In announcing new emissions standards of U.S. power plants on Monday, many of the nation’s largest green groups are championing the Obama administration’s new EPA regulations as the strongest proposals ever put forth by a U.S. president in the fight to rein in greenhouse gases or mitigate against climate change.
Not to throw a wet blanket on the news, however, there’s a serious catch that more critical environmentalists and organizations are taking the time to point out. Despite welcoming the move as “step in the right direction,” these voices—taken collectively—are saying it’s important that people recognize this essential fact: Given the scale of the climate emergency and the level of aggressive action needed, the Obama plan is just simply not enough. Not by a long shot.
“This is like fighting a wildfire with a garden hose — we’re glad the president has finally turned the water on, but it’s just not enough to get the job done.” —Kevin Bundy, CBD
Groups like , the , , , and are among those rising to challenge the emerging mainstream narrative that the new standards are somehow the best that could be hoped for or achieved.
“This is like fighting a wildfire with a garden hose — we’re glad the president has finally turned the water on, but it’s just not enough to get the job done,” said Kevin Bundy of the ’s Climate Law Institute.
According to Gabe Wisniewski, climate and energy campaign director for Greenpeace USA, “The new rule shows that the Obama administration is serious about taking action on climate change, but the Administration could and should strengthen it considerably.”
Wisnieski pointed to his group’s recently published report—titled (pdf)—which shows that from a technical perspective, the US power sector could achieve almost twice the reductions proposed in the rule while also creating more and better jobs, greater energy independence, and a more democratic energy system.
Erich Pica, president of , called Obama’s new rules “the most significant step by any American president to combat climate disruption.” Though a clear step forward, he added, “this rule simply doesn’t go far enough to put us on the right path. The science on climate change has become clearer and more dire, requiring more aggressive action from the president.”
Bill McKibben, co-founder of 350.org, didn’t take on the shortcomings of the EPA rules directly, but made the blunt point that to adequately respond to the danger posed by global warming caused by industrial emissions, Monday’s announcement should only be viewed as a small portion of what’s needed overall from lawmakers in Washington, DC..
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