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The Carbon Rule
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 But until now, there has been no limit on how much carbon pollution America’s outdated power plants can pump into the air.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 by addressing its causes and impacts—especially for our most vulnerable. Limiting carbon pollution from power plants is one of the most effective actions we can take.
The new carbon pollution standards will ensure that existing power plants can no longer continue dumping unhealthy amounts of carbon pollution into the air, which will help fight climate change and prevent the health impacts of air pollution.
By proposing limits on carbon pollution from America’s coal plants through President Obama’s Climate Action Plan, the president and EPA Administrator McCarthy have shown that they are absolutely serious about tackling climate change. These safeguards would represent a huge victory in the fight against global warming. Carbon limits would also be welcome news for 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. We applaud the president and the EPA for acting boldly to protect America’s families and neighborhoods.
You can support the carbon rule by:
• Sending an email with your input
• Take a moment and fill out the Carbon Emissions Rule Submission Card.
• Attend one of the EPA Hearings
• 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.
July 29 and July 30, 2014 Atlanta, Georgia 9:00 am – 8:00 pm (EST)
Omni Hotel at CNN Center North Tower, Level M4 100 CNN Center Atlanta, Georgia 30303
Phone: (404) 659- 0000
July 29 and July 30, 2014 Denver, Colorado 9:00 am – 8:00 pm (MDT)
EPA Region 8 Building 1595 Wynkoop Street
Denver, CO 80202
July 29 and July 30, 2014 Washington, DC 9:00 am – 8:00 pm (EST)
William Jefferson Clinton East Building, Room 1153 1201
Constitution Avenue, NW Washington, DC 20004
July 31 and August 1, 2014 Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 9:00 am – 8:00 pm (EST)
William S. Moorhead Federal Building, Room
1310 1000 Liberty Avenue Pittsburgh, PA 15222
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 GHG 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.
- 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.Aisha Dorn went through a green job-training program in Baltimore, MD, and then started her own environmental remediation company, Lifeline Environmental, that employs local workers from the same program she went through.
- Mark Davis is working to open solar WDC Solar, a manufacturing plant in Anacostia.
- Kareem Dale has helped thousands of low-income Houston residents upgrade their homes and save on their energy bills through the Gaia Group, Inc.
- In comparison, the fossil fuel industry has been cutting jobs. Despite generating $546 billion in profits between 2005 and 2010, ExxonMobil, Chevron, Shell, and BP reduced their U.S. workforce by 11,200 employees over that period.
- Fixing America’s crumbling water infrastructure alone would put roughly 2 million people to work—in addition to managing floods and heat waves caused by climate change.
- But as we move into a clean energy economy, we must also take care of the workers and communities who for generations have relied on jobs in the fossil fuel industry. Let’s work hard to find a way to move forward together.
We know we can’t continue to let coal and oil companies pass along their costs to our families in the form of lifelong health problems and burdensome medical bills. We must protect ourselves from the climate change carbon pollution causes. Therefore, we need to hold polluters accountable, through strong safeguards that protect our air. These new standards for existing power plants will do just that.
GFA will testify at the EPA’s hearings on the Clean Power Plan proposed rule in Denver, Atlanta, Washington, D.C., and Pittsburg. Executive Director Nikki Silvestri will be present at both the Pittsburg and Washington, D.C., hearings.
The UN Climate March
March for the Future
In September, world leaders are coming to New York City for a UN summit on the climate crisis. UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon is urging governments to support an ambitious global agreement to dramatically reduce greenhouse gas emissions. GFA will act as a major support piece for the September 21, 2014, Climate March in New York City, which hopes to bring 100,000 people together to demonstrate the United States’ willingness to address climate change.
Be part of this historic event! For more information, visit: http://peoplesclimate.org/march/.
Your Feedback Matters
We will be looking for your feedback on resiliency and the carbon rule with a series of survey questions in the coming days. Stay tuned.