President Obama just announced America’s Clean Power Plan — the biggest and most important step our country has taken in the fight against climate change.
Our power plants are responsible for about a third of America’s carbon pollution — more than our cars, airplanes, and homes combined — and that pollution is fueling climate change. But until now, there have never been federal limits on how much carbon pollution existing power plants can generate.
The Clean Power Plan sets the first-ever carbon pollution standards for these power plants, while providing states and utilities with the flexibility they need to meet those standards.
You’ve heard the numbers by now: 2014 was the planet’s warmest year on record. Fourteen out of the 15 warmest years on record fell within the first 15 years of this century. Earth’s current levels of carbon dioxide, which heats up our atmosphere, are the highest they’ve been in 800,000 years.
We can see the effects of the changing climate in our everyday lives. Our summers are hotter. Our droughts are deeper. Our wildfire seasons are lasting longer. Our storms are more severe. And these disasters are becoming more frequent, more expensive, and more dangerous.
But as the President said today, “There is such a thing as being too late when it comes to climate change.”
That’s why he directed the Environmental Protection Agency in 2013 to tackle the issue of carbon pollution from our power plants — and today’s plan sets the first-ever nationwide limits on this pollution.
By 2030, this new plan will reduce carbon pollution from our power plants by 32 percent from 2005 levels. In total, it will keep 870 million tons of carbon dioxide pollution out of the atmosphere — the equivalent of taking 166 million cars off the road, or cutting every ounce of emissions due to electricity from 108 million American homes.
Because of this plan and other steps we’ve taken to combat climate change, we’ll reduce premature deaths from power plant emissions by nearly 90 percent by 2030, and we’ll see 90,000 fewer asthma attacks among our children each year.
Combined with more investments in clean energy, smarter investments in energy efficiency, and a global climate agreement by the end of this year, we can slow — and maybe eventually stop — the harm we’ve inflicted on our climate over the past century.
Learn what the Plan means for your state here
Courtesy of the White House