The human-caused warming of our climate is the greatest environmental challenge facing our civilization. Studies suggest that global temperatures could rise by more than six degrees Celsius by the end of the century, which would have unprecedented and devastating effects—drought, more powerful storms, melting glaciers, sea level rise that threatens our coastal cities, increased flooding, mass species extinctions, and ocean acidification, to name just a few.
It is critical that we begin reducing our emissions of carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping gases responsible for global warming, which means modernizing the way we produce and consume energy. Today, much of our energy comes from fossil fuels—coal for electricity and oil to power our vehicles. But burning those dirty energy sources means emitting air pollution that endangers our health, traps heat in our atmosphere, and contributes to global warming and all its costly and dangerous impacts. We can reduce this pollution by using less energy, using the energy we do use more efficiently, and gradually replacing dirty sources of energy with clean sources of energy like wind and solar power. This transition to clean energy will create millions of American jobs while strengthening our national security as we reduce our dependence on oil—all while fighting global warming.
Passing a comprehensive bill to reduce global warming pollution that will bring about a clean energy economy is essential to tackling the climate crisis. To that end, LCV worked hard to ensure passage of the American Clean Energy and Security Act (H.R. 2454) in the House of Representatives in June 2009. This landmark legislation, while not perfect, would have helped rebuild our manufacturing base by creating millions of clean energy jobs, boosted our national security by lessening our dependence on oil, and protected the planet. Regrettably, defenders of the dirty energy status quo, including the nation’s biggest oil and coal companies and their Senate allies, succeeded in preventing even a vote on similar legislation in the Senate last Congress. Unfortunately, the 2010 elections swept a number of climate change deniers into office, but given the gravity of the challenge, our fight continues to pass comprehensive clean energy and global warming legislation.
LCV is working with the Obama administration to fulfill the Clean Air Act’s mandate to protect public health from dangerous air pollution, including carbon pollution – a responsibility that has been affirmed by the U.S. Supreme Court. One our nation’s most successful public health and environmental laws, the Clean Air Act has saved millions of lives, spurred innovation, and garnered overwhelming bipartisan support when it was originally passed and subsequently amended in 1990. For more information, please see our page dedicated to the Clean Air Act.
In addition, LCV remains engaged in international negotiations to establish a global climate treaty as a successor agreement to the Kyoto Protocol. Global warming is truly a global problem that requires cooperation among nations so that global warming pollution is reduced worldwide. While the Copenhagen Accord, reached in December 2009 at the historic gathering of world leaders, marks an important step forward, it is incomplete and leaves much work to be done to solve this global challenge. LCV is strongly committed to working with Congress and the Obama administration to ensure that the United States fulfills the pollution reduction commitments the United States made in the Copenhagen Accord.