A Climate Solution Within Reach
A Human Right on a Warming Planet
The need to take immediate action on global warming could not be any clearer. Evidence of the growing impact of climate change around our planet presents itself every single day: increasing droughts, wildfires, floods, severe storms and more.
To protect ourselves, and to protect generations to come, we must act now. This is not just an environmental issue; it is a human rights issue. We have a responsibility and an opportunity to stop this catastrophe.
Coal-fired power plants are the largest contributor of greenhouse gasses that are heating up our home, Earth. Astonishingly, nearly 40 percent of U.S. carbon pollution comes from power plants—and there are currently no federal limits on how much CO2 these plants are allowed to pump out of their smokestacks.
Global warming is already a significant threat to the health of our families and communities.
Asthma and allergy attacks are on the rise as ground-level ozone and pollen rates increase with higher temperatures and longer growing seasons.
Heat waves are becoming more common and more severe, causing increased illness and death, especially for vulnerable populations like the elderly and low-income.
Warmer temperatures are causing increases in diseases spread by insects, rodents and pathogens.
Pollution from coal-fired power plants is hurting those who live nearby now. Mercury pollution has been linked to increasing incidents of autism and other developmental issues.
Children living in the shadow of these smokestacks are more likely to have asthma or bronchitis. They miss more school. They can’t play outside on too many days because the pollution is so bad.
Across America, these power plants are disproportionately located near low-income communities and communities of color, meaning those communities bear more than their fair share of this pollution. Forty percent of America’s Latino population lives within 30 miles of a power plant.
Those with the most to lose if we do nothing about climate change have done the least to contribute to the problem. Low-income communities cannot afford the increase in food prices that will result from longer, more severe droughts and other global food disruptions.
Migrant workers and other manual laborers toiling in fields, at outdoor construction sites and on rooftops will suffer from more heat-related illnesses as the temperatures rise.
Climate change is not merely an issue of science or politics. It is an issue of basic human rights. Refusing to take meaningful action is simply wrong.
This is the situation: Until very recently, America has been the leading contributor to carbon pollution across our planet. Much of our current economic might is built on a foundation of dirty energy, which has left a toxic and ruinous legacy.
But our ongoing prosperity does not depend on a continued relationship with dirty energy. Our economic future is not linked to 18th century fuels such as coal.
There is no graver challenge facing humanity than stopping global warming. This is our moment. We must come together in the face of the greatest environmental threat we have ever known to secure a climate solution within reach.
We can do this. We must do this.