Progressive Coalition Encourages EPA to Mandate Strong GHG Reductions from Power Plants by 2020

For Immediate Release

Contact: 

Expert contact: Kate DeAngelis, (202) 222-0747, kdeangelis@foe.org

Communications contact: Kate Colwell, (202) 222-0744, kcolwell@foe.org

Progressive Coalition Encourages EPA to Mandate Strong GHG Reductions from Power Plants by 2020

WASHINGTON - 28 local, state and national public interest groups from the Climate Reality Check network submitted a letter to Assistant Administrator Janet McCabe for the Office of Air and Radiation in the Environmental Protection Agency. The letter urges her to require that states make significant greenhouse gas emission reductions from the power sector by 2020. This letter responds to a blog post that Ass. Admin. McCabe wrote in which she considered phasing in targets more gradually than reductions required in the proposed rule even though this delayed timeline contradicts the science showing we must make greenhouse gas reductions immediately.

“The Obama administration has once again demonstrated that it is willing to give in to the fossil fuel industry and further delay much needed action to reduce carbon pollution from power plants,” said Kate DeAngelis, Climate and energy campaigner of Friends of the Earth. “The world is already feeling the devastating impacts of climate disruption and cannot wait until 2030 for states to reduce their emissions. The Obama administration must stand strong against corporate interests and demand stringent greenhouse gas emission reductions by 2020 with even further reductions by 2030.”

The Climate Reality Check -- or CRC -- is an informal network of progressive organizations that represents a broad set of interests and a diverse group of constituencies. The CRC network aims to promote solutions to climate change that are equitable, just and of benefit to all people. For that reason, the CRC network sees that EPA’s Clean Power Plan as an important opportunity to address carbon pollution from the power sector and has urged President Obama to put forward a rule the would lead to the necessary change to end our dependence on dirty fossil fuels.

“The scientific community has been clear that the window of opportunity to avert catastrophic climate disruption is closing,” said Allison Fisher, Outreach Director for Public Citizen's Energy Program. “It is time for the EPA to accelerate carbon pollution reduction, not pump the brakes on climate action.”

The EPA’s Clean Power Plan aims to reduce carbon pollution from existing power plants by 30 percent below 2012 levels by 2030. Carbon pollution from the electric power sector contributes almost 40 percent of the country’s total emissions. Even based on the most optimistic estimates of the proposed rule, the Clean Power Plan would cut carbon dioxide from the power sector only 12 percent below 2012 levels by 2020, or less than four percent of economy-wide greenhouse gases. The rule was supposed to be finalized at the beginning of June, but has been delayed until mid-summer.

“The climate crisis is occurring now and, thus, real greenhouse gas reduction must occur now. The Obama administration is good at proposing new systems of greenhouse pollution control, but continues to drag its feet on tangible carbon dioxide and methane cuts. We need less delay and more action,” said Bill Snape, senior counsel at the Center for Biological Diversity.

Greenhouse gases have a strong cumulative effect, remaining in the atmosphere for decades after they are released. This means that immediate reductions are more important than reductions in future years. The longer states are given to comply, the more today’s emissions are magnified, and the greater chance there is of catastrophic impacts in the future. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has found that significant reductions are needed by 2020 in order to keep atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide at sustainable levels to prevent the worst consequences of climate disruption.

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Friends of the Earth is the U.S. voice of the world's largest grassroots environmental network, with member groups in 77 countries. Since 1969, Friends of the Earth has fought to create a more healthy, just world.

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