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. 

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

Report | Environment America

America's Biggest Polluters: Carbon Dioxide Emissions from Power Plants in 2007

The United States relies heavily on outdated technology and limited resources for most of its electricity needs.  While the production of clean, renewable energy such as wind and solar power is growing, the vast majority of American electricity comes from burning fossil fuels—coal, oil, and natural gas—and from nuclear power. 

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News Release | Environment America

America Poised to Turn the Corner on Global Warming

Environment America today released “The Clean Energy Future Starts Here: Understanding the American Clean Energy and Security Act,” an analysis that puts the energy bill passed by the U.S. House in June in the perspective of its role in moving America toward clean energy, green jobs, and reduced global warming emissions.  The analysis comes as Senate Environment and Public Works Committee Chair Barbara Boxer and Foreign Relations Committee Chair John Kerry plan to release their energy bill on Wednesday, which will be the starting point for the Senate debate and is expected to follow the framework of the House bill. 

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Report | Environment America

The Clean Energy Future Starts Here: Understanding the American Clean Energy and Security Act

America’s dependence on fossil fuels wreaks havoc on our environment and is a drag on our economy. With a new president committed to tackling our energy challenges – and with the momentum generated by a decade of clean energy innovation at the state level – Congress has taken up the task of mapping out a new energy future for the nation.

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News Release | Environment America

National Transit Ridership Saved Fuel Equal to the Amount Used by 7.2 Million Cars Last Year

In 2008, people in America saved 4.2 billion gallons of gasoline by riding transit in record numbers – the amount consumed by 7.2 million cars in a year. Transportation is responsible for more than two-thirds of our dependence on oil, and about one-third of our carbon dioxide pollution as Environment America outlined in their new report “Getting On Track: Record Transit Ridership Increases Energy Independence.”

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Report | Environment America

Getting On Track: Record Transit Ridership Increases Energy Independence

Transportation is responsible for more than two-thirds of our nation’s oil consumption and nearly a third of our carbon dioxide emissions. To make us more energy independent and reduce pollution, we need to build a transportation system that uses less oil, takes advantage of alternative fuels, and shifts as much of our travel as possible from transportation modes that consume a lot of energy to those that consume less.

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