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 for the president’s Clean Cars Program, the big initiative that’s driving Detroit to make cars that get better gas mileage and that will ultimately prevent more than 6 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide pollution by 2025 – more than the entire country emitted in 2010.

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

New Report: Temperatures Up in U.S. Cities Since 2000

As the presidential candidates prepare to discuss some of the most important issues facing our country at their final debate tonight, Environment America released a new report documenting that the average annual temperature was above the historical average in many U.S. cities in 2007 and from 2000-2007. In Washington, D.C., the average temperature was 1.7°F above the historical average in 2007.

> Keep Reading
Report | Environment America

Feeling the Heat: Global Warming and Rising Temperatures in the United States

To examine recent temperature patterns in the United States, we compared temperature data for the years 2000 to 2007 with the historical average, or "normal," temperature for the preceding 30 years, 1971 to 2000. Our data were collected at 255 weather stations ”those with the highest quality data” in all 50 states and Washington, D.C. Overall, we found that temperatures were above the 30-year average across the country, indicating pervasive warming.

> Keep Reading
Report | Environment America

Fair Deal for Consumers or Free Ride for Polluters?

The governors of Oregon, California, Washington, New Mexico and Arizona established the Western Climate Initiative (WCI) in February 2007 with the goal of reducing region-wide emissions by at least 15 percent below 2005 levels by 2020. In order to achieve this goal, WCI is planning to cap global warming pollution from industrial sectors representing most of the major pollution sources.

> Keep Reading
News Release | Environment America

Western Governors Urged to Put the Public Ahead of Polluters in Global Warming Plan

With Western governors poised to announce details of a program to cap global warming emissions in seven Western states, environmental organizations are urging officials to make sure polluters pay for pollution permits, rather than receive what amounts to billions of dollars in trade-able assets for free. Economists agree that capping emissions and making polluters pay for permits at an auction is the most cost-effective and fair approach to cutting global warming pollution, without increasing the cost to consumers, according to a new report released today by environmental organizations that have been monitoring the Western Climate Initiative and other such “cap and trade” programs.

> Keep Reading
News Release | Environment America

New Report: Cities and States Achieving Impressive Results in Fight Against Global Warming

On the eve of the first legislative hearing in the U.S. House on comprehensive proposals to fight global warming, Environment America released a new report today that details more than 20 examples of cutting-edge policies and practices that communities, states, and countries are using to reduce global warming pollution.  The report highlights Arlington, Virginia’s commitment to transit-oriented development, which eliminates an estimated 35,000 single-passenger automobile trips to workplaces each day, cutting carbon dioxide emissions by tens of thousands of tons every year.

> Keep Reading

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