Footnotes Issue #84: June 14th, 2014
Georgia to Lead on Climate Solutions (With Your Help)
Last week was a historic one if you care about the future of our planet. President Obama and the Environmnetal Protection Division have proposed the first-ever limits on carbon from power plants - the largest source of climate pollution. In fact, Georgia is home to the single largest carbon polluter: Plant Scherer, just north of Macon,emits 21 million tons of carbon dioxide a year equivalent to 4.5 million cars.
This standard is a big, substantive step forward in reducing carbon emissions. And while it won’t solve the problem by itself, it sets us up to make some pretty major progress and sends a signal to the rest of the world that we in the U.S. are ready to get serious.
Georgia has historically been a disproportionate part of the problem, but in recent years we have made quick progress by reducing our dependence on coal dramatically, from about 70% to less than 40%. Because we still have a lot of gains that could be made in terms of energy efficiency and renewable energy and because EPA factored in the carbon-free generation expected from the two new units from Plant Vogtle, Georgia was given an aggressive (but achievable!) goal of 44% reduction in carbon pollution by 2030.
The reaction from our utilities and many of our elected officials was disappointing, especially given how much progress we’ve already made. You would think they would have more of a can-do attitude, as they have learned from experience that protecting the environment and growing the economy can go hand and hand.
Our Public Service Commissioners, who won’t be in charge of developing our implementation plan but will play a role in the energy efficiency and renewable energy pieces of it, reacted strongly. Chairman Chuck Eaton claimed the new rules will raise rates, Commissioner Tim Echols took to Twitter to blast the President for hurting Georgia and the South, while Commissioner Stan Wise complained about the President’s “war on coal”.
It seems they’ve forgotten that we’ve already reduced our carbon emissions 22% in Georgia while we’ve been recovering from a recession, and that they’ve already been turning climate risk into business opportunity. Even in coal’s brightest days in Georgia, when it was producing about 70% of our electricity, it accounted for about 2,700 jobs in Georgia. In 2012, there were already 10,000 jobs in the solar, wind and energy efficiency industries, and those are the ones that are poised to continue to grow.
Let’s make sure they also don’t forget that the real cost is inaction. We are already seeing the effects of climate disruption in the form of floods, severe droughts, record heat and superstorms. These events are costing us more money in more places, more often.
Atlanta is the site of one of only four hearings across the country. Sign up today to ensure that the President, the EPA, and our local elected officials now that Georgians want strong, swift, decisive action to reduce carbon pollution and protect our climate!
Stop Climate Disruption: Carbon-Action Now
Last Monday, President Obama's EPA made a historic announcement: the proposal of first-ever limitations on carbon pollution from power plants. This is the cornerstone of President Obama's Climate Action Plan, and marks the first-ever significant cut to Climate Change-causing greenhouse gases from the United States major polluters: power plants. The Standard is NOT final, and NEEDS YOUR SUPPORT to get across the finish line. Join us to learn more about these historic carbon standards and what you can do to help!
Sierra Club Meetings
Wildlands Committee Meeting, Monday, June 23, 7:00 p.m.
RAIL Committee Meeting, Monday, June 23, 7:00 p.m.
Smart Energy Committee Meeting, Monday, July 7th, 7:00 p.m.
June 17th - Alternative Fueled Vehicle Roadshow - The Alternative Fueled Vehicle Roadshow is a nationwide series of educational events designed to equip fleet managers, city leaders and state legislators with the information they need to make informed decisions about transitioning to domestic, clean fuels. Experts in the fields of natural gas, propane, biofuels and electric-vehicles will deliver a series of short presentations on each fuel, along with a live vehicle showcase. For more information, click here.
June 19th - "State of the Challenge" Networking Panel & Reception (Atlanta Better Buildings Challenge) - The Atlanta Better Buildings Challenge will host a 'State of the Challenge' panel and networking event on June 19 from 4 - 7pm at the Atlanta History Center. Panelists and attendees will represent some of the most influential stakeholders in the Atlanta BBC, discussing the progress of the Challenge to date and implementation strategies of energy and water saving initiatives. Click here to register.
June 21-27th - Paddle Georgia 2014 - More than 400 paddlers will traverse 110 miles of the Chattahoochee River June 21‐27 as part of Paddle Georgia 2014, a week‐long canoe/kayak journey organized by Georgia River Network (GRN). Approximately 50 paddlers will also participate in the weekend only version – Paddle Georgia Lite. Additional details can be found here.
Save the DATE! July 19th - Sierra Club Outings Leader Training 101 - As a local outing leader, you have the opportunity to share your local wild areas with Sierra Club members and other community members - whether day hiking, peak scrambling, birdwatching, or multi day trekking. We are always looking for knowledgeable, passionate, outdoor-savvy people to join as Outings leaders. If that is you, why not become one, yourself? Contact Russell Puryear for more information and to register.
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