Raleigh, NC– 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. With over half of the counties in North Carolina facing higher risks of water shortages by mid-century because of climate change, the president’s plan to address global warming was loudly applauded by Environment North Carolina and local leaders.
“Today President Obama responded to the millions of Americans who have spoken out on behalf of their communities and their families, urging him to lead on climate,” said Dave Rogers, Field Director of Environment North Carolina. “All of us who have felt the effects of global warming, or simply worried about what’s in store for our kids, can take comfort in knowing that President Obama has put the nation on a path toward a cleaner, healthier and safer future.”
“I’m pleased to see the President’s leadership on this issue. Municipalities are already feeling the consequences of climate change, including everything from droughts and extreme weather to asthma and other health problems, which are too important to ignore. Now is the time to move toward a clean energy economy and away from fossil fuels that pollute our air and water,” said Mayor Bill Bell of Durham.
Leaders along the coast, which is particularly vulnerable to the effects of global warming, were also spoke out on the importance of taking action to curb global warming pollution. "As the mayor of a beach community, I believe the negative consequences resulting from climate change and sea level rise are too great to ignore. It is crucial that all levels of government support initiatives to curb greenhouse gases," said David Cignotti, mayor of Wrightsville Beach.
Left unchecked, global warming is projected to bring to North Carolina more intense storms and more unhealthy air days. Since 2000 alone, 12 disasters have been declared due to severe storms and flooding. Scientists have warned that the window is rapidly closing for making the necessary cuts in carbon pollution to protect future generations from the worst consequences of global warming.
To respond to this threat, the president’s plan contains several key components. It will:
- Limit carbon pollution from new and existing power plants. The president directed the Environmental Protection Agency to set limits on carbon pollution from new and existing power plants, which currently lack any such federal limits despite being the largest single source of the carbon pollution fueling global warming.
- Invest in energy efficiency. New efficiency measures for buildings and new appliances will cut carbon pollution by reducing our overall energy demand.
- Build more renewable energy. The plan focuses on expanding production of clean, renewable energy sources like wind and solar, especially on public lands.
- Support affected communities. The president’s plan will help ensure that communities are better equipped to prepare for and recover from the impacts of global warming.
- Rebuild U.S. leadership Internationally. The president’s plan calls for the U.S. to actively engage in international efforts to address global warming.
Environment North Carolina offered special praise for the president’s pledge to cut carbon pollution from existing power plants. More than 3.2 million Americans submitted public comments last year in support of the president setting limits on carbon pollution from power plants.
“Carbon pollution from power plants is a huge part of the global warming problem. Today President Obama acknowledged this and mapped out a plan for cleaning up this pollution,” said Rogers. “We also know that this plan is just one important step in a multi-year effort, and that the proof of the plan’s success will be in the pudding. Environment North Carolina stands ready to assist the president in following through on this critical commitment.”