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Momentum Building: 41 Lawmakers Offer Proven Guide for Action on Climate

Franz Matzner

Posted February 5, 2014 in Curbing Pollution, Solving Global Warming, U.S. Law and Policy

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Forty-one members of Congress representing 9 northeastern states have just added their voices to the chorus calling for action to curb the unlimited carbon pollution that is driving climate change.

These leading lawmakers make it clear that acting on climate is the right thing to do. We’re already seeing its impacts in more dangerous storms, floods, drought and weather.

Not only that, they know it needs to be done now. They hail from states that saw or experienced firsthand the terrible power of Superstorm Sandy, which caused billions of dollars of damage to their region.

 And their letter shows we’re not starting from scratch. States are already proving cutting pollution strengthens the U.S. economy.  In their letter, they urge the Environmental Protection Agency to use the Northeast’s proven experience as a guide for developing fair and flexible standards the states can use to cut carbon pollution from the nation’s power plants. These plants emit 40 percent of our country’s carbon pollution. They are the heart of the problem.

The lawmakers, led by Rep. Nikki Tsongas of Massachusetts and Annie Kuster of New Hampshire, note that since their nine states launched the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative in 2005, carbon pollution has dropped nearly half in their region.  Further reductions are on the way. That’s striking.

They’re doing it, according to a report, while boosting regional net economic output by $1.6 billion, and creating 16,000 jobs across the nine-state region. Take that to the bank. Curbing carbon pollution can be good for the economy.  

On a national level, President Obama has directed the EPA to develop federal standards under the Clean Air Act to cut carbon pollution from the country’s existing and future power plants. In his recent State of the Union address, he reiterated why: “Climate change is a fact. And when our children's children look us in the eye and ask if we did all we could to leave them a safer, more stable world, with new sources of energy, I want us to be able to say yes, we did.”

While some are standing on the sidelines spouting the usual shopworn arguments, these congressional leaders know we need to act now and are helping chart a path forward instead of standing in the way.

Their example shows that momentum continues to build for action on climate. For the sake of our children, we must keep going. Their future depends on it.

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Switchboard is the staff blog of the Natural Resources Defense Council, the nation’s most effective environmental group. For more about our work, including in-depth policy documents, action alerts and ways you can contribute, visit NRDC.org.

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