Climate 411

Americans Have Caught the Fever

This is an amazing, exciting time. I, like so many millions of Americans, have been completely swept up in the groundswell of exhilarating national pride peaking just as we are about to celebrate our 238th anniversary as an independent nation.It’s time to wave that flag high and proud!

Flickr/Little Baby G

Flickr/Little Baby G

Americans have caught on to a movement that most of the rest of the world has long embraced. From Germany to England, France to Mexico, Brazil to South Korea, it unites so much of the world in a common purpose, a shared sense of hope and global cooperation. And over these last few weeks, I have rejoiced as Americans have caught the fever.

No, I’m not referring to the FIFA World Cup soccer tournament – though that has been a real treat to watch. And hats off to the inspiring performance of the Stars and Stripes squad in Brazil. What an amazing effort against Belgium. As a parent of a young soccer player, I couldn’t be more thrilled.

Actually, I’m talking about the overwhelming support Americans are showing for real climate action since the EPA announced its landmark Clean Power Plan to slash carbon pollution from America’s power plants.

And how inspiring it is. We Americans have been debating national climate policy since I was in high school in the first Bush administration. Here we are (gulp) a quarter century later, and we now have a proposal to — for the first time ever — limit dangerous climate pollution from America’s fossil fuel-fired power plants, the largest source of climate pollution in the U.S.

Can you imagine that we have spent all this time with NO NATIONAL LIMITS on climate pollution from power plants? Frankly, it’s shocking.

We’ve spent years debating a national cap and trade bill, a carbon tax, and a wide range of renewable energy standards to drive down America’s dependence on fossil fuels. And, we’ve made some progress.

But, all along, our fossil fuel-fired power plants were left unchecked, allowed to spew carbon dioxide into our atmosphere with no national limits.

That’s why the EPA Clean Power Plan is so essential and it’s why every American who cares about clean energy and a safer climate future should take action and support strong limits.

When the EPA announced its proposal a month ago, it was supposed to be divisive. It was supposed to ignite a furor of debate. The vaunted Big Carbon PR machine was supposed to be geared up and ready to grind the proposal to a pulp.

But, something funny happened on the way to cleaner energy. In the weeks since the EPA announced its pollution reduction plan, there has been a profound and perplexing lack of coherent or competent response from the richly financed corporate public relations industry. Yes, the Koch brothers, Karl Rove, the National Mining Association, and others are using this as a wedge issue to ramp up political pressure.

But, these squawking voices have been countered by former Republican EPA Administrators and former Republican Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, who have stepped up in recent weeks to support climate action. Even some utility companies have warmed to the proposal.

Overall, public support has been overwhelmingly positive. Washington Post poll last month found that as many as 70 percent of all Americans support carbon pollution limits for power plants — including 63 percent of Republicans and 69 percent of Independents.

Let’s be very clear about this. There are precious few political issues these days that garner 70 percent support – across all political lines. That’s important. And it is heartwarming evidence that America is ready to act on climate.

So, on this Independence Day, I’m planning to celebrate our great country by watching some World Cup soccer, enjoying the day off with my family, and rejoicing in the hope and opportunity we have as a country to unleash our clean energy future.

Go, go USA. I believe that we will act!

Posted in Clean Power Plan, News, Policy, What Others are Saying / Comments are closed

I’m Pro-Climate and I Vote

The climate isn’t interested in political stump speeches. And, sadly, too many politicians and media elites don’t seem to care that much about the climate – at least based on the miniscule attention this monumental issue has garnered so far on the campaign trail.

We need to change that dynamic, and this election season gives us an important opportunity to speak out.

Regardless of your political leanings, one fact should be obvious – if we are ever going to pass strong, lasting national climate and energy legislation to slash America’s global warming pollution, we need to work with liberals, conservatives, and moderates to build sustainable public support.

The good news is that the vast majority of Americans agree that climate change is an important issue and that our leaders should address it. We should leverage this and put pressure on political candidates about the need to seriously confront the climate crisis.

Between now and November 6th, in every community across the country, there will be political rallies, townhalls, campaign events, voter registration drives, get-out-the-vote canvassing, election phone-banking, and more. Take advantage. Participate in these events and talk with your neighbors – and, when possible, directly with political candidates – about the importance of addressing climate change in a serious, comprehensive way.

Whether your elected officials are climate deniers or climate action advocates, they need to hear from you. Because, one thing is certain, in politics, the squeakiest wheels get the environmentally friendly, biodegradable lubricant.

Let’s be squeaky wheels. Let’s declare ourselves Pro-Climate Voters. And let’s commit to using this political campaign to get our message across.

