Our Best Chance at Halting Climate Change

Today's proposal for cleaning up power plants


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Today, because of unrelenting pressure from so many people who have demanded action on climate change, the Obama administration proposed the nation’s first-ever carbon pollution limits on existing power plants—the single biggest source of climate pollution.

Just getting this rule proposed has taken years of effort, and we are thankful for all of our supporters who sent messages urging our public officials to address climate change

Carbon limits for power plants are vitally important for a few key reasons:

First, the need to act has never been clearer. Every week we hear new evidence of drought, fire, flooding, other extreme weather, and even more impacts on people across the globe coming from climate change. It is clear that it’s time to act.

Second, coal-burning power plants are the single biggest cause of the nation’s and the globe's climate pollution problem. They emit up to 40 percent of the greenhouse gases in the United States. They a real source of the problem that we can tackle today.

Third, this is important because we have the tools to go after these emissions today. The tools are found in the Federal Clean Air Act, which has worked for 40 years to be exceptionally effective at saving lives, reducing pollution, adapting to new challenges and driving technology development.

And finally, we are especially concerned that communities of color continue to face the most direct and harmful impacts of climate change and power plant pollution. Those of us who care about economic and environmental justice realize that global warming is a civil rights issue. For decades in this country, these communities have been the dumping grounds for coal pollution. At Earthjustice, we firmly believe that no community should bear these disproportionate costs.

We have already seen the no-holds-barred attack from fossil fuel industry and their congressional allies on this proposal even before it was released. We've already seen misleading ads, massive lobby spending, and massive electoral spending aimed at dismantling the administration’s climate agenda.

This action by the president and by the Environmental Protection Agency today is vital to the health and well-being of families and communities everywhere, in all walks of life.

While this is a big deal, it’s not a done deal. The industry has never before had to clean up its carbon pollution, and we expect a major push to weaken the proposed rule in the next few months before it becomes final.

We will need you to help push for a strong final rule by weighing in with the EPA, your elected officials and inspiring others to do the same. The time to act is now. We have the tools, and our future depends on it. 


Trip Van Noppen served as Earthjustice’s president from 2008 until he retired in 2018. A North Carolina native, Trip said of his experience: “Serving as the steward of Earthjustice for the last decade has been the greatest honor of my life.”