RALEIGH, NC -- Thirty-four concerned public officials from across North Carolina urged the federal government Thursday 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.
“North Carolina is particularly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change,” said Rep. Pricey Harrison, D-Guilford “From more severe droughts and storms to sea level rise to changes in agricultural productivity, scientists warn that we could see even more frequent and severe extreme weather if we do not dramatically reduce our global warming pollution. “
The president’s plan calls for an overall reduction in global warming pollution, an increased reliance on clean energy, and increased investment in adapting communities to the immediate impacts of global warming. One of the major steps of the president’s plan is reducing global warming pollution from coal-fired power plants, the largest single source of carbon pollution in the country and accounting for over half of North Carolina’s total global warming pollution.
“President Obama’s climate action plan works to reduce global warming pollution overall by cutting carbon pollution from the largest source, power plants, and getting more of our energy from clean, renewable sources, which has the residuary benefit of creating thousands of new jobs in our state,” Harrison said. “I support the President’s plan and continued action to address this profound problem.”
The Environmental Protection Agency recently drafted regulations to reduce carbon pollution from new power plants and plans to release rules for existing power plants this summer.
The letter from North Carolina leaders comes as more cities and counties across the state and the nation take the lead in addressing climate change.
"I strongly support President Obama’s climate action plan because reducing carbon pollution is essential if we are to avoid the worst impacts of global warming,” said Brownie Newman, Buncombe County commissioner. “By taking steps to lower our carbon footprint, we will actually save money in the long term. Because local officials like myself are on the front lines for addressing the impacts caused by climate change, I am proud to say that Buncombe County, North Carolina approved a resolution to reduce our county’s carbon footprint by 80 percent over time by implementing a variety of energy efficiency and other low cost solutions."
“Under President Obama’s leadership, America has over the last two years alone added enough rooftop solar photovoltaic capacity to displace the need for four or five coal power plants,” said Dan Besse, Winston Salem councilmember. “Here in North Carolina’s Piedmont, solar farms are being developed hand over fist—generating both clean energy and jobs. Our state’s solar energy industry is already number two in the nation, and by pushing it and other renewable energy development we can continue to clean up our air, cool off climate change, and build our economy.”
More than 315 public officials in Colorado, New Hampshire, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Maine, Minnesota, Michigan, Montana, and Virginia as well as North Carolina, signed on to letters thanking President Obama for his leadership on climate and pledged their support for his climate action plan.
Environment North Carolina is a statewide, citizen-funded environmental advocacy organization working for clean air, clean water, and open spaces.