November of 2013 was the warmest November on record.
It was also was the 345th consecutive month (that’s almost 29 years!) with a global temperature above the 20th century average, according to the most recent data from NOAA.
So while some folks may be dismissing climate change because of the current blisteringly cold weather in parts of the U.S., we are still very clearly seeing the long-term trend of warming that experts at leading scientific and government agencies (like NASA and many, many others) agree is occurring.
This long-term trend of warming and the serious consequences at stake underscores the need to address carbon pollution now.
Here’s some good news on that front:
There are currently no national limits on carbon pollution from power plants, the single largest source of this pollution in the United States.
The standards published today will help ensure that we get our power from cleaner sources, and that we reduce climate-destabilizing pollutants like carbon dioxide.
Cleaner power means healthier lives for millions of Americans.
We are learning more and more about the impact of climate change on human health. From increased asthma attacks to disease and sanitation concerns, a changing climate will have a significant impact on Americans’ health now and in the future.
- In one recent study, Harvard researchers found that high temperatures correlated with more hospital visits for five conditions including kidney, glandular, and urinary tract problems; accidents; and self-harm.
- In another study, researchers found that those suffering from allergies or asthma are likely going to have to cope with earlier pollen seasons for some allergenic species in a changing climate.
Health groups, states, moms, environmental groups, and businesses have all expressed support for common-sense limits on carbon pollution. About four million Americans have written to EPA in support of carbon pollution standards for power plants.
This opinion piece from the American Medical Association may best sum up the health risk if we don’t act:
If physicians want evidence of climate change, they may well find it in their own offices. Patients are presenting with illnesses that once happened only in warmer areas. Chronic conditions are becoming aggravated by more frequent and extended heat waves. Allergy and asthma seasons are getting longer. . . . Rising air and water temperatures and rising ocean levels since the late 1960s have increased the severity of weather, including hurricanes and droughts, and the production of ground-level ozone. That means more asthma and respiratory illnesses, more heat stroke and exhaustion, and exacerbation of chronic conditions such as heart disease.
Fortunately, we have the technology to meet our clean energy and human health goals, and EPA’s standards will play a key role in getting us there.
Cost-effective, low-carbon energy solutions are being deployed across the country now. They are creating homegrown, good jobs while protecting Americans health and prosperity.
In fact, ALL of the new electric power that came online in November in America was from renewable energy.
In 2012, wind power was:
[T]he number one source of new U.S. electric generation capacity for the first time—representing 43 percent of all new electric additions and accounting for $25 billion in U.S. investment.
However, there are opposition forces working to derail EPA’s efforts to address carbon pollution.
We need all of the support we can muster to ensure EPA goes forward with its commonsense standards that will help ensure the healthier, clean energy future we know we must achieve for the sake of our children and grandchildren.