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

Headline

Maine Environmentalists Praise New MPG Rules

 Maine environmentalists celebrated the adoption of new federal regulations that will nearly double the average gas mileage of new cars and trucks by 2025, calling them a major step toward reducing global warming while saving consumers hundreds of millions of dollars in reduced fuel costs.

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News Release | Environment Maine

Obama Admin. To Finalize Historic Clean Car Standards

Portland, Maine—The Obama administration today will finalize new clean car standards that will double the fuel efficiency of today’s vehicles by 2025, drastically reducing carbon pollution and cutting oil use in Maine and nationwide.  The standards will cover new cars and light trucks in model years 2017-2025, and require those vehicles to average the equivalent of a 54.5 miles-per-gallon standard by 2025.  A recent joint analysis by the Natural Resources Defense Council and Union of Concerned Scientists projects that in Maine alone the standards will cut carbon pollution by 1.12 million metric tons annually starting in 2030—the equivalent of the annual pollution from 170,000 of today’s vehicles—and save 95 million gallons of fuel each year.  

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Headline

Maine Gets a Good Environmental Report Card

Maine is ahead of the curve when it comes to reducing global warming pollution. That's according to the environmental advocacy group Environment Maine.

The group released their new study in Portland outside Revision Energy, which makes things like solar-powered cars. The study shows Maine and other northeast states reduced global warming pollution over the last decade, while at the same time growing their economies faster than the rest of the nation.

A group spokesperson says while the region, in their estimation, is too still dependent on fossil fuels, Maine is making positive strides.

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Headline

Study: RGGI Helps Northeast's Environment and Economy

A report released today by the advocacy group Environment Maine concludes that it is possible to tackle global warming and at the same time achieve robust economic growth. The study finds that the Northeast region as a whole cut emissions 20 percent faster than the rest of the nation between 2000 and 2009. At the same time the region's GDP per capita grew 87 percent faster.

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News Release | Environment Maine

As Emissions in Maine and Northeast States Decline, Economic Growth Outpaces Nation

Maine and other northeast states successfully reduced global warming pollution over the last decade, while at the same time growing their economies—and did so faster than the rest of the nation, according to a new Environment Maine report released today.

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