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We Have a Climate Problem—and the U.S. EPA has a Solution!
There’s good news today: the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is proposing the first ever carbon limits on new coal plants. And they are kicking off their formal process for getting public input on a second rule they will introduce this winter that would put carbon limits on existing coal plants—a very big step!
Many industry executives are wringing their hands, lamenting that EPA’s proposed rule will make it impossible for new coal plants to be built.
First, that’s not true. If a power company wanted to invest in a new coal plant, it would need to install new technology to capture its carbon emissions. Is the new rule a deterrent for those in the industry who continue to toy with the notion of investing in new coal plants? Perhaps, and that’s not such a bad thing.
We can’t keep operating business as usual and purport to be tackling the problem of human-caused climate change. Continuing to depend on carbon-intensive fuels to power our buildings and cars at the rate we are, is incompatible with reducing carbon pollution to the levels need to avert severe climate disasters.
The EPA’s new carbon rule for coal plants signifies the beginning of the end of an era. And we need to embrace this change and recognize, like with all major societal shifts, there are going to be winners and losers, and those who innovate and look for the path of the future, will prosper.
We’re already seeing the strong signs that change is afoot when it comes to the electric power sector. So, while the coal utility executives continue their story of woe, let’s instead celebrate the change:
- Renewable Energy Standards are holding strong and growing stronger in the persisting shadow of failed attempts by fossil fuel interests to roll them back. States continue to demonstrate that they want to raise the clean energy bar.
- The groundbreaking of a port terminal in New Bedford, MA equipped to deploy offshore wind infrastructure offers a tangible example of some of the many long-term U.S. jobs that will be created by finally bringing this critical industry to American waters.
- The U.S. solar market grew 76% in 2012, bringing our national solar generation total to 7.2 gigawatts of energy – enough to power close to 2.5 million homes – by the year’s end.
- In the summer of 2013, we witnessed the first 2 competitive auctions for offshore wind leases; part of a growing trend that will lead to increasing wind power generation in the U.S. a projected 18% in 2013
- And, last but not least, for the first time ever, no bidders showed up for a coal lease sale from the Bureau of Land Management, given current market conditions
Coal is the energy of our past—we need to embrace the energy of the future…the energy of today.
Good job, EPA, with getting it right: tackling climate change and building new coal plants don’t go hand in hand.
Speak up for polar bears and other wildlife feeling the heat from climate change, and tell the EPA you support limits on carbon pollution!