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

Report

North Carolina Leaders Urge Action on Climate Change

As public officials concerned about our constituents’ well-being, we thank you for your leadership to date on addressing climate change.  We enthusiastically support the Climate Action Plan you have put forward.  Climate change threatens the health of our families, our communities and the ecosystems on which we depend, and we are ready to work with and support you and your Administration.

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News Release | Environment North Carolina

North Carolina Leaders Urge Action on Climate Change

Thirty-four concerned public officials from across North Carolina urged the federal government Tuesday to take bold steps to reduce global warming pollution.

In an open letter to President Barack Obama, local officials from Buncombe County to Morehead City expressed support for the president’s climate action plan, and asked for continued action to reduce the pollution that is causing global warming, which is already impacting communities throughout North Carolina.

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Report | Environment North Carolina

NC small businesses challenge Hagan, Burr to stand with EPA on clean air standards

Being able to innovate is an essential characteristic for a small business owner such as myself. I make an effort to keep up with new technologies and opportunities that might help my business run more efficiently and effectively, and maybe even help me grow. That’s why clean and renewable energy is important to me, and should be for our nation. Carbon pollution and energy efficiency standards help drive innovation and create market opportunities for small businesses, and they’re a key component to progressing toward a clean energy economy and to creating jobs.

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News Release | Environment North Carolina

NC small businesses challenge Hagan, Burr to stand with EPA on clean air standards

RALEIGH, N.C. -- Nearly 100 North Carolina small business leaders are urging Congress to usher in a new era of American innovation with policies that limit carbon pollution and increase energy efficiency.

In an open letter Thursday, 95 North Carolina entrepreneurs called on Senators Richard Burr and Kay Hagan to support the Environmental Protection Agency’s standards for limiting carbon emissions from new coal-fired power plants, despite the attempts of several lawmakers to repeal EPA’s authority to regulate those emissions – a move that would undermine the Clean Air Act.

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News Release | Environment North Carolina

Three of America’s fifty dirtiest power plants, including the Marshall Plant, call North Carolina home

Charlotte, NC – On the heels of recent flooding in Charlotte and throughout the state, a new report from Environment North Carolina Research & Policy Center ranks power plants across the country for carbon pollution, a leading cause of global warming. Three of the nation’s 50 dirtiest power plants, including the Marshall Plant just north of Charlotte, are located in North Carolina, according to the study. Overall, power plants are the state’s largest single source of the pollution that has been linked to extreme weather like droughts, more intense hurricanes, and flooding.

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