Carbon dioxide is a heat-trapping gas in our atmosphere. In the past two hundred years, levels of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere have skyrocketed to dangerous levels unprecedented in the history of human civilization. This is happening as a result of human activity—mainly burning coal, oil, and natural gas for transportation and energy, as well as emissions from big-scale agricultural processes.
What can carbon dioxide do to you?
Carbon dioxide from human activity is a major contributor to climate change. Although not harmful in and of itself, its unchecked release into the atmosphere is polluting our climate and is a grave global health threat. Reducing carbon dioxide emissions is essential to fighting climate change and safeguarding the health and future of our children.
What you can do.
The 116th Congress has introduced several bills from both sides of the aisle to address climate pollution. That’s good news, because we need legislative solutions. Now we have to keep the pressure on—it’s up to us to build momentum for climate action.
It is unlikely that only one law will be able to stop massive climate pollution. But it is imperative that we keep demanding legislative solutions.
However, action on climate pollution from Washington DC has been slow and does not address the urgency of the climate change problem. Therefore, we need our state governments to take action and reduce carbon pollution.
Find out what is happening in your state, and demand that your governor take action.
What is America’s Clean Power Plan?
As the Supreme Court has established, it is the job of the Environmental Protection Agency to regulate carbon dioxide pollution. To address a glaring pollution loophole—no carbon dioxide limits on power plants, one of the largest sources of human-caused climate pollution—the Obama Administration EPA developed a plan to limit the amount of greenhouse gas pollution that can be emitted by power plants.
America’s Clean Power Plan sets up state-specific carbon emissions reduction targets. The plan is flexible, encouraging each state to figure out how to meet its target. The plan gives states the responsibility and freedom to craft a pollution reduction strategy tailored to their needs.
America’s Clean Power Plan was issued under the Clean Air Act, a law that requires EPA to regulate the air pollution that harms human health. The Supreme Court has established that greenhouse gas emissions are harmful to public health, and therefore the EPA is required to set limits on them.
Numerous states, governors, and power companies have already affirmed they can meet the emission goals of America’s Clean Power Plan. Governors and state officials are using it to craft their state climate action plans.
Learn more about how carbon dioxide emissions threaten our children’s health by exploring our resources.