Target: Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy
Goal: Enact strict regulations for coal and natural gas power plants to reduce carbon emissions in the United States
Surprising new findings about Greenland’s massive ice sheet has revealed that it is melting faster than anticipated and indicates that climate change is accelerating the process. As a result, all past scientific models used to forecast global sea level rise are based on false data, and levels are expected to rise at a faster rate than previously anticipated. Carbon emissions contribute to climate change and are fueling the shedding of the ice sheet. Urge the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to take this into consideration as it finalizes what will be the centerpiece of President Obama’s climate change initiative, a new national standard for carbon emissions from new and existing coal and natural gas power plants.
In 2013 the EPA released guidelines for new power plants, and on June 1, the agency will release similar draft rules for already existing plants. The law will primarily affect the country’s approximately six hundred coal burning plants, and may result in the closure of many, depending on how the language of the law is written. States will be expected to create and execute their own plans for meeting the new national standard. There may be little environmental impact if the states receive too much flexibility. If carbon emissions continue to rise, we will experience rising sea levels, melting land ice, and an increase of intense hurricanes, droughts, and other extreme weather conditions.
Greenland contributes roughly 16 percent of global sea level rise each year. The new study finds that the massive northeastern part of the ice sheet, previously thought to be stable, has already started to shed ice. The region is sensitive to climate change and has the potential to contribute significantly to higher sea levels, now and in the future. Most of the models used to anticipate future sea level rise did not include this area, so the actual amount will be on the high end of projections. Estimates range from one to three feet by the end of the century, but climate scientists warn that if we stay on our current high-end emissions path, it could be higher.
Urge the EPA to take strong measures to reduce carbon emissions. If states receive too much flexibility, Republican governors that oppose Obama’s climate policy will refuse to adhere to the federal requirement. The coal industry is already fighting back, extensively lobbying the EPA. The Republican-controlled U.S. House of Representatives recently passed a bill to limit the ability of the EPA to set carbon emissions standards. Demand that the EPA make a serious effort to curb climate change by setting forth strict new requirements for power plants and holding the states accountable for creating and sustaining new emissions standards programs.
Dear Administrator McCarthy,
Thank you for your efforts to smooth the way for a new federal standard for carbon emissions. Setting strict limits for new and existing coal and natural gas power plants is crucial for reducing air pollution and slowing the rate of global warming. As you are well aware, the urgency of climate change requires swift, ambitious action. Scientific research has shown that increased carbon emissions will result in higher sea levels, an accelerated rate of land ice melt, and an increased number of intense hurricanes, droughts and floods. Such trends will have a devastating impact on the world’s population.
New findings about the Greenland ice sheet have taken the scientific community by surprise, and show that it is melting faster than anticipated. Accordingly, all previous sea level rise models are based on false data. The new results suggest that the region is sensitive to changes in climate and has the potential to contribute significantly now, and in the future, to global sea level rise. If we stay on our current high-end emissions path, sea levels are expected to rise up to three feet and possibly more.
The Environmental Protection Agency has a responsibility to take strong measures to reduce carbon emissions and stall the pace of climate change. I urge you to heed the warnings of climate scientists, and give them as much consideration as industry lobbyists and their allies in the government.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Peggydavis66 via Flickr