Global Warming Solutions

“We are the first generation to feel the sting of climate change, and we are the last generation that can do something about it.”

- Washington State Gov. Jay Inslee

The last generation

Years ago, many of us thought of global warming as something that would happen “someday.” As it turns out, “someday” is right now.

Since 2001, we’ve experienced 15 of the 16 warmest years on record — including 2015, the hottest year ever recorded. As the oceans warm, we’re learning that it’s no longer a question of if the Antarctic ice sheet will melt, but how fast.

We’re fast approaching the point when scientists say climate change could tip toward catastrophe, with sea levels rising faster along our coasts, storms growing more powerful, and droughts and other forms of extreme weather more disruptive.

Credit: Leonard Zhukovsky/Bigstock

Of course, nobody wants to leave the next generation a world where heat waves, floods, droughts and worse are everyday events in an increasingly dangerous world.

If we accept, as we must, the broad scientific consensus that human pollution is accelerating these changes, then this is our challenge: stop putting carbon into the atmosphere, increase our energy efficiency, and repower our society with clean, renewable energy sources such as solar and wind.

The good news is that solutions like solar, wind and energy efficiency not only reduce carbon pollution. They also clean up our air, reduce asthma attacks, and promote energy independence.

 

Credit: Mavrick/Shutterstock

The Clean Power Plan

In Washington, D.C., President Obama has demonstrated strong leadership on this issue. For example, in June 2014 he moved forward with what The New York Times called “the strongest action ever taken by an American president to tackle climate change.”

The president’s Clean Power Plan would limit — for the first time ever — carbon pollution from dirty power plants.

Why power plants? The country’s more than 500 coal-fired power plants are America’s No. 1 source of global warming pollution — even bigger than cars and trucks.

In fact, the Clean Power Plan would cut this pollution at least 30 percent by the end of the next decade. By giving the states the option to replace dirty coal plants with wind, solar and energy efficiency, it also has the potential to speed the shift to clean power. And the plan is an essential part of the success of the Paris Agreement, the first-ever universal, legally binding global climate deal, which was signed by 195 countries in December 2015.

Credit: Gage Skidmore via Wikipedia Commons, CC BY-SA 2.0

More than 8 million supporters

A recent poll shows that 2/3 of all Americans back the Clean Power Plan. Americans have submitted more than 8 million comments asking the EPA to take action on the issue. More than 600,000 of these comments have come from our members and supporters.

Unfortunately, in February 2016, the Supreme Court delivered a major blow to climate action, announcing it will put the Clean Power Plan on hold while it hears lawsuits from polluters and their allies who want to kill the plan. This decision is a huge loss for our kids’ future and for all Americans who care about the health of our planet. 

The actions the United States has taken to date are necessary — but not yet sufficient — to prevent a catastrophic rise in global temperatures. In order to keep global temperatures from rising more than 2°C (3.6°F) — the international consensus target for preventing the worst consequences of warming — the U.S. must cut emissions at least 80 percent below 1990 levels by mid-century.

Leaders at all levels of government across the United States must follow through with existing commitments to reduce pollution. Leaders at all levels of government should identify and pursue new policies to cut pollution. And the U.S. must play a leadership role in the global movement to limit global warming.

Credit: Staff

Protect our children's future

As Gov. Inslee pointed out, global warming is the challenge of our generation.

Protecting our children’s future requires us to stop dumping carbon into our atmosphere, and there’s no better place to start than with America’s No. 1 global warming polluters. 

Issue updates

News Release | Environment California

New Climate Science Report Warns of Increased Risk, Need for Action

Oakland, CA – Today the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change officially released its latest report on global warming. The report adds to the ever-growing body of evidence that action on to limit carbon pollution is urgently needed – and without it, risk to future generations will only continue to grow. 

> Keep Reading
News Release | Environment California Research & Policy Center

California Solar Jobs Grew 8% in 2013

California has more than 47,000 people employed manufacturing and installing pollution-free solar energy,  according to a national Solar Jobs Census released today by The Solar Foundation.   According to the analysis, California continues to rank 1st in nation for total solar jobs, with approximately one-third of all solar jobs in the country. Growth in the state’s solar jobs is expected to surge by over 22% by the end of 2014.

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Headline

Encourage delivery trucks to go electric to clean the air

By prioritizing the use of electric trucks, we can meet the state's goal of reducing diesel-particulate-matter emissions by 85 percent by 2020. California already has more electric vehicles on the road than any state, but the transition is slow and not nearly enough.

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Headline

1 Million Electric Vehicles in California? A Look at the State of the State

That "million electric vehicles" statement is a verbatim nod to a campaign called "Charge Ahead California," a coalition of grassroots and mainstream green groups that is in fact pushing for a million electric cars in the state. Considering that there are close to 20 million cars registered in the state at the moment, that seems a fairly reasonable short-term goal, but it's still quite a bit beyond the 50,000 or so electric cars now plying the state's roadways.

> Keep Reading
News Release | Environment California Research & Policy Center

“We’re on our way to a million electric vehicles”

SACRAMENTO – As part of his 2014 State of the State address this morning, Governor Edmund G. Brown included a full-throated endorsement of one of the chief objectives of the Charge Ahead California campaign, putting one million cars, trucks and buses on California’s roads. The support comes on the heels of the Governor’s January 9th budget proposal, which included up to $200 million in proceeds from the state’s cap and trade auctions to support electric vehicles programs.

> Keep Reading

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