The world is at a turning point in the fight against climate change, and 2016 is an absolutely critical year for action.
Thanks to years of hard work and commitment by advocates, citizens, and leaders, 2015 saw a tremendous shift in the battle for action on climate change. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) finalized the landmark Clean Power Plan to set the first-ever national limits on how much carbon pollution power plants can spew into the air. President Obama rejected the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline, and a number of states enacted bold policies to boost renewable energy and limit dirty fuels. All this positioned the United States as a credible global leader on climate change and paved the way for a historic international climate agreement in Paris in December. For the first time, all countries have committed to limit emissions, wean the world economy off fossil fuels, and preserve a livable planet for future generations.
The Paris agreement sets the world on a path to a clean energy future, but we cannot lose momentum. Every day brings more extreme weather events and more urgent warnings from scientists that we are running out of time to avoid the most catastrophic impacts of climate change. 2015 was the hottest year on record, and leaders from around the world are speaking out on the need to act. In contrast, the current leadership in Congress remains cynically bent on protecting dirty energy and blocking progress.
Fortunately, the public, the private sector, and many elected leaders are moving ahead. Polls show that two-thirds of Americans favor strong action on climate change. States are getting more energy from renewable sources, with wind and solar power accounting for nearly half of all new U.S. energy generation in 2014. The cost of solar power has dropped 50 percent in four years. Climate champions in Congress, governors, and state legislators are speaking out forcefully on the need for action, with growing bipartisan support for the Clean Power Plan. President Obama continues to lean into this issue and to make climate action a defining achievement of his legacy.
The decisions we as a country make now will shape our path on climate change for years to come.
LCV, with our state affiliates, has been at the forefront of the climate fight for years and has been an important force behind recent progress. We must keep the United States moving forward on climate change. We are seizing key opportunities to advance and defend strong policies while holding elected leaders publicly accountable for their votes and positions.
At the same time, we are continuing our multi-year effort to build a more powerful environmental movement for the long-term. We are expanding our groundbreaking and successful Chispa program to deepen engagement of Latinos on clean energy issues, increase grassroots activism in the states, and grow our membership base. And we are continuing to work with our state LCV partners to advance environmental priorities and beat back attacks in state capitols.
Opportunities for state leadership will be especially important right now, as governors are tasked with implementing the Clean Power Plan. This phase is critical, and state fights offer opportunities to get people involved on local issues that have a global impact. LCV’s strong presence in more than 25 states allows us to mobilize communities and win policy victories in states like Colorado, Michigan, Montana, and Virginia that can drive the plan’s national success.
Please stand with LCV as we seize opportunities and pursue our shared goals. We have come so far, but even more hangs in the balance this year. Together, we will keep the United States moving forward on climate change and protect the one planet we call home.