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 Georgia

City of Atlanta Committee Passes 100% Clean Energy Resolution

Atlanta—Today the City of Atlanta’s Utility Committee passed a resolution that would commit the city to generating  100 percent of the electricity consumed in the City through renewable energy resources and associated technologies by 2035. The City’s own facilities would need to be powered by 100 percent clean energy by 2025. The resolution passed with one dissenting vote from Councilmember Howard Shook and will be presented to the full Atlanta City Council at their meeting on Monday May 1st, 2017.

> Keep Reading
News Release | Environment Georgia

Decatur Proclaims Solar Avenue for Earth Day

Today, Mayor Patti Garrett of Decatur, Georgia proclaimed that Third Avenue will be named Solar Avenue in honor of Earth Day.Third Avenue had ten neighbors purchase solar through the Solarize Decatur-DeKalb program. With one extra neighbor purchasing solar earlier, that means the highest concentration of homes with solar in Decatur is onThird Avenue.

> Keep Reading
Report | Environment Georgia Research & Policy Center

Our Health at Risk

Despite decades of progress under the Clean Air Act, Americans across the country continue to breathe unhealthy air, leading to increased risk of premature death, asthma attacks and other adverse health impacts.

> Keep Reading
News Release | Environment Georgia

New Data Shows Solar Jobs Growing in Georgia

Atlanta, GA - Solar in Georgia now employs 3,924 people, a 23% increase from 2015, according to new data released today by the Solar Foundation. . Metro Atlanta was home to the most solar jobs (2,406) followed by Chatham and Bibb Counties. The Solar Foundation data breaks down solar jobs in Georgia by county, congressional district and metro area.

Atlanta, GA -
Solar in Georgia now employs 3,924 people, a 23% increase from 2015, according
to new data released today by the Solar Foundation. . Metro Atlanta was home to
the most solar jobs (2,406) followed by Chatham and Bibb Counties. The Solar
Foundation data
breaks down solar jobs in Georgia by county, congressional district and metro
area.

 

The new numbers come from the Solar Foundation’s 2016 solar
jobs census. In 2016, solar jobs grew in 44 states including GA; solar now
employs over 260,000 people nationwide.

 

The growth in solar jobs reflects the growth of solar itself.
In 2016, solar was the number one new source of energy capacity installed in
the United States. As solar grows, it has also reduced climate-warming
emissions and helped to combat air pollution in Georgia.

 

Jennette Gayer from Environment Georgia released the following
statement:

 

“Lately, Americans have had a hard time agreeing on some
important issues facing our country. But I think we can all agree that solar
energy is good for our economy, good for our environment and good for our local
communities.

 

“As the numbers released today show, solar continues to grow
rapidly in Metro-Atlanta and throughout Georgia, providing good local jobs for Georgians
that also help to protect the environment.

 

“Every solar job we add in Georgia means we will continue to
reduce carbon emissions, improve air quality and protect public health --
all  while putting people to work in
their communities.

 

“Ultimately we know we can and must repower our lives using
100 percent renewable energy in Georgia and across the country. We encourage
leaders in all sectors to help solar continue to grow and meet this challenge.
In doing so, Georgians will continue to benefit.”

 

> Keep Reading
Report | Environment Georgia Research & Policy Center

Renewable Energy 100

America’s institutions of higher education can play a crucial role in the fight to prevent the worst impacts of global warming. Colleges and universities across the country should aggressively deploy clean energy on campus, setting a goal of getting 100 percent of their energy from clean renewable sources.

> Keep Reading

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