Climate change is the major environmental challenge of our time. Working in the United States and key countries around the world, NRDC is advocating for deep cuts to carbon pollution by ending our dependence on dangerous, climate-warming fossil fuels that pollute the air and water and harm public health and communities. We’re working for clean energy solutions that will lower consumer energy bills, create jobs, and build our economy. The good news is that we know how to meet U.S. carbon reduction goals using proven and innovative technologies, primarily by accelerating the use of energy efficiency, renewable energy, and electric vehicles and by getting carbon out of our buildings and factories. Through these strategies, we can ensure that clean energy is affordable and accessible to all while making communities and ecosystems more resilient to the unavoidable effects of climate change. We are thought leaders and advocates for using a broad range of effective legal, policy, and technology tools to combat all forms of climate change pollution. By partnering with a diverse array of stakeholders—including consumer advocates, environmental justice groups, labor, utilities, the business community, and military voices—we aim to build broad support for climate and clean energy solutions.


REPORT

America’s Clean Energy Frontier: The Pathway to a Safer Climate Future


The Big Solutions

We focus on the global initiatives and transformative strategies needed to advance rapidly scalable clean energy solutions, such as smarter energy use, renewable technologies, and the electrification of transportation and buildings. To achieve our goals, we use an array of policy tools ranging from standards for efficiency and clean energy to carbon pollution limits to market-transformation initiatives—such as our successful advocacy to move the lighting market from inefficient light bulbs to superefficient LEDs. With a team that includes lawyers, scientists, economists, engineers, and advocates, we seek solutions at all levels: state, local, federal, and international.

Pushing for U.S. Climate Leadership

At the federal level, NRDC’s lawyers are at the forefront of the fight to stop President Trump from rolling back key climate, clean air, and clean energy policies. We are working to preserve groundbreaking U.S. climate policies like the Clean Power Plan, which placed the first-ever federal carbon limits on power plants, as well as the successful national clean car standards, which have cut carbon pollution from tailpipes and saved Americans money at the pump. NRDC is also defending energy efficiency standards that cut pollution and lower consumer energy bills. We are leading the opposition to dangerous Trump administration proposals to force consumers to subsidize dirty and risky coal plants, and we’re taking on high-carbon bioenergy, which only undercuts climate progress. We are also fighting efforts to roll back key protections to reduce climate “super pollutants” such as methane pollution from the oil and gas industry and hydrofluorocarbons, which are chemicals used for cooling and refrigeration that both speed up climate change and harm the ozone layer in our atmosphere.

We have worked for decades to ensure enforcement of the Clean Air Act, the landmark law enacted in 1970 to protect our health and our environment from dangerous air pollution. Under that law, NRDC has won huge battles to cut lung-destroying smog in our cities; clean up our power plants, cars, and factories; stop acid rain; and save the ozone layer.

Our federal team also works to reduce the environmental, public health, and proliferation risks of nuclear power and advocates for smarter federal regulation of electricity markets and the electricity grid.

Looking to the future, we are using our scientific, economic, and legal expertise to prepare for the next Congress and presidential administration so that we can present climate and clean energy leaders with a clear path forward to help avert the worst effects of climate change.

State and Local Progress

Working in states across the country is crucial to making progress toward our climate and clean energy goals, especially given the rollbacks being pursued at the federal level. To reduce carbon pollution and clean up the electricity grid, we work with legislatures and utility commissions in key states for strong clean energy and climate policies. To accelerate the transition to clean energy, we advocate for states to adopt smarter regulation of utilities and the power grid and policies to make sure that workers and communities benefit from the transition. In addition to continued progress on the East and West coasts, recent coalition wins include Colorado’s adoption of clean car standards and clean energy advances in the Midwest.

NRDC is working to build regional and state carbon markets and carbon reduction policies. We played a key role in developing and strengthening the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, the combined effort of nine Northeast states to limit carbon pollution from the power sector, and we’re advocating for other states to join. Our team is now working with a coalition of Northeast and mid-Atlantic states on a plan to cut carbon pollution from the transportation sector. In the West, we led the advocacy for California’s landmark economy-wide program to limit carbon pollution from the power, transportation, and industrial sectors. We also work at the state level to phase out greenhouse gas super-pollutants.

