NWF Helps Deliver 2011 Victories for Clean Air

Thanks to NWF and other organizations’ persistent advocacy, EPA is putting the brakes on toxic air pollution and curbing greenhouse gas emissions.

NWF has been a leader in finding ways to address the climate crisis. While a comprehensive climate plan and a new federal initiative is a more responsible and responsive solution to the climate crisis, NWFers can celebrate several victories over the past year, such as:

  • Tackling the major root sources of carbon pollution – cars and trucks and the oil and coal industries;
  • Fighting off polluters’ attacks on the EPA when climate deniers and industry naysayers tried repeatedly to undermine EPA’s proper exercise of its authority under the Clean Air Act; and
  • Intervening in a federal court case to protect the science that underpins the agency’s actions to limit carbon pollution under the Clean Air Act.

Pollution from Cars and Trucks

Transportation accounts for 27% of U.S. carbon pollution. (Flickr: neoporcupine)

Transportation accounts for 27% of U.S. carbon pollution, the second largest source. NWF has spearheaded the national Go 60 campaign key Midwest states and built support for several key EPA efforts. NWF victories include:

  • By 2030, new EPA greenhouse gas tailpipe emissions standards for cars built during model years 2012-2016 will reduce carbon pollution by 307 million metric tons (MMT) annually, approximately a 21% reduction.
  • New limits on medium- and heavy-duty trucks that will strengthen fuel economy between seven and 20 percent by 2018 and cut carbon emissions by 76 million metric tons (MMT) annually by 2030.

NWF’s advocacy will help to reduce over 660 million metric tons of carbon pollution per year by 2030. A one-third reduction is nothing to sneeze at, especially after so many years of inaction.

Pollution from Power Plants

Electricity generation is the largest source of pollution. (Photo: Dylan Passmore)
Electricity generation is the largest source of pollution, just over 33% of all U.S. greenhouse gas emissions. NWF has fought efforts to roll back Clean Air Act safeguards by:

  • Generating over 50,000 public comments backing EPA’s new limits on mercury and toxic air pollution. NWF’s “Game Changers” report highlights how the Clean Air Act protects wildlife, habitats and the nation’s hunting and angling heritage. The mercury rule, finalized in December, will reduce mercury pollution by 91% and could retire 10 gigawatts of coal-fired electricity – a reduction on annual carbon emissions by approximately 70 MMT.
  • Supporting the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule that could shut down five gigawatts of coal-fired electricity generation which could in turn reduce carbon emissions by roughly 35 MMT. NWF helped stop Congress from delaying and overturning this rule.

EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson has explained, “the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards will protect millions of families and children from harmful and costly air pollution and provide the American people with health benefits that far outweigh the costs of compliance.”

Pollution from the Oil and Gas Industry

Oil refinery in Chalmette, Louisiana. (Courtesy of Planetware.com)
Oil and natural gas drilling operations are the largest source of methane, the most potent greenhouse gas. Every year, oil and gas drilling releases the equivalent of 220 MMT of carbon pollution.NWF continues to:

Early this year we expect the EPA to propose the first-ever carbon pollution standards for new and existing power plants. If sufficiently stringent, the standards could effectively prevent the construction of any new coal power plants and lead to significant pollution reductions from existing, old and inefficient power plants.

Instead of bashing EPA and promoting mischievous bills to undercut the agency’s work, Congress should be bolstering EPA and helping the agency implement the laws that several bipartisan Congresses and administrations passed. EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson summed it up nicely: “Families across the country, including my own, will benefit from the simple fact of being able to breathe cleaner air. That is what environmental protection and the work of the EPA is all about.”

Donate Now

NWF’s gains are significant but there is still a lot more to do and we need your help. Donate to help NWF implement carbon pollution limits on power plants for a cleaner future.