New carbon pollution limits huge step on climate, and great news for California

Media Contacts

Environment California

Sacramento – Coal and gas power plants will pollute 32 percent less nationwide and clean energy sources such as solar power will meet more of the state’s electricity needs, according to limits on carbon pollution that will be finalized today and are central to President Obama’s plan to address climate change.

“The Clean Power Plan is the single biggest action the U.S. has ever taken on climate and is great news for California,” said Dan Jacobson, state director of Environment California. “Cracking down on fossil fuels while ramping up solar, wind, and other clean energy sources will protect our families’ health today and ensure a safer climate for the future.”

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan sets state-by-state limits on heat-trapping emissions of carbon dioxide from power plants, the largest single source of such pollution in the country. Under the plan, each state determines how to meet its pollution cap.

Under policies in place and proposed at the state and federal level, California is set to cut more carbon pollution than any other state by 2025, and to increase development of the state’s vast clean energy potential. Environment America Research & Policy Center reports demonstrate that California ranks first among states for total solar electric capacity installed, and third in the U.S. in wind energy capacity.

Drought, wildfires and rising sea levels are just a few of the impacts of climate change that Californians have already begun to experience. Scientists predict that without drastic cuts in global warming emissions, these effects will become catastrophic.

Vast majorities of Californians support the carbon pollution limits, according to a recent poll. More than 895,000 comments from Californians were among the 8 million submitted across the country in favor of the plan.

The fossil fuel industry, however, and its allies in Congress have launched multi-pronged assault against the Clean Power Plan in the courts, state capitols, and the U.S. Senate. The plan’s survival against these attacks is considered critical to U.S. leadership at international climate talks in Paris at the end of the year.

“Today’s action is thanks to all the Californians, together with millions of Americans, who called for strong climate action,” said Jacobson. “With continued leadership from President Obama, support from California’s leaders, and backing from the public, the U.S. can help steer an international agreement to stave off the worst of the climate crisis.”