More than 100 companies and investors sent a letter of support to the Obama administration for this week’s release of a new EPA standard to limit carbon pollution from existing power plants. A total of 128 companies and 49 investors, managing $800 billion in assets, signed the letters. Ceres coordinated the letter, which was signed by well known companies including the Adidas Group, Ben & Jerry’s, Levi Strauss & Co., Mars, Nike, Starbucks and Unilever.
“As businesses concerned about the immediate and long-term implications of climate change, we, the undersigned strongly support the principles behind the draft Carbon Pollution Standard for existing power plants released today,” the letter stated. “The Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) proposed Carbon Pollution Standard for existing power plants represents a critical step in moving our country towards a clean energy economy.”
The companies that signed the letter also signed Ceres’ Climate Declaration. The Declaration declared that tackling climate change is one of the 21st century’s greatest economic opportunities, which will require “a coordinated effort to combat climate change—with America taking the lead here at home.”
The new standard, the Clean Power Plan Proposal, reduces carbon pollution from existing power plants. Power plants are responsible for one-third of all U.S. greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, and currently there are no national limits on carbon pollution. The Clean Power Proposal would, by 2030, reduce carbon emissions from the power sector by 30 percent below 2005 levels, equal to the emissions from powering more than half of all American homes for one year. They would also reduce particle pollution, nitrogen oxides and sulfur dioxide by over 25 percent.
The comment period for the proposal lasts for 120 days after publication in the Federal Register. The EPA will hold four public hearings on the proposal in July in four cities (Denver, Atlanta, Washington, D.C. and Pittsburgh). The standards will be finalized next June.
“This powerful statement of support from more than 170 companies and investors is clear evidence that the EPA rule is both urgently needed and will help, not hinder, the U.S. economy,” said Mindy Lubber, president of Ceres, in a statement. “Data shows that the electric power industry is already on a path toward a low carbon future, and this standard will accelerate this shift at the pace required by science.”
GHG and mercury emissions by power plants are already on a downward trend. A recently released Ceres report on the top 100 electric power producers in the U.S. found that nitrogen oxide, sulfur dioxide, mercury and carbon dioxide emissions have decreased since 2000. Carbon emissions decreased 13 percent between 2008 and 2012. Nitrous oxide and sulfur dioxide emissions in 2012 were 74 and 79 percent lower than in 1990 when Congress passed major amendments to the Clean Air Act. Mercury emissions have also decreased by 51 percent since 2000.
Image credit: Wigwam Jones