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 | PennEnvironment Research and Policy Center

PA Ranks 3rd for Global Warming Pollution from Power Plants

On the heels of another summer of heat waves and flooding, and only a few weeks before the anniversary of Superstorm Sandy, a new report from PennEnvironment Research & Policy Center finds that Pennsylvania 3rd in the country for most carbon pollution from its power plants, the state’s largest single source of global warming pollution. 

> Keep Reading
News Release | PennEnvironment Research & Policy Center

President Obama’s Climate Plan a Clear Victory for Pennsylvania, Future Generations

Today, President Obama announced a climate plan that will set limits on carbon pollution from power plants, advance energy efficiency and increase the nation’s commitment to renewable energy. In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, which caused massive loss of power in Southeastern Pennsylvania and devastated huge sections of the Shore, the president’s plan to address global warming was loudly applauded by PennEnvironment and many others.

> Keep Reading
News Release | PennEnvironment Research & Policy Center

Almost 9 out of 10 Pennsylvanians Live in Areas Hit by Recent Weather Disasters; New Report Says Global Warming to Bring More Extreme Weather

Six months after Hurricane Sandy led to fourteen deaths in Pennsylvania, a new PennEnvironment Research & Policy Center report finds that weather-related disasters are already affecting hundreds of millions of Americans, and documents how global warming could lead to certain extreme weather events becoming even more common or more severe in the future.

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News Release | PennEnvironment

"Fossil Fools" rally highlights Rep. Murphy’s foolish voting record on public health

Activists rallied in front of Congressman Tim Murphy’s office in Mount Lebanon today calling on him to better protect public health and end his foolish ties to the dirty coal industry. He has repeatedly voted against policies that would limit harmful air pollution from sources like coal plants, although his district suffers from some of the worst air pollution in the nation. Both Allegheny and Westmoreland counties have failing or near failing air quality, exceeding safe levels of soot and smog that can cause lung disease, heart attacks and severe asthma attacks. In fact, right outside his office, a full twelve percent of students in the Mount Lebanon school district suffer from asthma.

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News Release | PennEnvironment

100 day anniversary of Superstorm Sandy marked with day of action on climate change

As communities throughout the East Coast are still struggling to rebuild 100 days after Superstorm Sandy slammed the Mid-Atlantic, PennEnvironment urged state and federal officials to redouble their efforts to tackle climate change. Scientists have warned that climate change is helping to fuel the recent increase in extreme weather, and will make events like Superstorm Sandy, and last summer’s record drought, more severe and more frequent unless more is done to limit the carbon pollution fueling climate change.

> Keep Reading

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