Newly Announced Carbon Reduction Goals Will Protect Public Health, Address Climate Change, Incentivize Clean Energy Economy
Contact: Jennifer Rennicks, Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, 865-235-1448
Knoxville, Tenn. – The Southern Alliance for Clean Energy applauds today’s announcement of new federal carbon pollution standards for existing power plants. The long-awaited rules, announced this morning by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), are a critical piece of a multi-faceted approach to reduce carbon pollution that causes climate change and threatens public health. The proposed standards call for reductions in carbon emission from the power sector by 30 percent nationwide below 2005 levels by the year 2030. The proposal will also cut pollution that leads to soot and smog by over 25 percent in 2030.
Electricity production generates one third of U.S. carbon dioxide emissions, and carbon dioxide accounts for about 84% of U.S. greenhouse gases, 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 CO2 were emitted from roughly 270 coal units at 82 coal-fired power plants across the eight states in the Southeast.
Dr. Stephen A. Smith, executive director of the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, issued this statement following today’s announcement:
“We are strongly supportive of these ambitious yet attainable standards that will protect public health, address the carbon pollution that is fueling climate change and extreme weather, and move us along the path to positive toward cleaner, safer energy sources that will grow our economy and create jobs.
Our Southeastern region is increasingly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change given our vast, low-lying coastline which is already experiencing sea level rise and coastal flooding; our warmer-than-average annual temperatures which foster the spread of tropical diseases; and our tourism and agrarian-based economies which are threatened by a growing number of extreme weather events.
While a few states and local communities here in the Southeast have begun taking action on climate change, we welcome this new federal safeguard that will set limits on carbon pollution for our region as a whole in order to spur the kind of innovation that will power America with clean energy in the 21st century.”
Founded in 1985, the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy is a nonprofit organization that promotes responsible energy choices that create climate change solutions and ensure clean, safe, and healthy communities throughout the Southeast. Learn more at www.cleanenergy.org