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Learn About Climate Policy


Advocate for Climate ActionOverview

The scientific community is in strong agreement that our climate is changing and that human-produced pollution is a primary cause. The energy we use in our vehicles, homes, offices and factories create billions of tons of carbon pollution each year.

Although industries and utilities aren’t currently paying to release carbon pollution, we are all beginning to suffer from climate change impacts – from rising seas and stronger storm surges to changes in our agricultural resources – and the costs of these impacts is not included in the cost of burning fossil fuels, the main source of climate pollution.

We can reduce climate-changing pollution with existing clean energy technology, but we will need to be innovative in order to make the additional reductions that are necessary to stabilize our climate. In order to drive that innovation, our government needs to set strong goals, just as President Kennedy did when he challenged Americans to reach the moon within a decade. Strong long- and short-term pollution reduction targets are a start. But we need to make sure that we are rapidly deploying existing renewable energy technology and driving innovation for new clean energy solutions in addition to putting a limit (or a price) on how much climate pollution we can emit to ensure a hospitable world for our ourselves and future generations.

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Carbon Pollution & the Clean Air Act

Our nation's energy sector generates one third of U.S. carbon dioxide emissions, and carbon dioxide accounts for about 84% of U.S. greenhouse gases (GHGs), making it the nation’s largest contributor to climate change. The Southeast disproportionately contributes to national carbon pollution levels due to its abundance of coal-fired power plants. In 2012, over 366 million tons of carbon dioxide were emitted from roughly 270…

EPA Tailoring Rule and Greenhouse Gas Permitting

On January 2, 2011 the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will begin enforcing the first-ever permitting program for greenhouse gases (GHGs). This program is complicated and will not arrest our changing climate, but it is a significant first step. It will place real emission limits on the largest sources of carbon dioxide and other GHGs and it sends an important signal that the United States…

Carbon Tax, Cap & Trade or Cap & Dividend?

While there is little question whether or not we need to reduce global warming pollution, there has been considerable discussion about how to achieve these reductions. Although talk of implementing a national climate policy halted in Washington DC following the 2009 attempt to pass a climate and energy bill, many still acknowledge that national policies in addition to personal actions will be required to…

National and International Climate Policies

National Climate Policies At Georgetown University in June 2013 , President Obama unveiled a major suite of policies which provide a high-level view of his plans for addressing climate change in his second term in office. Although addressing climate change is often considered a controversial issue, several polls over the last year have shown that there is significant support for climate action, with the…

Climate Science

Climate change is an increase in the average temperatures in the atmosphere and oceans over time due primarily to human influences. Although heat-trapping pollution, such as carbon dioxide and methane, (also known as “greenhouse gases” (GHGs) are naturally occurring elements, humans have greatly increased the amount of this pollution in our atmosphere through the burning of fossil fuels. Climate pollution acts as a blanket…

Carbon Capture and Sequestration

Most power plants and major industrial facilities emit thousands of tons of carbon dioxide into the air every day. Yet technology exists to capture carbon dioxide and store it in geologic formations deep under the earth. The single biggest obstacle to this process, known as carbon capture and sequestration (CCS), is cost. Most of the cost is incurred at the power plant or industrial…

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Tennessee’s Economy to Benefit Through Climate Action

SACE hosted a panel of energy experts and business leaders to discuss the role of greening in Tennessee's economy. This event was held in response to informa...