By Liz Perera, Sierra Club Senior Washington Representative
Tuesday was a big day for the environmental movement. President Obama finally came out with a plan to use the power of the administration to address climate disruption and to start making the real reductions in carbon emissions that we need to stave off the very worst impacts of climate change. We have three more years to turn this promise into actions that we can be proud of, but this week we are celebrating the call to action.
The centerpiece of his roadmap is the carbon pollution standards for new and existing power plants. The Environmental Protection Agency will release drafts of these standards in the coming year and finalize them by June of 2015. These safeguards have been more than a decade in the making, and are a huge milestone in the fight to curb carbon pollution. Other highlights include a call to double renewable energy generation by 2020, an end public lending for coal plants abroad, and aggressive goals for installing renewable energy on military bases and federally subsidized housing.
Of course there is still more work to be done. The President’s climate commitment gives us great hope that he will finally address some of the remaining, worst abuses of the fossil fuel industry, including dirty and dangerous fracking, ending the devastating practice of mountaintop removal coal mining in Appalachia, rejecting the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline, halting destructive oil drilling in the Arctic, and overhauling the sweetheart deal on public lands that pads the bottom line of coal companies at public expense.