This week marked six months since Superstorm Sandy, and it was also the end of our 100 Days of Action for Climate and Clean Energy, which we kicked off when President Obama began his second term. In those 100 days, more than one million Americans from across the country attended large-scale rallies and local events, signed petitions, sent letters to decision-makers and used social media to engage friends and neighbors in fighting climate disruption.
I’ll let Aura Vasquez, a fantastic Beyond Coal organizer in Los Angeles, tell you more in this great video about the 100 days of action.
Of course, while the great successes of the past 100 days are worthy of celebration, we know the work is far from over. In his blog, my colleague Michael Brune wrote that his parents were finally able to move back into their New Jersey home after it was heavily damaged by Sandy. It was a powerful and moving reminder of how serious the effects of climate disruption are- and that there are many, many others in New Jersey and New York who haven’t been able to move back home yet. How many more across the U.S. will lose their homes due to climate disruption?
Americans are putting the pieces together. We know the increasing severe weather in the U.S. and worldwide – from excessive droughts and floods, to record snowstorms and hurricanes – are signs that are climate is changing. The more than one million who took action know it’s time to transition away from dirty fuels that cause climate disruption and harm public health. We know solar power won’t befoul our water like oil pipelines will. We know wind power won’t cause air pollution and increase asthma attacks.
And we know clean energy creates jobs and brings with it an economic boost for local communities.
We are pleased with some moves by the Obama Administration to protect our air and water from the Obama administration in the first 100 days. For example, the Environmental Protection Agency recently released draft safeguards for the toxic wastewater coming from coal plants. Without federal standards to safeguard our water, those plants will keep on sending toxic sludge into rivers and streams, where it threatens swimmers and boaters and anglers, poisons wildlife, wrecks ecosystems, and could even contaminate drinking water.
It’s time to finalize those standards to protect our waterways and our health.
But that’s just one step. There is much, much more than President Obama can and must do to turn the corner on climate disruption, and he needs to start now. We’ve identified four more major steps President Obama must take.
All of the items on this list are important, and I’m keeping a close watch on #5 – we need carbon pollution standards for coal-fired power plant to protect our planet from the worsening effects of climate disruption. Americans want climate action from President Obama now.