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 New Jersey

Final Green Light for Clean Cars

Today, the Obama administration finalized new clean car standards that will double the fuel efficiency of today’s vehicles by 2025, drastically reducing emissions of carbon pollution and cutting oil use in New Jersey and nationwide.  The standards will cover new cars and light trucks in model years 2017-2025, and require those vehicles to meet the equivalent of a 54.5 miles-per-gallon standard by 2025.

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News Release | Environment New Jersey

Broad Range of Stakeholders Call on Northeast Governors, Including Christie, to Improve Successful Clean Energy and Anti-Pollution Program

New Jersey organizations today joined more than 300 others in calling on Governor Christie and other Northeast and Mid-Atlantic governors to build on progress reducing pollution and promoting clean energy by improving the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI).  The coalition – which includes environmental and public health organizations, consumer advocates, and clean energy and mainstream businesses – highlighted RGGI’s success to date.  In addition, they called on governors to strengthen the program’s pollution reduction targets and increase local investments in clean energy and energy efficiency measures that benefit the climate, the economy, public health, and energy consumers.

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News Release | Environment New Jersey Research and Policy Center

New Report: Extreme Rainstorms and Snowstorms Up 33 Percent in NJ

Just days a series of severe storms ripped through Central Jersey, leading to severe rains and flooding that devastated the town of Freehold, a new Environment New Jersey report confirms that extreme rainstorms and snowstorms are happening 33 percent more frequently in New Jersey since 1948.  The Central Jersey storm followed a June 29th storm that brought high winds and rain to Southern Jersey, now considered one of the most destructive and severe thunderstorms in the region’s history.  206,000 people in Atlantic, Cumberland, and Salem counties lost power following the June 29th storm.

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Report | Environment New Jersey Research and Policy Center

When it Rains, it Pours

Just days a series of severe storms ripped through Central Jersey, leading to severe rains and flooding that devastated the town of Freehold, a new Environment New Jersey report confirms that extreme rainstorms and snowstorms are happening 33 percent more frequently in New Jersey since 1948.  The Central Jersey storm followed a June 29th storm that brought high winds and rain to Southern Jersey, now considered one of the most destructive and severe thunderstorms in the region’s history.  206,000 people in Atlantic, Cumberland, and Salem counties lost power following the June 29th storm.

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News Release | Environment New Jersey

Despite Record-Breaking Heat and Numerous Bad Air Days, Gov. Christie Vetoes Clean Air Bill

Gov. Christie has again vetoed a bill to continue New Jersey’s participation in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) – originally a 10-state program designed to reduce harmful power plant pollution, make polluters pay for their emissions, and invest those payments in local clean energy programs.

Gov. Christie pulled the state from the program last December.  The New Jersey Legislature, having received over 60,000 public comments in support of the program, has now twice passed legislation (S1322) to keep New Jersey in RGGI.  The program’s main opponent is the Tea Party-affiliated group Americans for Prosperity – a group funded by out of state fossil fuel interests, including the multi-billionaire Koch Brothers.

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