Sunday, August 2nd, was an historic day in what has long been an upstream battle for the environment. The Obama administration revealed its Clean Power Plan, “marking the most significant single action any president has ever taken to tackle the climate crisis,” as MCF partners The Sierra Club proclaimed. Of course, the undertaking of such a bold and unprecedented plan has come to fruition and will see success thanks in large part to its thousands of active, public supporters. It is fortunate that U.S. citizens have assumed the responsibility of immediate action rather than leave mountains of waste and detriment for younger generations to combat.
The Clean Power Plan aims to limit carbon pollution both from new and existing power plants. Furthermore, its goal is to reduce 2005-level emissions from U.S. power plants by 30% by the year 2030. Never before has the federal government instituted limits on the amount of carbon pollution that plants can release into the atmosphere. Yet while it enjoys near universal backing from every environmental organization in the country, the plan is not without opposition. Several states are ready to fight the administration, while others predict hikes in consumer electricity bills. In response to those protests, Gina McCarthy of the EPA calculated that monetary benefits would far outweigh any costs, with anywhere from $25-45 billion in net gains.
The Moore Charitable Foundation supports The Sierra Club in particular, with its #BeyondCoal campaign, since it has been instrumental in the development of the policy. They, with others, have succeeded in communicating the dangers we face when dirty, coal-fired power plants emit greenhouse gases and damage our precious environments. As is often the case, the United States has set the standard for environmental policy, and the hope is that the rest of the world follows suit. This accomplishment is particularly valuable in the face of an approaching UN summit on the topic of climate change, which will take place in Paris in November and December of this year.
Michael Brune, Executive Director of the Sierra Club, eloquently summed up our thoughts on the Clean Power Plan when he said, “[This] marks the end of an era for dirty power plants that have spewed dangerous pollution into our air without limits for too long. [This] is a victory for every American who wants clean air to breathe, and for the millions of people who organized to make sure this day would finally come.”