11/24/2015 5:34:18 PM

Support the Clean Power Plan

By Geoff York, Senior Director of Conservation 

All in favor of healthier air and lower pollution—speak up!

What is the Clean Power Plan?

The Environmental Protection Agency's Clean Power Plan is described by some as a game changer. It represents a historic opportunity to reduce carbon pollution from the single largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in the United States—power plants. Currently these plants produce about one third of U.S. carbon emissions.

The Clean Power Plan sets the first-ever carbon pollution standards for existing power plants in the U.S. Once fully enacted, it is projected to reduce the nation's carbon emissions up to 32% by 2030.

Why should I care?

All of us want safe, clean air to breathe. A new study from Harvard University found the plan would provide "large, widespread, and nearly immediate health benefits" to states and communities. Every year, it will prevent thousands of premature deaths in the U.S. and avoid more than a thousand heart attacks and hospital stays from people affected by air pollution.

The Clean Power Plan will also help save money. According to the Department of Energy, estimated savings from increased energy efficiency will far outweigh the costs of implementing the plan. Shifting to cleaner energy also has a significant economic upside.

U.S.-based renewable energy design, manufacturing, and installation will generate jobs and tax revenues for cities and towns. It will also provide income for landowners hosting renewable energy projects. As renewable energy use grows, the plan will position the U.S. as a leading exporter of innovative technologies and experience. Corporate America sees the benefits too—in fact, 365 companies sent a joint letter to 29 governors in support of the plan.

The Clean Power Plan is also great for the environment. It directly addresses the primary threat facing all life on Earth: climate change. So whether you're concerned about polar bears, pikas, or people—the Clean Power Plan is a significant part of U.S. leadership to reduce carbon emissions.

Climate change is already increasing the risks and impacts of drought, heat waves, coastal flooding, and wildfires. If we take global action now to reduce carbon emissions, a new EPA report shows that by 2030 the U.S. could:

  • Prevent up to 3,600 premature deaths
  • Prevent 1,700 non-fatal heart attacks
  • Prevent 90,000 asthma attacks in children
  • Prevent 300,000 missed work days and school days
  • Save billions of dollars in avoided costs for repairing roads, bridges, storm water systems, coastal properties and other property and infrastructure from severe weather events

What can I do?

The Clean Power Plan would foster the birth of a new era of clean, affordable energy and show the world that the U.S. is serious about tackling climate change. U.S. leadership on cutting emissions is already catalyzing global climate action, including commitments from countries like China and Brazil. 

If you live in the U.S., please urge your state and national representatives to support the Clean Power Plan. Also take the next step towards a clean energy future by asking for the development of a carbon fee—a fee that will level the playing field for renewable energy and help keep fossil fuels in the ground.

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