These comments were delivered to the EPA at their November 7, 2013, listening session in Washington, D.C., on regulating carbon emissions from existing power plants.
I am a representative of Moms Clean Air Force, an advocacy group of more than 180,000 moms, dads, and grandparents fighting for clean air. We want to tell you that it’s time to act to curb the carbon emissions that drive climate change. We say this because of our children. I am also a mom, and I brought a picture of my children, so you can see why I am here today. I am sure you also have children in your life who you love, too. If we continue to allow carbon to be spewed into the air unchecked we will be leaving our children with an uncertain, unhealthy, and unsafe future.
I live with my family in Washington DC, a beautiful city with poor air quality. In fact, Washington gets a failing grade from the American Lung Association for its ozone levels. Ozone triggers asthma attacks, causes stroke and heart attacks, and even causes lung cancer, as the World Health Organization concluded just last month. Because heat increases the formation of ozone, ozone levels are likely to increase in a warming world, according to the most recent IPCC report.
But ozone pollution is only a small part of the health problems our children will face in a changing climate. Already, children and other vulnerable populations worldwide are suffering from climate change. If carbon pollution continues unabated, they will experience increased transmission of infectious diseases; increased impacts from extreme weather such as floods, storm surges, and wildfires; increased heat-related illnesses; global food insecurity. This isn’t the world we want to leave our children. We have to do better. I am here today to ask you to propose a strong carbon pollution standard for existing power plants, so they are no longer allowed to dump unlimited amounts of dangerous carbon pollution into the air. Addressing climate change is our obligation to our children and future generations, and the EPA can take the largest step our country has ever taken in that effort by limiting carbon pollution from power plants. U.S. power plants emit approximately 2.3 billion tons of heat-trapping carbon dioxide pollution each year, 40% of the carbon pollution emitted in the United States. This is the single largest source of climate pollution in our nation and one of the largest in the world. I know that crafting a workable standard for carbon emissions from power plants is complex. I am here today to ask that during this process you keep one simple thing forefront in your minds: Our children. They don’t have a voice in this rulemaking, but it will determine their future. Please, protect them. Keep them safe. Do everything you can to keep them healthy, and leave for them a viable future. We are counting on you.