The last generation

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

Years ago, many of us thought of global warming as something that would happen “someday.” As it turns out, “someday” is now.

Since 2000, we’ve experienced 16 of the 17 warmest years on record  including 2016, 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, and storms growing more powerful, and droughts and other forms of extreme weather more disruptive.

A two-part challenge

Nobody, of course, wants to leave the next generation a world where heat waves, floods, droughts and worse are the “new normal,” everyday events in an increasingly dangerous world.

If we accept, as we must, the broad scientific consensus that our pollution is accelerating these changes, then this is our challenge: to stop putting carbon into our air, and to repower our society with clean, renewable energy such as solar, wind and energy efficiency.

The good news is that solutions like solar, wind and efficiency not only reduce carbon pollution. They also clean up our air, reduce asthma attacks, and promote energy independence.

The Clean Power Plan

Over the past eight years, we’ve made significant progress to reduce global warming pollution and to make sure we leave kids growing up today a cleaner, healthier planet.

For example, in June 2014 President Obama moved forward with what The New York Times called “the strongest action ever taken by an American president to tackle climate change.”

His plan is called the Clean Power Plan and it 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 #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 building block to the success of the president’s climate deal with China — which is itself the cornerstone to a broader global agreement. 

More than 8 million supporters

A recent poll shows that 2/3 of all Americans back the idea. Americans 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, some members of Congress — including backers of the fossil fuel industry and those who still deny the overwhelming science behind climate change  have vowed to do everything in their power to block the plan.

What can and must we do to see that the Clean Power Plan remains in place?

First, in Congress, we must persuade enough representatives and senators to defend the Clean Power Plan and other necessary protections from repeal and rollback. 

Second, outside of Washington, we must persuade both Republican and Democratic governors who support clean energy to stand behind the Clean Power Plan  and thereby signal to Congress and the courts that blocking this plan will be politically unpopular.

Third, we must keep showing all of these officials that local leaders and the public are with us and willing to speak out on this issue  because we know when the public leads, our leaders will, eventually, follow. 

Protect our children's future

That’s what happened when we helped mobilize public opinion and support to turn back attacks on solar in Arizona, Colorado and New Mexico and won new commitments to solar in Austin and Houston, Athens and Atlanta, and New York State and California, among other places. Over the last 10 years, we’ve helped establish dozens of pro-solar programs, including the biggest: California’s Million Solar Roofs Initiative.

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 #1 global warming polluters. 

 

Global Warming Updates

Blog Post

Maine and Colorado are setting the pace for climate action in 2019 | Ross Sherman

New governors across the country have grabbed the mantle to address the climate crisis

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News Release | Environment Maine

Gov. Mills signs three climate action bills at local solar array

Gov. Janet Mills signed three bills aimed at addressing global warming  into law today (LD 1679, LD 1711 and LD 1494) at the Cianbro Corp.’s solar array. Together this legislation puts Maine on the path to lowering its greenhouse gas emissions to 80 percent below the 1990 levels and to shifting the state’s electricity to 100 percent renewable energy by 2050. In addition, a newly established Maine Climate Council will help mitigate climate change impacts with a variety of working groups making sure the voices of all Mainers are heard. 

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News Release | Environment Maine

Governor Mills climate bill heads to her desk

The Maine Senate has enacted LD 1679, a bipartisan climate bill crafted by Gov. Mills and sponsored by state Sen. David Woodsome (R-York). The bill creates the Maine Climate Council and updates Maine’s climate action plan to require greenhouse gas emissions be reduced 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050. With Gov. Mills expected signature, it will soon become law.

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Blog Post

Environment Maine Testimony in Support of LD 1679 ‘An Act To Promote Clean Energy Jobs and To Establish the Maine Climate Council’ | Carissa Maurin

Govenor Janet Mills' and Senator David Woodsome's bill LD 1679 ‘An Act To Promote Clean Energy Jobs and To Establish the Maine Climate Council’ would establish the Maine Climate Change Council to assist Maine to mitigate, prepare for and adapt to climate change, provides that by January 1, 2030 80 percent of electricity consumed in the State must come from renewable resources and by January 1, 2050 100 percent of electricity consumed in the State must come from renewable resources, and updated the greenhouse gas emissions reductions required in statute to 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050 and 45 percent by 2030.

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News Release | Environment Maine

Statement on Gov. Janet Mills’ Maine Climate Council Bill

Maine is setting a great example for the rest of the country, with Republicans and Democrats working together to thwart climate change, a threat that doesn’t discriminate against any political affiliation. Today, the Maine state legislature heard Gov. Janet Mills’ climate action bill, L.D. 1679, sponsored by state Sen. David Woodsome (R-York). If adopted, this bipartisan bill sets targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050 and 45 percent by 2030. It also sets goal of requiring that 80 percent of the electricity sold in Maine come from renewable energy by 2030, with a longer term target of 100 percent by 2050.

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