Portland, OR – As public concern about extreme weather ramps up, Oregon is proving that we can win the fight against global warming. Clean energy and energy efficiency policies, are significantly cutting emissions of carbon pollution – the leading cause of global warming – according to a new report by Environment America Research & Policy Center. The report, Moving America Forward, showed that Oregon’s energy efficiency policies reduced carbon pollution by at least 1.31 million metric tons in 2012. That is comparable to the annual emissions from 272,000 cars.
“By using energy more efficiently, and by generating more power from clean, renewable sources, we are delivering a one-two punch in the fight against global warming,” said Charlie Fisher, field organizer with Environment Oregon. “We’ve proven that we have what it takes to protect our children and future generations from the worst impacts of climate change. We will need firm limits on carbon pollution in order to deliver a knockout blow.”
Scientists say extreme weather like the wildfires seen last summer foreshadow what could be a new normal of weather extremes that could threaten our children and future generations if we fail to act on climate. Coal- and gas-fired power plants are America’s largest source of the carbon pollution fueling global warming.
Environment Oregon pointed to the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) plan to move forward with limits on carbon pollution from power plants as the next step to fight global warming and shift to clean energy. Right now EPA limits arsenic, lead, soot and other pollution from power plants – but not carbon pollution. Power plants are America’s largest source of the carbon pollution fueling global warming, accounting for about 40 percent of total emissions.
Key findings from the report include:
- Renewable electricity standards have helped Oregon develop enough renewable energy to offset as much carbon pollution as 468,000 cars produce in a year.
- Federal limits on carbon pollution from power plants would build on Oregon’s success in using wind, solar, and energy efficiency to reduce carbon pollution, especially given the fact that Oregon gets most of its dirtiest energy from out of state power plants.
- Renewable energy growth, energy efficiency measures, and clean cars prevented more than 3.9 million metric tons of carbon emissions in 2012 alone.
Fisher pointed to opposition from power companies, the coal industry, and other big polluters as a roadblock to action. Already, groups from the American Petroleum Institute to the National Mining Association have launched campaigns to block or undermine federal carbon limits.
“With enough willpower, Oregon can rise to any challenge. We’ve seen that climate solutions work – now it’s time for the next round, Fisher concluded. “Our leaders can start by supporting the EPA’s plan to limit carbon pollution from power plants.”