Posts Tagged ‘president obama’

President Obama & EPA Announce First-Ever Limits for CO2 Emissions from Existing Power Plants

June 2nd, 2014

Coal Power Plant Standards Support

President Obama and the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) made history today when the EPA announced new standards for existing power plants that would reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by 30% below 2005 levels by 2030. Global Green USA has been working across the country for 20 years to champion clean energy and curb climate change, and we applaud this new Clean Power Plan, the first direct limit on existing power plant emissions.

Today’s announcement has been in the works since June 2013, when President Obama first laid out his Climate Action Plan and directed the EPA to develop clear guidelines under the Clean Air Act for carbon emissions from power plants. Power plants currently account for one-third of all domestic greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. In September 2013, the EPA proposed CO2 emissions limits for new power plants, but did not include the biggest offenders – the older, dirtier coal-fired power plants – until today. The President used his executive authority under the 1970 Clean Air Act to issue the regulation without having to rely on Congressional action.

Under the proposed plan, each state receives a specific rate-based CO2 emissions goal and will develop, submit, and implement a strategy to meet this goal through a state-federal partnership. States will have until June 2016 to submit their plan or may opt into the two-step process option if they require more time. This setup provides states the flexibility to develop a plan unique to their situation, allowing each state to use a different mix of energy sources, energy efficiency measures, and demand-side management to meets its target.

This method differs from traditional pollutant regulation under the Clean Air Act, such as sulfur dioxide or mercury, where the EPA sets a discrete limit at the source. The Clean Power Plan instead allows states to choose how to diversify their energy mix. This approach allows each state to find the lowest-cost solution while maintaining a reliable energy supply.

In recent years, we’ve seen the very real effects of climate change in the form of hurricanes, droughts, floods, dramatic heat waves, and other extreme and devastating climate events. Global Green has worked with victims of Hurricane Sandy and Katrina who’ve had their homes and schools destroyed and their lives indelibly changed by climate related disasters. We’ve also spent years advocating for stricter pollution standards that would reduce levels of smog and soot, focused especially on disadvanated communities that live closest to these power plants and suffer from increased rates of asthma and premature death. The President’s proposal will lead to climate and health benefits estimated between $55 and $93 billion in 2030, including preventing up to 6,600 premature deaths and 150,000 asthma attacks in children by decreasing smog and soot by 25%. Furthermore, by improving energy efficiency and reducing energy demand, the EPA estimates electricity bills nationwide will decrease 8%.

Global Green is encouraged to see the EPA propose a plan that both addresses climate change and improves public health. Power plant pollution often disproportionately affects the health of low-income communities, so we are optimistic that these regulations will start to change this trend. There are also preliminary signs that these regulations will increase pressure on other countries to take similar action around climate change.

While the plan is significant as the first-ever limit on carbon emissions from power plants, the battle is far from over. Under the plan, states can choose to what degree they invest in renewable energy sources and energy efficiency measures; the plan’s current projections state that “coal and natural gas would remain the two leading sources of electricity generation in the US, with each providing more than 30% of the projected generation.” However we know that it doesn’t have to be this way, and we are working in Los Angeles, New Orleans and across the county to promote policies and programs that create jobs and promote cleaner energy. Our work to advance solar in California is a perfect example of this success, as job growth in the solar sector has outpaced overall job growth by almost five to one. A sustainable clean energy economy is one that creates clean energy jobs to boost the economy and improve public health, rather than continuing to rely on coal and natural gas—and this is the future for which we’ll continue to fight.

The fossil fuel industry is already working to undermine the EPA’s proposal and will continue to put pressure on Washington to weaken the regulations. Join us in standing with President Obama and the EPA.

Tell President Obama that you support the Clean Power Plan.

Global Green USA’s State of the Union Reaction

January 29th, 2014

By the Policy & Legislative Affairs Department

Obama SOTU Quote

President Obama’s State of the Union address last night has got people talking—especially in the environmental community.  While we are encouraged to see the President directly address climate change, his ongoing support for natural gas and fracking remains a step in the wrong direction for the environment and the country.

The President’s unabashed recognition of climate change was one of the strongest statements we’ve ever seen from him. He stated:

“But the debate is settled. Climate change is a fact. And when our children’s children look us in the eye and ask if we did all we could to leave them a safer, more stable world, with new sources of energy, I want us to be able to say yes, we did.”

Global Green applauds President Obama for directly addressing the urgency to respond to climate change—and not merely under the umbrella of stimulating the economy through cleaner energy technologies. In the continuing media saga drawing undue attention to climate change deniers, it is refreshing to hear our nation’s leader confidently state the truth.