Here are some ways you can help get the message out:

  1. Get involved in your local campaigns. Every city and town in the country has some way to connect with political parties and get involved in local campaign events. And the internet makes it extremely easy to connect locally and sign up to volunteer.
  2. Do your homework. Find out where your candidates stand on climate change and incorporate that into your conversations, i.e. “I really like candidate ___. But I wish he/she understood the importance of climate action.” Or, “I’m really pleased that candidate ___ is such a strong supporter of climate action.”
  3. Speak out. As you engage with people on the campaign trail, talk about the fact that you are a Pro-Climate Voter. Regardless of your positions on other issues, make this part of your conversations with your neighbors.
  4. Strength in numbers. If you have the opportunity to attend a campaign rally or event, make a handheld sign declaring yourself a Pro-Climate Voter. It helps if you can drag friends and family to events to stand next to you with their own Pro-Climate Voter signs.
  5. Use social media. Echo your support for climate action via online social media by commenting on political candidates’ Facebook pages, Twitter accounts and other online channels. Believe us, these comments are closely monitored by campaign staff. With enough comments, we will get their attention.
  6. Keep it simple. You don’t have to be a climate scientist to understand the basics. Carbon dioxide is a heat-trapping gas. We emit CO2 into the atmosphere with every gallon of gas guzzled or pound of coal burned. CO2 has increased in our atmosphere by about a third since the Industrial Revolution. The planet is getting hotter and will continue to warm unless we substantially reduce carbon (and other greenhouse gases). Not one of these statements is in dispute.
  7. Be respectful. People of many different backgrounds may agree or disagree with you on climate change. It serves no purpose to get into a shouting match. An easy standby if you encounter a climate denier is to ask simply, “What if you’re wrong? What if climate change is as bad as the scientists project? What then? Maybe we should think about that too?”

Finally, keep in mind, we won’t win this issue unless and until we win over some folks who are skeptical and get others who are apathetic to at least start engaging. You’re never going to convince everyone, but through respectful dialogue, we can buttress climate action champions and perhaps begin to make changes across the spectrum.

One way or the other, 2013 will be a very important year for climate action. By doing our part, we can apply political pressure on the campaign trail and increase the odds of breakthrough action.

Posted in News / Read 1 Response

President Obama: Lead America to Clean Energy Now

As far back as Richard Nixon, every American president has called for energy reform and action to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels. And for 40 years, not a single one followed through to create real change.

President Obama has expressed his public commitment to passing strong climate and energy reform in 2010. But, with the legislative calendar running out, now is the moment we must turn words into action.

That’s the point of our forceful new video.


We’re calling on all EDF members, activists, and supporters and on all concerned Americans to join us in telling President Obama: We need you to lead America to a clean climate and energy future. We need at least 50,000 signatures before the Senate gets back to work next week.

Go to to add your name. Then forward to your friends and family, share on Facebook and Twitter, and help us recruit as many signers as possible.

We have never been closer to success.

What we have so far is President Obama’s support. What we need is a full court press by White House officials to do what it takes to get the 60 votes needed to secure Senate passage of a bill. Nothing short of that will do.

History will be made this month. Please help us make this a chapter with a happy ending.

Please watch our video and act today.

Posted in Climate Change Legislation, Policy / Read 2 Responses

“Dirty Air Act” – Worse than Nothing

Wouldn’t it be great if members of congress would follow a Hippocratic Oath for legislators – first, don’t pass bad laws? The Gulf Coast oil disaster proves once again that our over-dependence on fossil fuels comes with a huge human and environmental price. The best way to unleash our clean energy future and transition off oil and other fossil fuels is to cut America’s carbon dioxide pollution.

Unfortunately, some in Congress don’t seem to get it. Instead of supporting a strong climate and energy bill, the Senate is considering a resolution sponsored by Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) that would set new restrictions on EPA’s ability to cut pollution. This is worse than doing nothing and would take away an important tool in promoting a declining cap on America’s global warming pollution and unleash our clean energy future.

Please take action now to urge your Senators to oppose the misguided Murkowski bill.

Posted in Climate Change Legislation / Comments are closed

72-Hour Campaign Generates 300,000 Calls

Our regular readers will remember this recent post about the launch of our 72 Hours for Clean American Power calling campaign. EDF joined forces with 10 fellow environmental organizations to flood the Senate with calls demanding action on climate change legislation.

We’re happy to say the campaign was a big success.  An amazing 300,000 of you called our Senate hotline during those 72-hours.

We can’t thank you enough for your efforts. You made sure that the Senate got your message: America needs a comprehensive climate and clean energy bill, and we need it now.

Lots of you have told us that you’d like to do even more.  Keep in mind that our 100,000 letter campaign is still going on. You can make sure your Senators get the same message in writing — that a climate and clean energy bill should be a national priority.

Posted in News / Read 1 Response

Final Hours: Join Hundreds of Thousands in Calling the Senate!

Starting this Tuesday, we asked you to call your senators and demand clean energy legislation. We joined up with several other groups and challenged you to get as many calls in as possible within 72 hours.

You have already surpassed our greatest hopes by absolutely flooding the Senate: We believe we’ve collectively, across the whole campaign, sent more than 200,000 calls in to the Senate over the last 48 hours.  And we’re not done yet — the campaign ends tonight.

We’ve been busy here in D.C. working to get strong clean energy legislation passed. Our biggest weapon is your voice, so keep those phones ringing!

(And after you’ve called,  share this link with your friends and family.)

Posted in News / Read 1 Response