years of Indigenous history. The Tohono O'odham Nation, Pascua Yaqui Tribe, and Hopi Tribe, among numerous other tribes, have worshipped, foraged, hunted and laid their ancestors to rest in the mountains for generations.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
The Navajo Nation has suffered from limited freshwater resources as a result of climate, insufficient infrastructure, and contamination. They collaborated with NASA to develop the Drought Severity Evaluation Tool. NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

Native Americans are disproportionately without access to clean water, according to a new report, "Closing the Water Access Gap in the United States: A National Action Plan," to be released this afternoon, which shows that more than two million Americans do not have access to access to running water, indoor plumbing or wastewater services.

Read More Show Less
Wild Exmoor ponies graze on a meadow in the Czech Republic. rapier / iStock / Getty Images Plus

By Nanticha Ocharoenchai

In the Czech Republic, horses have become the knights in shining armor. A study published in the Journal for Nature Conservation suggests that returning feral horses to grasslands in Podyjí National Park could help boost the numbers of several threatened butterfly species.

Read More Show Less

Despite huge strides in improving the lives of children since 1989, many of the world's poorest are being left behind, the United Nations children's fund UNICEF warned Monday.

Read More Show Less