To that end, the President committed to setting higher fuel efficiency standards for trucks; new, tighter standards on the amount of CO2 that power plants can release into the air; and increased investment in solar rather than tax breaks for fossil fuels. Yet in almost the same breath, the President also championed natural gas as “the bridge fuel that can power our economy with less of the carbon pollution that causes climate change.”

Increasing our investment in natural gas, as part of the President’s “all of the above” energy strategy, is the wrong direction for the country. The infrastructure currently being built to support this industry will exist for several decades and continue to emit dangerous greenhouse gases.

More importantly, there is another way. Scientists, including Professor Marc Z. Jacobson of Stanford University (whom we recently honored at our 2013 Sustainable Design Awards), have outlined ways to power the United States—and even the entire planet—on 100% renewable energy without having to resort to dirty and dangerous options like fracking and natural gas production.

We will continue to support and promote clean, renewable alternatives like Jacobson’s as the right solution for the country, and will continue to follow this issue as it plays out on the national, state, and local levels.

Word Up: Obama on the Campaign and Climate Change

April 25th, 2012

quote_obama_campaign_climate“I will be very clear in voicing my belief that we’re going to have to take further steps to deal with climate change in a serious way. That there’s a way to do it that is entirely compatible with strong economic growth and job creation — that taking steps, for example, to retrofit buildings all across America with existing technologies will reduce our power usage by 15 or 20 percent. That’s an achievable goal, and we should be getting started now.” — President Obama in an interview with “Rolling Stone” magazine, in which he discusses tar sands, climate science, and more.

Word Up: President Obama on Earth Day

April 23rd, 2012

speech_bubble_blank_quotes“Forty-two years ago, a generation rallied together to protect the earth we would inherit. As we reflect on that historic day of activism and stewardship, let us embrace our commitment to the generations yet to come by leaving them a safe, clean world on which to make their mark.” — From President Obama’s Earth Day proclamation

What He Said: President Obama on Oil

March 1st, 2012

“Anyone who tells you we can drill our way out of this problem doesn’t know what they’re talking about — or isn’t telling the truth.” — President Obama, speaking on energy today at Nashua Community College

State of the Union: Clean Energy Talk

January 25th, 2012

bl_obama_sotuDuring President Obama’s State of the Union address last night, it was hopeful to hear him declare, “I will not walk away from the promise of clean energy.” Also great: “We have subsidized oil companies for a century. That’s long enough.” He took the opportunity to say we don’t have to choose between the environment and our economy, and that he believes in a “strategy that’s cleaner, cheaper and full of new jobs” — and “a future where we’re in control of our own energy.” We would love the future energy to be clean energy (no thanks to more drilling for oil and fracking).

More on the speech: The speech transcript from the White House and good summaries on Grist and Huffington Post Green.

Celebrating Energy Independence Day

June 29th, 2011

blog_flagEach Fourth of July, Americans celebrate with family and friends, and pause to remember what our nation’s founders fought for: life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Still, too often in our busy lives we take those inalienable rights from the Declaration of Independence for granted.

In times of crisis, however, we come together as a family of American citizens. This was true after Hurricane Katrina, and following the tragic BP oil spill in the Gulf last year.

It has been one year since Global Green and the New Orleans Green Collaborative, a group of organizations and businesses from New Orleans and the Gulf Coast, released our Declaration of Energy Independence calling for greater urgency in pursuing renewable energy sources and technology. We declared our desire for a more sustainable future and called upon citizens and Congress to step up demand a shift away from fossil fuels in favor of clean energy–solar, wind, and other renewable sources.

Now on this Fourth of July, we renew that call and ask you to sign our letter to President Obama, urging him to create a clean energy future, starting in the same region devastated by the BP oil spill and assisting those affected by the nation’s most devastating environmental disaster. The hard-working Americans along the coasts of Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Texas can lead us to a green economy and clean energy future.

Despite the national focus shifting away with the incessant 24-hour news cycle, our work continues in the Gulf. The efforts we make to protect our vision for the future are tireless.

Now, more than ever, we are urging our fellow citizens to join us in fighting for the true energy independence necessary to maintain the fundamental rights upon which our founding fathers built this nation. We the people must continue to assert our power to protect our families and communities, and fight for our collective right to greener, happy lives for us all.

Please sign our letter to President Obama today. And I hope you have a fun and safe Fourth of July with your family and friends.