NRDC is working to build regional and state carbon markets and carbon reduction policies. We played a key role in developing and strengthening the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, the combined effort of nine Northeast states to limit carbon pollution from the power sector, and we’re advocating for other states to join. Our team is now working with a coalition of Northeast and mid-Atlantic states on a plan to cut carbon pollution from the transportation sector. In the West, we led the advocacy for California’s landmark economy-wide program to limit carbon pollution from the power, transportation, and industrial sectors.

Recognizing that many mayors are climate champions and that cities are important drivers of clean energy, we work to accelerate the clean energy transition at the local level and leverage that work with our state and federal advocacy.

NRDC’s Climate & Clean Energy program has the history, expertise, and vision needed to tackle the biggest challenge of our lifetime—climate change.

Portfolio

Blog Post

A new action plan shows how we can cut greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent by 2050.

NRDC in Action

In the race to promote fuel efficiency and lower vehicle pollution, Roland Hwang is firmly in the lead.

Blog

With the flip of a switch today, the country’s first offshore wind power project began commercial operations.

Blog Post

We have the ideas—and the means—for reducing emissions and lowering temperatures at our disposal. We just need to act on them.

Western Dispatch

Ten percent of the state’s greenhouse gases come from a single coal-fired power plant—which will soon trade coal for solar.

Blog Post

The EPA has proposed repealing the Clean Power Plan, the nation's first limits on the nearly two billion tons of climate-changing carbon pollution coming from power plants each year, and replacing it with a thinly-veiled bailout for the coal industry that would actually be worse than doing nothing.

Blog Post

The Trump Administration has made no secret of its desire to prop up coal and nuclear plants for political purposes and today the White House made it abundantly clear.

Western Dispatch

The state knows a thing or two about creating a climate policy that’ll keep battling carbon pollution—even if the feds cut and run.

Blog Post

The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) is now required to fully fund the worker retention and community impact mitigation programs and to require electricity providers to submit integrated resource plans that avoid a spike in greenhouse gas emissions when the giant power plant is permanently closed in 2025.

Blog Post

The potential savings from transitioning from old-fashioned incandescent bulbs to energy-efficient LEDs in nations that do not already have energy efficiency standards could be massive—once all the lighting sockets in these countries contain LED light bulbs, the amount of electricity saved would be equivalent to Mexico's annual electricity consumption.

Policy Primer

So many technological innovations in the automobile industry stem directly from guidelines intended to reduce gas guzzling. If we lose these guidelines, we’ll also lose a lot of our workforce.

Blog Post

Given that transportation one of America's leading sources of climate-warming pollution, there is no question that we must transition to low-carbon modes of travel to avoid the worst impacts of climate change.

Northeast Dispatch

But plans to cut local carbon pollution might help this asthma capital shake its wheezy reputation.

Guide

The U.N. report warns that dire impacts from climate change will arrive sooner than many expected. Here’s why we need to follow the report’s advice, and why every ton of emissions reductions can make a difference.

Guide

Here’s what you need to know about energy efficiency and how you can help save the environment—and money—at the same time.

Guide

Wind and solar are powering a clean energy revolution. Here’s what you need to know about renewables and how you can help make an impact at home.

Guide

Mining, drilling, and burning dirty energy are harming the environment and our health. Here’s everything you need to know about fossil fuels, and why we need to embrace a clean energy future.

Guide

The lowdown on the earth’s central environmental threat.

Policy Primer

In short, it’s the first-ever plan to curb carbon pollution from U.S. power plants. Here’s how it works and why it matters.

Campaign

Climate change threatens our health by warming the planet, exposing us to a range of heat-related illnesses. About two-thirds of Americans—nearly 210 million—live in areas with a greater-than-expected number of dangerous extreme heat days, new NRDC analysis finds.

Campaign

Climate change threatens the air you breathe by fueling smog and ragweed pollen. About 4 in 10 Americans—nearly 127 million—live in areas with both unhealthy smog and ragweed, a new NRDC analysis finds. To avoid making asthma and allergies even worse, we must reduce carbon emissions and smog-forming pollution. Explore this map to find out how climate change impacts your air quality.