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 Oregon

New carbon pollution limits huge step on climate, and great news for Oregon

PORTLAND, OR – Coal and gas power plants will pollute 32 percent less nationwide and clean energy sources such as solar will meet more of the state’s electricity needs, according to limits on carbon pollution finalized today that are central to President Obama’s plan to address climate change.

“The Clean Power Plan is the single biggest action the U.S. has ever taken on climate and is great news for Oregon,” said Charlie Fisher, clean energy advocate with Environment Oregon, “Cracking down on coal and gas while ramping up wind, solar, and other clean energy sources will protect our families' health today and ensure a safer climate for the future.”

> Keep Reading
News Release | Environment Oregon

Sen. Merkley introduces legislation to protect the Arctic from drilling

Today, Senator Jeff Merkley (D-Oregon) introduced legislation to stop offshore drilling in the Arctic Ocean. His efforts come in the wake of a series of setbacks for Shell Oil, including damage to its sea vessels en route to the Chukchi Sea, and a penalty from the Obama administration for failing to comply with wildlife protections.

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Headline

Climate activists back solar energy bills

Solar power backers are asking support for a slate of state House bills, including a Residential Energy Tax Credit they consider likely to pass. That measure, House Bill 2447, is a state tax credit that pays half the cost of rooftop solar panels. It would extend to 2022 the installation costs, which are due to expire in 2018. Leading a small solar conclave Friday at the Ashland public library, Charlie Fisher, an “advocate” for the statewide Environment Oregon nonprofit group, said the state gets a “bad” rating for solar use now — only two-tenths of one percent of energy.

His organization and others have the goal of 10 percent by 2025. To do this, he said, it would take a quarter million rooftop solar units, but this is possible, as solar corporations are now the fastest-growing type of corporation in America 

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Headline

Experts: Oregon has more potential

Oregon now ranks 11th in the nation with 2,900 solar jobs, according to the Solar Foundation. It ranks 15th in both total solar capacity and the number of homes powered by solar, with 6,775. But industry officials say there’s plenty of room for improvement across the country but especially in Oregon. 

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Headline

Report: Five 'dirty' power plants supplying energy to Oregon

A new survey indicates that while no Oregon power plants are among the nation’s “dirtiest,” energy from five facilities on the list does indeed filter into the state.

> Keep Reading

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