|January 23, 2012We’re on a Roll, but We Can’t Let Up!
Last week was big for climate champs. It doesn’t seem like all that long ago when Keystone XL was deemed a noble fight few thought we’d win. Yet, unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve heard the good news: the pipeline application has been denied. This is not just a big victory for those concerned about tar sands and their incredible carbon intensity, but also for fans of clean water and sensitive species located in the denied pipeline’s path. While this fight is far from over, it’s a significant step forward for what looks to be a big year on the climate front. Tomorrow, 350.org and 500 supporters will go back on the offensive against the fossil fuel industry and their political supporters. As certain members of Congress plan to use Keystone XL to attack the President on jobs, this demonstration will point to the pipeline as a symbol of the ways in which Big Oil money corrupts the political process and holds back progress on clean energy jobs and climate change.
Just before the holidays, the Obama administration officially released their highly anticipated standards for the new wave of cleaner cars for model years 2017 to 2025. The new standard of 54.5 mpg, if implemented correctly, will make America’s cars run further on a gallon of gas, reduce harmful pollution and spur job creation in the auto industry. Hearings are now underway across the country regarding new clean car standards—and Americans are showing up to voice their support for more efficient cars and clean air.
As you read here on Hotline a few weeks ago, energy efficiency remains our first best option in the fight to reduce emissions and strengthen our economy. The fine folks at ACEEE recently added fuel to that fire with a new analysis that highlights EE’s potential to create nearly 2 million jobs and save families $2,600 a year. The trick is to move beyond changing light bulbs, and make major systemic investments that will dramatically reduce energy waste.
If you haven’t done so already, check out the EPA’s new GHG reporting tool and interactive map. The site is a powerful step forward in allowing citizens to identify the major emitters in their neck of the woods, and learn which industries contribute various types and amounts of greenhouse gases.
As you know, addressing climate change means drastically reducing heat-trapping pollution while we scale up efforts to address climate impacts already underway. Back in 2010, Congress directed Council on Environmental Quality and Department of Interior to prepare a government-wide strategy for helping fish, wildlife and plants adapt to climate change. The draft plan is now available for public comment until March 5, 2012. Even if you don’t plan to submit a comment, the plan is interesting to those working to keep our wildlife and wildlands resilient in a warming world.
And of course, we’re all eagerly anticipating the EPA’s release of a draft rule regulating carbon pollution from new power plants. EPA is expected to take this important step around the end of January. Don’t forget to stay tuned for updates on this and other important Clean Air Act developments by reading the weekly Clean Air Act Digest.
J.P. Leous, Outreach Director