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 New York

Report: Transportation Without Carbon Pollution is Necessary and Achievable

From electric vehicles, to carsharing, to smartphone apps to plan travel, a variety of new tools can help make transportation systems in our cities carbon-free, a new reportsaid today. “Every day the news about global warming's impacts gets worse, but the news about technological advances in clean transportation gets better," said Heather Leibowitz, Director of Environment New York. “We can and we must chart a new way forward for a transportation future that will protect our kids’ health and the planet.”

> Keep Reading
Report | Environment America Research & Policy Center

A New Way Forward

America has made progress in cutting pollution from cars and trucks over the last decade as a result of improved vehicle fuel economy and slower growth in driving. But eliminating greenhouse gas emissions from our urban transportation systems is going to require more than incremental change – it will require transformation. 

> Keep Reading
News Release | Environment New York

Report: Opponents backing attacks on solar energy across the country, report says

A national network of utility interest groups and fossil-fuel industry-funded think tanks is providing funding, model legislation, and political cover for anti-solar campaigns across the country, and would-be solar power owners could pay the price, said a new report by Environment New York Research & Policy Center.

The Heartland Institute, a think tank with backing from the fossil fuel industry, has spread misleading information about the impacts of solar energy, and helped American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) draft legislation designed to repeal renewable electricity standards, according to the analysis, Blocking the Sun: 12 Utilities and Fossil Fuel Interests That Are Undermining American Solar Power.

And our report shows they’re using the same playbook all across the country.

> Keep Reading
Report | Environment New York

Blocking the Sun

Solar power is clean, affordable and popular with the American people. Since 2010, Ameri- ca’s solar energy capacity has grown more than four-fold, generating increasing amounts of clean energy at increasingly affordable prices.

America’s solar progress is largely the result of bold, forward-thinking public policies that have created a strong solar industry while putting solar energy within the financial reach of millions more Americans.

> Keep Reading
News Release | Environment New York Research and Policy Center

Report: New York leadership critical foundation for an international agreement on climate

New York is poised to play a major role in U.S. progress to address climate change, a new report said today. In the next decade, the state will cut more global warming pollution than all but California and Texas. The Environment New York Research & Policy Center report comes as pressure mounts on the U.S. to play a leading role in negotiations for an international climate agreement in Paris.

“The best way to lead is by example,” said Heather Leibowitz, Director of Environment New York. “With New York’s help, that’s just what we are doing. Governor Andrew Cuomo recently announced an ambitious plan to curb New York State’s carbon emissions by 40 percent by doubling the amount of power it gets from renewable energy to 50 percent, by 2030.”

> Keep Reading

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