Cut Carbon Emissions from America’s Biggest Polluters

Target: US President Barack Obama

Goal: Curb climate-warming carbon emissions from coal-fired power plants in the US.

Coal is the world’s dirtiest form of energy, adding more carbon to the air when burned than any other common fuel.  In the United States, burning coal for electricity is the single largest source of carbon emissions responsible for climate change.  Curbing carbon pollution from coal plants is the biggest step we can take to reduce climate change and minimize extreme weather.  With the effects of climate change growing ever more visible, President Barack Obama should direct the US Environmental Protection Agency to issue carbon regulations for existing coal plants.

Today, coal plants in the US operate without any federally mandated limits on carbon pollution.  This isn’t because better alternatives to coal don’t exist.  On the contrary, renewable energy is already price competitive with coal in large parts of the United States, even without factoring in the huge health costs associated with burning dirty fuel.

We also know the federal government has the power to reduce coal plant pollution.  According to a 2007 US Supreme Court ruling, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has authority to regulate carbon under the existing Clean Air Act.  Since 2009, the EPA has used this authority to limit carbon emissions from vehicles and to issue carbon standard for new power plants.  Now it’s time to take the biggest step of all: issuing carbon limits for existing power plants.

Now is a critical time to take action.  In his second inaugural address, President Obama pledged to combat climate change.  Meanwhile, EPA Director Lisa Jackson, who oversaw the drafting of carbon rules for vehicles and new coal plants, is stepping down and will be replaced by a new agency head.  By signing this petition, you can urge President Obama to direct his new EPA head to write strong new carbon regulations for existing coal plants.


Dear President Barack Obama,

Thank you for pledging in your second inaugural address to combat climate change on a national scale.  With extreme weather becoming more and more common, it’s time to take action against the biggest carbon polluters of all: existing coal-fired power plants.  We, the undersigned, urge you to direct the US Environmental Protection Agency to write and implement strong new carbon rules that will lead to a phaseout of dirty coal plants from our grid.

With cleaner energy alternatives like gas and renewables readily available, there is no reason to remain dependent on dirty, inefficient coal plants.  The EPA should write new rules that go fully into effect no later than 2018, and require that power plants emit no more carbon per unit of energy than a combined cycle natural gas plant.  To meet the new regulations, utilities will have to switch to cleaner energy sources, generating hundreds of construction jobs while reducing the threat of climate change.

As the EPA transitions to a new agency head for your second term, we urge you to instruct the agency to make carbon standards for existing power plants a priority.  By requiring that strong standards be implemented by 2018, we can ensure a dramatic reduction in carbon emissions over the next five years.  Please do the right thing for the climate and our clean energy economy, and make sure carbon rules for power plants are implemented as fast as possible.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: Emilian Robert Vicol via Flickr

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One Comment

  1. our planet needs to be protected at all cost so lets try to cut the carbon out of the air along with other pollutents to preseve our air space.

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