Stopping Global Warming
Global warming is the most profound environmental threat that our children face. Scientists warn that unless we act now, our children and future generations will face catastrophic consequences. Despite the science, the dirty energy industry has been spending millions to continue to pump carbon pollution into our skies. But our staff and members are proving each day that there is a way forward on global warming.
Stopping Global Warming
The consequences: severe drought, increased wildfires and more
Our children and future generations will be the ones to bear the worst impacts from global warming, but we’re already starting to feel the effects. In recent years, we’ve seen devastating drought, destructive wildfires and record heat in Texas. Extreme weather could become “the new normal” as global warming wreaks havoc on our climate. Read our report, In the Path of the Storm, to learn more.
We know this warming is being fueled primarily by carbon pollution – and the largest single source of carbon pollution in America is our power plants – which produce 40 percent of emissions nationally. Currently, power plants face no federal limits on carbon pollution, so cleaning up our power plants is the biggest single step we can take in the near term to reduce carbon pollution and tackle global warming.
And right now, there are clear opportunities to do what is necessary to protect future generations.
Global Warming Solutions
Texas is ranked first in the nation for emissions of the pollution which causes global warming. If Texas were a nation, we’d be ranked 7th in the world. However, thanks in large part to the growth of wind power in Texas, global warming pollution dropped 7.9% between 2000 and 2009. And we have the potential to go even further. In 2011, we unveiled a study showing that states can cut global warming pollution 20% by 2020 through clean energy and transportation policies.
Cleaning up the largest polluters and advancing clean energy solutions
The good news is that we know what we need to do to solve this problem and create a greener, healthier, more sustainable world for everyone.
In the short term, we can limit carbon from power plants and expand our use of clean energy. In the longer term, we can build enough wind farms and solar panels to replace the dirty coal and gas plants that are powering our homes, businesses and industries. We can make our homes and businesses so efficient that with solar panels on the roof, they can produce more energy than they use. We can re-build our communities so that we can walk, bike or take the bus to work. And we can build hyper-efficient and electric cars, so that when we do need to drive, we get 100 miles to the gallon or better.
A new path forward
On June 25, 2013, President Obama announced a sweeping new Climate Action Plan. The centerpiece of his plan is directing the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to propose limits on carbon pollution from new and existing power plants, the largest single sources of carbon pollution, responsible for 40 percent of U.S. carbon emissions.
The president laid out the following timeline to finish the rules:
Sep 20, 2013: EPA proposes an updated rule for cutting carbon pollution from new power plants. This rule, if finalized, would block the development of all new dirty coal plants.
June 1, 2014: EPA proposes a rule to limit carbon pollution from existing power plants.
June 1, 2015: EPA finalizes limits for carbon pollution from existing power plants. At this point, the rule will be reviewed by Congress..
June 1, 2016: EPA requires final implementation plans from the states for their plans to meet the final rule.
This announcement was a hard-fought win – King Coal, Big Oil, and the rest of the dirty power industry bitterly opposed these rules, but we and our allies in the environmental and public health community had submitted more than 3.2 million public comments to the EPA in support of the rule to cut carbon pollution from new power plants, and have shown support from a broad array of powerful constituencies and stakeholders.
Additionally, President Obama’s plan does more to address global warming than limiting carbon pollution from power plants. It calls for increasing investment in the energy efficiency of our buildings, appliances, and heavy duty vehicles; expanding renewable energy production on public lands; equipping communities to better prepare for and respond to weather-related disasters; and rebuilding American leadership on the international stage on global warming.
- According to Texas State Climatologist Dr. John Nielsen-Gammon, “the impacts of the drought were enhanced by global warming, much of which has been caused by man”.
- The summer of 2011 in Texas was the hottest in U.S. history. More than 100 people in Texas died due to heat-related causes.
- 2011’s wildfires were the worst in Texas history, destroying more than 1600 homes and nearly wiping out the Lost Pines of Bastrop State Park. According to scientists, just a degree of extra warming is enough to cause a 350% increase in acres burned.
- By adopting clean energy policies at the local, state and federal levels, the United States could curb emissions of carbon dioxide from energy use by as much as 20% by 2020 and 34% by 2030.