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 Research & Policy Center

As California Pursues Climate Solutions, Power Plants are Nation’s Biggest Polluters

Santa Cruz, CA – On the heels of the largest forest fire in California history, a new report from Environment California Research & Policy Center sheds light on the largest contributors to global warming pollution – power plants. Scientists predict that devastating fires like the Yosemite Rim Fire will become more frequent as global warming produces even hotter and drier summers. 

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

As California Pursues Climate Solutions, Power Plants Are Nation’s Biggest Polluters

Redlands, CA – On the heels of the third largest forest fire in California history, a new report from Environment California Research & Policy Center sheds light on the largest contributors to carbon pollution: power plants. Scientists predict that devastating fires like the Yosemite Rim Fire will become more frequent as global warming produces even hotter and drier summers. 

> Keep Reading
Headline

CLIMATE CHANGE: Warnings from Schwarzenegger, Environment California

Warnings about the drastic consequences of climate change have come from two directions this week — a draft version of a National Climate Assessment issued by the U.S. Global Change Research Program, and “In the Path of the Storm,” a report by Environment California about the consequences of climate change already observed in the United States.

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

2 out of 3 Californians Live in Areas Hit by Recent Weather Disasters

After another year in which many parts of the country were hit by scorching heat, devastating wildfires, crippling drought, severe storms and record flooding, a new Environment California Research & Policy Center report finds that weather-related disasters are already affecting hundreds of millions of Americans, and documents how global warming could lead to certain extreme weather events becoming even more common or more severe in the future.

> Keep Reading
Report | Environment California Research & Policy Center

In the Path of the Storm

After yet another year in which many parts of the country were hit by scorching heat, devastating wildfires, crippling drought, record floods and severe storms like Hurricane Sandy, a new Environment California Research & Policy Center report finds that weather-related disasters are affecting hundreds of millions of Americans, and documents how global warming could lead to certain extreme weather events becoming even more common or more severe in the future.

> Keep Reading

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