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

News Release | Environment Minnesota

MINNESOTA STATE LEGISLATORS APPLAUDED FOR CALLING ON PRESIDENT OBAMA TO PRIORITIZE ACTION ON GLOBAL WARMING

The National Caucus of Environmental Legislators (NCEL) delivered to President Obama a letter signed by 302 state legislators from 40 states, including 23 Minnesota state legislators, urging him to prioritize tackling global warming in his second term. The move was applauded by Environment Minnesota and other environmental advocates across the country. 

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News Release | Environment Minnesota

President Recommits to Tackling Global Warming in Inaugural Address

In his inaugural address, President Obama committed to do more to tackle global warming in his second term, building on the strong foundation his administration laid over the last four years. From Hurricane Sandy, to raging forest fires, to the worst drought since the Dust Bowl, far too many Americans and the places we love have been devastated by recent extreme weather events fueled by global warming.

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News Release | Environment Minnesota

New Draft Report: Global Warming Affecting Minnesota in Big Ways

Minnesota and surrounding states are experiencing more severe heat waves, threats to the agricultural sector and more extreme rainfall events and flooding due in part to global warming, according to the new draft National Climate Assessment report released on Friday, January 11. The draft report incorporates input from more than 240 experts from around the country, and from federal agencies including the Department of Energy and NASA.

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News Release | Environment Minnesota

Wind Energy in Minnesota Prevents as Much Global Warming Pollution as Taking 757,000 Cars Off the Road Each Year

Duluth, MN – As the Duluth flood and its aftermath prompt more Minnesotans to call for action to tackle global warming and the rise in extreme weather, Environment Minnesota released a new Environment Minnesota Research & Policy Center report today that shows that Minnesota’s current power generation from wind energy displaces as much global warming pollution as taking 757,000 cars off the road per year.  Minnesota has also suffered from severe drought this year, and the report shows that wind power saves enough water to meet the needs of 59,800 Minnesotans.

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Report | Environment Minnesota

Wind Power for a Cleaner America

Coal- and natural gas-fired power plants pollute our air, are major contributors to global warming, and consume vast amounts of water—harming our rivers and lakes and leaving less water for other uses. Wind energy has none of these problems. It produces no air pollution, makes no contribution to global warming, and uses no water.

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