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Greenhouse gas emissions from airplanes threaten human health and contribute to climate change.

Last week, the EPA determined that greenhouse gas emissions from airplanes threaten human health and contribute to climate change. While this is a necessary first step towards controlling these harmful emissions, the EPA’s proposed regulatory approach is not sufficient to reduce the millions of tons of CO2 that airplanes release into the atmosphere each year.

Factory Butte

On Bureau of Land Management (BLM) lands sandwiched between Utah’s Capitol Reef and Canyonlands National Parks, rivers wind past red rock spires and arches that seem as if they were carved by alien hands rather than the forces of wind and water. Here, a maze of canyons once sheltered Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid from the law, and the Henry Mountains became the last mountain range to be added to the map of the lower 48 states.

Power plant next to a stream

People who don’t follow environmental issues closely may not realize that where we get our electricity is the most consequential decision we make in terms of whether we have clean air and safe drinking water or not.  Power plants, especially coal-burning power plants, are the largest polluters of our waterways by far—more than the next nine largest industries combined

A row of wind turbines on Oahu, Hawaii.

In May 2013 on Mauna Loa volcano in Hawai‘i, scientists at the world’s oldest carbon dioxide measuring station for the first time recorded CO2 levels in the atmosphere higher than 400 parts per million. When it comes to climate change, 400 ppm is a frightening milestone. Scientists say the global concentration of carbon dioxide hasn’t been this high since before humans evolved.

Coal fired power plant

Recently, the EPA finalized a rule that closes critical loopholes in clean air protections and will help save lives and keep many people from unnecessary asthma attacks. The rule grows out of Earthjustice’s work representing several local and national environmental organizations, including the Sierra Club, in two successful cases in 2008 and 2014.

The Clean Power Plan—a component of the latest update to the Clean Air Act, which began in the 1950s—requires states to reduce their coal power plants’ emissions by 30 percent of 2005 levels, over the next five years.

This is a guest blog by Jazelle Hunt, NNPA Columnist.

When Cheeraz Gormon received an invitation to lobby in Washington on behalf of President Barack Obama’s Clean Power Plan with environmental legal advocacy nonprofit, Earthjustice, she was bewildered.

Fish and coral in the Great Barrier Reef

The Great Barrier Reef needs no introduction. Containing some of the most spectacular scenery in the world, the reef stretches almost 1,500 miles along the coast of northeastern Australia. It’s one of the world’s richest and most complex ecosystems, home to thousands of species of plants and animals, including turtles, whales, dolphins and the iconic dugong.

A Paramuricea coral in Nygren Canyon which 165 nautical miles southeast of Cape Cod, Massachusetts.

The Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council voted this week to create the largest protected area on the East Coast of the U.S.—a 38,000-square-mile expanse that runs along the coast from Virginia to New York. Here, the ocean floor is riddled with canyons that burrow thousands of feet into the Earth’s crust, providing shelter for fragile coral ecosystems.


About the Earthjustice Blog

unEARTHED is a forum for the voices and stories of the people behind Earthjustice's work. The views and opinions expressed in this blog do not necessarily represent the opinion or position of Earthjustice or its board, clients, or funders. Learn more about Earthjustice.