The basics are clear: less climate pollution, more clean energy
June 18, 2014

KC Golden - (206) 963-1953 
Dana Haynes, City of Portland - (503) 823-4799
Bobby Hayden - (503) 781-3383

The Obama administration announced a plan for federal climate action today, unveiling a suite of measures to limit climate pollution from power plants, increase renewable energy production, improve energy efficiency standards, and place better controls on methane and other potent contributors to climate disruption. In his speech, President Obama also questioned whether moving forward on the Keystone Pipeline was in America’s national interest.

“Today we take a big step forward on climate and clean energy in America. If we can avoid big steps back, we can make it to real climate solutions that help us build a stronger economy,” said KC Golden, Policy Director for Climate Solutions.  “By ending international financing of coal plants, curtailing oil subsidies, and making climate impacts a key decision factor on the Keystone Pipeline and Northwest coal exports, the President could keep us pointed squarely toward solutions.”

Charlie Hales, Mayor of Portland, Oregon said “the President is delivering on a commitment to address climate change and invest in clean energy jobs. It’s a proud day for the people of our community, our state, and our nation who have pushed to make this a priority for his administration. We look forward to supporting his efforts locally.” Hales has issued several recent calls for climate-related actions, including a desire for the State of Oregon to divest all holdings in fossil fuels.

The Obama administration’s plan is also receiving a positive reaction from members of the public health community who remain concerned about the effects of climate disruption on local communities.

"From asthma attacks to heart attacks, to the consequences of drought, wildfires and other extreme weather events, carbon pollution is putting the health of our children and other vulnerable parts of our communities at risk,” said Dr. Susan Katz of Oregon Physicians for Social Responsibility. "The policies announced by President Obama today offer some common sense solutions to prevent the public health consequences of global warming, which threaten both the short term and long term health of our population and our environment.”

Jeff Hughes, Manager of Sustainability at Seattle Children's and advisory council member of Business Leaders for Climate Solutions said, "This plan will not only turn us in the right direction for our future economy, including greater reductions in healthcare costs,  but it also protects our children from the offenses of chemicals in their atmosphere."

“The basics are clear: less climate pollution, more clean energy,” Golden continued, “The technology is there. The economics are favorable. The only intractable obstacle is lack of political will, bought and paid for by big polluters. The President is taking that obstacle by the horns today.”

The Obama administration’s plan is designed to achieve the emission reductions the President pledged in the 2009 Copenhagen Accord. The announcement sets the stage for the most substantial step forward in America’s transition from fossil fuels to clean energy.

More from KC Golden:

“With the President’s announcement, America will steer straighter and move faster toward climate solutions. Our challenge, and the President’s, is to ensure that a dying fossil fuel industry doesn’t knock us off course with big new infrastructure investments – like Keystone XL and coal export facilities – that lock us in to a future of unrelenting climate disasters. 

“The toughest and most essential part of the plan is the pledge to limit climate pollution from existing power plants. Common-sense, science-based limits on dangerous pollution are just good public policy. These limits will accelerate the transition from coal to cleaner forms of energy, a huge piece of the climate solutions puzzle. They will open the markets space for the innovation, investment, and deployment of the clean energy sources that are making fossil fuels obsolete.  With the consensus agreement to phase out the Transalta coal plant in Washington, we’re showing that we can make the transition from coal to clean energy fairly and in ways that build stronger local economies in the Northwest.  Now, many more communities will have that opportunity.”

Climate Solutions is a Northwest-based clean energy economy nonprofit that works to accelerate practical and profitable solutions to global warming by galvanizing leadership, growing investment and bridging divides. Since 1998, Climate Solutions has pioneered the vision and cultivated political leadership in the Northwest for the proposition that clean energy and broadly shared economic prosperity can go hand-in-hand. Through its Business Leaders for Climate Solutions, New Energy Cities, Northwest Biocarbon Initiative and Sustainable Aviation Fuels programs, Climate Solutions builds a powerful constituency for local, regional and national action on climate and clean energy.

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