Help us fight for clean air + strong communities
Carbon Pollution Safeguards
Help fight climate change. SEND A MESSAGE TO THE EPA.
On June 2, 2014, EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy advanced President Obama’s Climate Action Plan by announcing proposed safeguards that would limit climate pollution from existing power plants. Coal-fired power plants are the leading single source of climate-disrupting greenhouse gas emissions in the United States. But until now, there has been no limit on how much carbon pollution America’s outdated power plants can pump into the air.
We have a moral obligation to protect our children and future generations from the effects of climate change. Limiting carbon pollution from power plants is one of the most effective actions we can take to fight climate change and protect the air we breathe.
Carbon pollution standards would come as especially welcome news to poor Americans and communities of color, who are disproportionately exposed to power plant pollution, and who are most vulnerable to the storms, disasters, and severe weather that climate change brings.
You can help protect clean air! SEND A COMMENT TO THE EPA
Why Should We Limit Carbon Pollution?
- Carbon pollution is the single largest driver of climate change.
- Climate change is caused by pollution from the burning of fossil fuels like coal and oil.
- Power plants alone account for 40% of the carbon pollution in the United States.
- Carbon pollution threatens the health of our communities.
- People of color and low-income communities suffer the worst health effects from the polluting industries that cause climate change.
- Sixty-eight percent of African Americans live within 30 miles of a coal plant.
- One in six black kids suffers from asthma, compared to one in ten nationwide.
- Carbon pollution puts our safety and wallets at risk.
- Setting reasonable carbon pollution standards for existing power plants will cut the primary driver of climate change, which fuels extreme weather events such as super storms, devastating drought, and out-of-control wildfires.
- The same people hit hardest by climate change are hit hardest by poverty. People of color and low-income communities are more susceptible to extreme weather and storms like Sandy and Katrina. In neighborhoods with the fewest resources, it’s harder to escape, survive and recover.
- In 2012, we spent $100 billion in taxpayer dollars responding to climate change—more than we spent on education, transportation, or just about anything else short of defense.
- Americans are spending a whopping $100 billion a year treating illnesses linked to coal plant pollution.
- Americans support emission reduction targets for power plants and investments in clean energy.
- According to a Georgetown Climate Center poll, 87 percent of Americans want the EPA to establish and enforce emission reduction targets for power plants and large industries.
- The same poll shows strong bipartisan public support for investing in lower carbon energy, renewable energy, and energy efficiency.
Won’t these standards cost us with higher energy costs and decreased electric reliability?
- Under the regulation, there is flexibility to implement the EPA’s standard in the ways that work best for each state.
- The EPA will set guidelines for states to follow; but states then have the power to design programs to achieve the required reductions.
- State programs can take advantage of a wide range of energy sources and technologies to build a cleaner power sector that provides reliable and affordable power.
- States can even build off of existing state programs, which are already delivering major economic benefits by reducing carbon pollution.
- According to an Analysis Group report, states participating in RGGI, a power-sector cap-and-trade program, have realized a $1.6 billion net benefit, while saving customers nearly $1.1 billion on electricity bills through efficiency investments.
- In the past, air pollution standards have benefitted the economy.
- Since 1970, every $1 in investment in compliance with Clean Air Act standards has produced $4–8 in economic benefits.
- In the long run, doing nothing will be more costly than implementing reasonable measures to address climate change.
Where do we go from here?
- Support the new standards.
- Send the EPA input on how to design a program to reduce carbon pollution from existing power plants in your state.
- Send a comment to the EPA letting them know that your family and your community support safeguards against carbon pollution.
- Attend one of the EPA’s hearings on the new standards and express your support.
- Support the switch to a clean energy economy.
- Only by getting serious about investments in wind, solar, and energy efficiency, can we end our dependence on the fossil fuels that are causing climate change.
- We can create good jobs and pathways out of poverty for communities of color by investing in clean energy and green infrastructure. Over the past two years, jobs in the solar industry have grown nearly ten times faster than jobs in the rest of the economy. And that’s just with modest investment—if we commit fully to supporting clean energy, we can do much more.
- In comparison, the fossil fuel industry has been cutting jobs. Despit