December 27, 2013

Carbon pollution poses significant health, climate threat

LETTER

Every year, power plants dump more than 2 billion tons of dangerous industrial carbon pollution and other toxic pollutants into the air. These pollutants worsen climate change, which in turn creates conditions that lead to an increased number of asthma attacks and heart attacks among seniors, and pose significant health threats to our children and people who work or exercise outside.

These pollutants also fuel more extreme and deadly weather events such as floods, intense storms, drought, heat waves and wildfires. The super typhoon that hit the Philippines last month is clear evidence that climate change is fueling bigger, more destructive storms. Something must be done.

There’s no question that our climate is changing, and it’s time for our leaders to support action to stop it. We can’t simply adapt our communities to deal with the destructive impacts of the increasingly more frequent extreme weather events we’re having.

We can and should take steps to address the root of the problem, by curbing industrial carbon pollution from power plants, which are responsible for nearly 40 percent of U.S. carbon dioxide emissions every year.

In September, the EPA introduced a new standard that puts stricter limits on industrial carbon pollution from new power plants. These common sense carbon dioxide standards will decrease the industrial carbon pollution that contributes to climate change, which in turn will protect the health of our kids and families. A carbon pollution standard for new power plants is the first step; setting strong standards for existing plants must be the next part of the solution.

I’m glad to see the EPA stepping up in a big way to cut America’s carbon dioxide emissions.

Linda WoodsOakland
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