If you were busy watching the Winter Olympics, you may have missed another important–if slightly smaller–event that happened last Thursday:
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) held a hearing in Washington, D.C. on the proposed carbon pollution standards for new power plants.
U.S. power plants are one of the largest sources of carbon pollution in the world. Carbon pollution is the main reason for climate change.
EPA’s proposed standards will set the first-ever national limits on carbon pollution from new fossil fuel power plants.
I had the privilege of testifying on behalf of EDF and its 750,000 members.
It was uplifting to hear testimony from so many diverse groups in support of these historic proposed standards.
Among those testifying were:
- U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island
- Moms Clean Air Force, on behalf of hundreds of thousands of moms across America
- Public health groups
- Environmental justice groups
- Veterans and national security groups
- Groups representing clean energy companies
- Latino groups
- Faith groups
and many more …
But climate change is an issue that threatens communities and families across America.
That’s why it was especially touching to hear the personal stories of how climate change impacts people, including one woman from Virginia who testified about raising a daughter with asthma, about the financial impacts of the disease–and about how the costs of pollution are not borne by the emitters, but by the public–and by families like hers.
Carbon pollution is a problem that we can fix.
Consider these facts:
- Clean energy continues to grow, and it is clear that America can generate affordable, clean electricity.
- Wind generation increased by more than 40 percent in the United States between 2011 and October of 2013.
- In April of 2013, the United States had a record month for wind power with generation of more than 17,000 gigawatt hours.
- In 2012, rooftop solar panels cost approximately one percent of what they did 35 years ago.
- Since 2008, as the cost of a solar module dropped from $3.80 per watt to 80 cents per watt, solar deployment has jumped by about 10 times.
- U.S. solar jobs grew 20 percent last year. The industry now supports more than 140,000 jobs.
- Renewable energy is expected to account for 28 percent of the growth in electricity generation from 2012 to 2040.
At the hearing, some opponents of EPA’s common-sense standards testified, representing groups like the American Petroleum Institute and the American Coal Council.
They repeated claims we have heard time and again about clean air standards costing too much or technology not being available.
We have heard similar claims in the past—claims that were subsequently disproved—about scrubbers and mercury controls.
EPA has found that carbon pollution controls, like carbon capture and storage, are adequately demonstrated for new coal-fired power plants—and that finding is based on an extensive body of technical information.
It is clear from the more than four million people who have weighed in with EPA in support of these standards that many Americans are ready for a clean energy future, and believe it is imperative that we address the largest source of carbon pollution in our country.
You can help the fight to limit the carbon pollution from power plants by urging EPA to adopt strong standards. You can submit comments to EPA through our EDF website.