On Tuesday, June 25, President Obama announced a climate plan
that will set limits on carbon pollution from power plants, advance
energy efficiency and increase the nation's commitment to renewable
energy like wind and solar power. In the aftermath of Hurricanes
Sandy and Irene, record drought in many states, and devastating
wildfires in the West, the president's plan to address global
warming was loudly applauded by Gov. Peter Shumlin, the Vermont
Public Interest Research Group (VPIRG) and many others.
"Today, President Obama did more than talk-the-talk when it
comes to taking action on climate change; he walked-the-walk," said
Paul Burns, executive director of VPIRG. "All of us who have
felt the effects of global warming, or simply worried about what's
in store for our kids, can take comfort in knowing that President
Obama has put the nation on a path toward a cleaner, healthier and
Left unchecked, global warming is projected to bring to Vermont
more intense storms and more unhealthy air days. For instance,
an Environment America report released last year found that Vermont
is hit with more frequent, more destructive extreme precipitation -
heavy downpours or snowstorms that used to happen once annually now
happen every 6.5 months on average, and Vermont's largest annual
storms now produce 35 percent more precipitation than in 1965.
Scientists have warned that the window is rapidly closing for
making the necessary cuts in carbon pollution to protect future
generations from the worst consequences of global warming.
To respond to this threat, the president's plan contains several
key components. It will:
· Limit carbon
pollution from new and existing power plants. The president
directed the Environmental Protection Agency to set limits on
carbon pollution from new and existing power plants, which
currently lack any such federal limits despite being the largest
single source of the carbon pollution fueling global warming.
· Invest in
energy efficiency. New efficiency measures for buildings and new
appliances will cut carbon pollution by reducing our overall energy
· Build more
renewable energy. The plan focuses on expanding production of
clean, renewable energy sources like wind and solar, especially on
affected communities. The president's plan will help ensure that
communities are better equipped to prepare for and recover from the
impacts of global warming.
· Rebuild U.S.
leadership Internationally. The president's plan calls for the U.S.
to actively engage in international efforts to address global
VPIRG offered special praise for the president's pledge to cut
carbon pollution from existing power plants. More than 3.2 million
Americans submitted public comments last year in support of the
president setting limits on carbon pollution from power plants.
"Carbon pollution from power plants is a huge part of the global
warming problem. That's why we need not only to clean up the old
plants burning dirty fossil fuels, but we need to build more clean
energy plants that utilize renewable resources," said Burns. "The
president's plan is just one important step in a multi-year effort,
and that the proof of the plan's success will be in the
pudding. But VPIRG is prepared to work with the vast majority
of Vermonters who stand ready to assist the president in following
through on this critical commitment."