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. And the plan is an essential building block to the success of the president’s climate deal with China — which is itself the cornerstone to a broader global agreement. 

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

News Release | Environment America

Plug-in Electric Cars Can Lower Global Warming Emissions, Oil Consumption and Unhealthy Air Pollution

Increasing America’s use of  plug-in electric (PEV) and plug in hybrid vehicles (PHEV) would dramatically reduce emissions that cause global warming and air pollution and would curb our dependence on oil, according to a new white paper released today by Environment America, at the North American International Auto Show. 

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News Release | Environment Michigan

EPA Unveils List of Cities with the Most Efficient Buildings, Detroit Ranks 15th

Today the Environmental Protection Agency released its second annual list of U.S. cities with the most Energy Star buildings.  They found that Detroit ranks 15th in the country, with 62 Energy Star buildings that save the equivalent of 12,500 homes’ electricity usage annually. 

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News Release

Building Better: How high-efficiency buildings will save money and reduce global warming

Michigan families could save over $1,100 every year on their energy bills by 2030 (and $1,800 by 2050) if Michigan policymakers invest in the energy efficiency of our buildings today, according to a report by Environment Michigan Research & Policy Center.  During a press teleconference releasing the report, a diverse coalition of organizations, city leaders and clean energy businesses unveiled a letter to the Michigan Senate calling for the immediate passage of PACE clean energy legislation (HB 5640).  The ReEnergize Michigan coalition – a statewide coalition made up of businesses, communities, faith-based groups, environmental organizations and labor unions – also announced its support for PACE and related policies that would boost Michigan’s energy efficiency competitiveness.

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News Release | Environment America

Environmental Groups and Members of Congress Release More Than 400,000 Comments Asking President to Ban Offshore Drilling in New Places

Today, Representative Pallone, NJ-D and Representative Castor, FL-D joined with Environment America, Sierra Club, Defenders of Wildlife, Greenpeace, MoveOn, Oceana, League of Conservation Voters, and Ocean Champions to release more than 400,000 comments from citizens all around the U.S. asking President Obama to protect our oceans and coasts from the expansion of offshore drilling. The comments were submitted on the President’s next 5 Year Drilling Plan from 2012 to 2017 a day before the close of the comment period.

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News Release | Environment Michigan

Budget Threatens Michigan’s Public Health & Environment

A budget bill being pushed in Congress this week includes a number of measures that would threaten Michigan’s public health and environment, according to Environment Michigan. Under the bill, the Environmental Protection Agency would be barred from taking any action to clean up carbon dioxide and other global warming pollutants from coal-fired power plants, oil refineries and other industrial pollution sources; and the EPA would be barred from restoring Clean Water Act protections for many of the nation’s most vulnerable waterways. 

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