Much has been said and written in the two weeks since 190-plus countries came together in Paris to adopt the most ambitious climate change agreement in history. Even more must be done to implement a long-term global framework to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions.
What better way to start this new year than to listen to what President Obama said in Paris about achieving our climate objectives while creating new jobs, raising standards of living and lifting millions out of poverty:
More than 50 residents of Waukegan and nearby Lake County communities had good reason to smile on Monday, August 10: We were gathered on the Waukegan lakefront—in the shadow of NRG’s coal-fired power plant—to celebrate the recent release of President Obama’s Clean Power Plan, featuring the first national carbon pollution protections.
And then, of course, we had cake.
Now it’s up to the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA) to craft a statewide plan to comply with the federal plan.
The Waukegan celebration was one of five events co-sponsored during the week by the Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal Campaign. Related events included a celebration and petition delivery in Alton, and press conferences in Springfield and Chicago.
Clean Power Lake County launched in 2013 with the goal of getting Waukegan to transition from dirty coal to clean energy. Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Obama Administration bring us closer to that goal with the release of the final version of the landmark Clean Power Plan.
Carbon pollution is the main contributor to climate disruption.
Carbon pollution also poses significant risks close to home. Because many power plants are located in disadvantaged communities, dangerous carbon pollution has a disproportionately negative effect on low-income people and people of color, including higher rates of heart attacks, asthma, and premature death.
Here’s some context: Last year, the Respiratory Health Association found that one in three children here in Waukegan had been diagnosed with asthma or showed symptoms of asthma.
Until today, there were no limits on the amount of carbon pollution that power plants could dump into the air to wreak havoc on our health and our climate.
By finalizing the centerpiece of his Climate Action Plan, the first regulations to reduce dangerous carbon emissions from existing power plants, President Obama is making history.
By cleaning up dirty power plants, the No. 1 source of life-threatening carbon pollution, these protections will ensure that our kids, our workforce and our communities are healthier. These protections also will create much-needed jobs as we ﬁght climate disruption.
Clean Power Lake County will commemorate this historic moment–and talk about what it means for our community–on Monday, August 10, at 10 a.m. at the Stiner Pavilion on Waukegan’s lakefront. Please join us for this celebration!