New EPA moves need our support

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The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency proposed Monday its Clean Power Plan, which for the first time would cut carbon pollution from existing fossil fuel-powered plants, the single largest source of carbon pollution in the country.

The plan calls for a 30-percent cut in carbon emissions from power plants by 2030.

The regulations are the first of their kind for the fleet of existing power plants, which currently produce nearly 40 percent of U.S. emissions, according to EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy who described the rules at a press conference Monday morning.

McCarthy emphasized the problems stemming from carbon pollution, which "supercharges risks not just to our health -- but to our communities, our economy, and our way of life."

[See also: "US bishops to EPA: protect 'least of these' in power-plant carbon rules"]

We say: Charlottesville reveals the weeping wound of racism. What do we, the American Catholic faith community, do next? Read the editorial.

Given today’s political climate, the plan is bold and certain to pick up much resistance, especially from anti-environmental, anti-global life members within the GOP.

And as NCR has noted, Climate change is the number one Pro-Life issue.

According to the EPA, the plan by 2030 would:

  • cut carbon emission from the power sector by 30 percent nationwide below 2005 levels, which is equal to the emissions from powering more than half the homes in the United States for one year; 
  • cut particle pollution, nitrogen oxides, and sulfur dioxide by more than 25 percent as a co-benefit;
  • avoid up to 6,600 premature deaths, up to 150,000 asthma attacks in children, and up to 490,000 missed work or school days—providing up to $93 billion in climate and public health benefits; and 
  • shrink electricity bills roughly 8 percent by increasing energy efficiency and reducing demand in the electricity system.

Carbon emissions are shooting upward and are directly tied to global warming. The 12 warmest years in recorded history have all come in the last 15 years

Last year, temperatures in some areas of the ocean reached record highs, and ice in the Arctic shrank to its smallest size on record -- faster than most models had predicted it would. 

Though Americans make up just 4 percent of the world's population, we produce 25 percent of the carbon dioxide pollution from fossil-fuel burning -- by far the largest share of any country.

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