Climate change is the greatest environmental threat of our time, linked to rising sea levels, raging storms, searing heat, ferocious fires, severe drought, and punishing floods. It threatens our health, communities, economy, and national security.
In the United States, power plants represent the single-largest source of carbon pollution, spewing two billion tons into the air each year. In response, President Obama's U.S. Environmental Protection Agency set the first-ever national limits on carbon pollution from power plants in August 2015.
By starting to cut the carbon pollution created by power plants in 2022—ramping up to a 32 percent reduction from 2005 levels by 2030—the Clean Power Plan represents the most important step the United States can take right now to combat climate change and help spur climate action around the globe. It will aid in mitigating many of the health threats air pollution causes and that climate change enhances. And it will help America build a cleaner, healthier environment for future generations while ensuring an ongoing supply of reliable, affordable energy for economic growth. The plan would save up to $54 billion and thousands of lives a year—plus create tens of thousands of new jobs.
NRDC has long been an advocate for this national standard as well as for clean energy policies on the state level that are critical to effective implementation. With the Clean Power Plan in place, we are focusing on defending its pollution limits and making its goals a reality. Through in-depth economic and energy analyses, we are helping state policymakers build reliable and affordable clean energy solutions to help them meet this goal. To combat attacks from fossil-fuel companies and their allies in Congress, we are rallying support from lawmakers, businesses, and public-health leaders; helping statehouses vote down bills designed to undermine the plan; and defending the carbon limits in court.
Time might be running out to fight climate change, but as the Clean Power Plan clearly demonstrates, we are not running out of solutions.