Carbon Pollution Limits are a Huge Step Forward on Climate Change

Media Contacts

Environment Connecticut

Hartford, CT – Power plants will pollute 32 percent less nationwide, and clean energy sources such as solar and wind will meet more of the Connecticut and the nation’s electricity needs, according to limits on carbon pollution being finalized today that 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,” said Environment Connecticut State Director, Chris Phelps. “Cracking down on coal and gas while ramping up wind, solar, 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. Under the plan, each state determines how to meet its pollution cap.

Connecticut is well-positioned to meet its limits with increased development of clean energy. Connecticut is one of the nine members of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), which generated $1.3 billion in benefits through its carbon cap and trade program for its member states from 2012-2014. Thanks in large part to RGGI, Connecticut’s carbon pollution from power plants has dropped 8 percent since 2008. While carbon pollution from Connecticut’s power plants has been dropping, the state has seen strong growth in solar power. In 2013, Connecticut ranked 13th among states in solar electric capacity per capita.

Extreme flooding and rising sea levels are just two of the impacts of climate change that Connecticut has already begun to experience. The combination of sea level rise and extreme storms, such as Superstorm Sandy, are already taking a toll on Connecticut’s communities. Scientists predict that without drastic cuts in global warming emissions, these, and other, effects will become catastrophic.

78 percent of Connecticut residents overwhelmingly support carbon pollution limits, according to a recent poll. More than 85,000 comments from Connecticut residents were among the 8 million submitted from 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.