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Reduce Carbon Pollution -- Support a Strong EPA Rule

June 9, 2014

The EPA has proposed a rule to reduce carbon pollution from coal-fired and natural gas-fired power plants. This rule is our biggest opportunity in years to reduce greenhouse gases, tackle climate change, and take strides toward a clean, healthy energy future.

Please voice your support for a strong, health-protective rule by submitting your comment to the EPA today.

Comments can be brief and non-technical. Stress the health effects of climate change -- draw on fact sheets (see links below). Choose one or two points that affect you, your family, or your region. Put them into your own words.

  1. By reducing carbon pollution, the rule protects human health.
    Carbon dioxide pollution from power plants is the single leading source of climate change in the U.S. and climate change affects our health -- here, now, in our communities -- in many ways:
    • Increasing temperatures can cause heat waves that lead to heat stroke.
    • Disease-bearing insects are on the move, exposing new populations to diseases like West Nile virus, Lyme disease and malaria.
    • Extreme weather events cause storms, flooding and sea surges that lead to accidents and drowning, contaminate water, and spread waterborne diseases.
    • Wildfires cause burns, smoke and particulate inhalation. This aggravates asthma and obstructive pulmonary disease and increases cardiac deaths and stroke.
    • Food production is vulnerable to many climate change outcomes, including drought, floods, temperature extremes, insect invasions and even carbon dioxide levels. This increases the risk of famine, conflict and war.
  2. There are four options states are allowed to utilize to meet the carbon reduction targets. Strongly advocate for more reliance on the two best choices for reducing carbon pollution: energy efficiency and renewable energy.
    • Energy efficiency is the cheapest and the fastest way to reduce carbon pollution from power plants. What we don't have to burn, we don't have to pay for -- and it won't pollute.
    • Renewable energy sources don't require burning fossil fuels and thus are much cleaner. They rely on sources that we can't deplete: sunshine, wind, water power, and temperature differentials.
    • PSR opposes the use of nuclear power to replace fossil fuels. It is too dangerous and creates wastes with carcinogenic toxicity that lasts for thousands of years.
  3. The magnitude of the climate change threat requires bold national action.
    • As a health professional (or if you're not, as a PSR member), you are concerned about climate change.
    • You call on EPA to pass a strong, health-protective rule.
    • Thank EPA for taking this step -- the biggest, most promising climate proposal in years.

Tips and Suggestions

Make it personal:

  • Use your comments to add a human face to this national problem.
  • Express your personal concerns about how climate disruption is threatening the places you care about in your community and the health risks to you and your family/ friends from carbon pollution.
    • Have you been personally affected by the effects of climate disruption?
    • Is a place you love in your community threatened by climate disruption?
    • Do you live near a coal-fired power plant that emits a lot of pollution? Or in a city with bad air quality?
    • Do you or a loved-one suffer from asthma attacks?
    • Are you a public health professional who serves people suffering from pollution?

Comment suggestions:

  • can be any length
  • can be non-technical
  • should raise concern about clean air and air quality
  • should emphasize health benefits of a strong rule
  • assert need to protect public health and stop climate change
  • add human voice, discuss specific local/regional impacts
  • include impacts on children

Helpful Talking Points

Carbon Pollution from Power Plants:

  • Power plants account for 40 percent of the carbon pollution in the United States.
  • Right now we limit mercury, arsenic, lead, soot and other dangerous pollutants from power plants but not carbon pollution – the key driver of climate disruption. The Clean Power Plan will close that loophole and limit carbon pollution for the first time.
  • Carbon pollution exacerbates climate disruption, contributes to more frequent and more violent extreme weather that costs communities, the federal government, and our economy billions every year and threatens public health.
  • Nearly half of all Americans live in areas where the air is unsafe to breathe, making the Clean Power Plan a breath of fresh air for communities across the country

Health Benefits of the Clean Power Plan:

  • anticipated climate change with adverse health effects including vector-borne diseases (emphasis on malaria, dengue, and water-borne illnesses), agriculture (drought and temperature induced crop failures and subsequent effects on undernourishment especially in vulnerable populations), heat illnesses, severe weather events, etc.
  • The Clean Power Plan will prevent up to 150,000 asthma attacks and 6,600 premature deaths annually by 2030, while slashing the carbon pollution from power plants fueling climate change.
  • Cutting carbon pollution from power plants will protect public health and drive innovation in clean energy sources that will power the 21st century, growing our economy and creating jobs.

According to former EPA Administrator Christie Whitman, the U.S. GDP grew 195 percent while we put numerous environmental protections in place from 1970-2006.

  • The Clean Power Plan has public health and climate benefits estimated at $55 - $93 billion per year in 2030, far outweighing the costs of $7.3 - $8.8 billion..
  • From the soot and smog reductions alone, each dollar invested in the Clean Power Plan could net American families $7 in health benefits.
  • Coal pollution in the United States results in more than $100 billion annually in health costs and more 12,000 emergency room visits per year.

Flexibility for the States:

  • The Clean Power Plan is allowing states the flexibility they need to develop customized plans that will keep our energy affordable and reliable, while ensuring our children have clean air to breathe.
  • The Clean Power Plan recognizes that every state is different, and has varying challenges that will require solutions uniquely their own to succeed.

Strengthening the Standard:

  • The U.S. has already reduced carbon emissions from power plants by 12-15% since 2005.
  • The electric sector would need to reduce emissions 35-40% below 2005 levels by 2020 to achieve its share of the President's 17% economy-wide goal.
  • A goal of 35% below 2005 by 2020 (or 25% below 2012 levels by 2020) is achievable.
  • The framework that EPA developed can support much more stringent state goals.
  • EPA estimates for efficiency and renewable energy potential in the states appear low
  • As the world's leader in technology and research, the US has a special obligation to lead the way to a lower carbon emission future and to restrict emissions of other greenhouse gases (GHG), most notably methane, to control radiative forcing and climate change.

Write your comment and paste it into the EPA website today! Thank you.

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