Defending Clean Power And Clean Cars

At The Public Interest Network, we’re working for a world in which we power our lives with energy from the wind and the sun, our cars don’t emit an ounce of pollution that could trigger an asthma attack, and our children inherit a healthier, more livable planet.

CC0 | Public Domain

That world won’t be easy to reach. In order to get there, we must transform the way we produce and consume energy. In fact, science tells us we need to stop burning virtually all fossil fuels by 2050 if we’re to avoid the worst effects of climate change.

We know the culprits: Power plant pollution and emissions from cars and trucks are America’s top two contributors to climate change.

We’ve supported sensible solutions that move our country in the right direction. In 2015, for example, President Obama’s Clean Power Plan set the first-ever limits on carbon pollution from power plants, slashing power plant pollution by 30 percent over the next decade and paving the way to replace the dirtiest coal plants with wind, solar and energy efficiency.

It was a big victory, and one that Environment America worked hard to win. We co-led a diverse coalition, helping to organize over 8 million comments to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in favor of the plan.

Environment America and our partners at PIRG and Frontier Group also have a long track record of working to cut pollution from cars and trucks.

Through the 1990s and 2000s, we were instrumental in getting 14 states to adopt clean car standards. In 2011, President Obama announced federal clean car standards that would require new cars to average 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025, after thousands of our members emailed the White House and attended EPA hearings in support.

These new standards are important steps in the transition to zero-carbon transportation, and promise to reduce climate-changing emissions by 6 billion metric tons of carbon pollution.

The Clean Power Plan and the clean car standards are two of the strongest steps we’ve ever taken to combat climate change. They should be applauded and expanded upon.

Instead, the current administration and some members of Congress are pushing to weaken and dismantle these commonsense climate protections.

In March, President Trump directed the EPA to review fuel efficiency standards. It was a victory for automakers, who claimed the standards were too hard to meet. The president has also vowed to scrap the Clean Power Plan, and he’s expected to release more executive orders to that effect in the near future.

But the president can’t simply undo our best climate protections with a stroke of his pen. In order to reverse these rules, they will have to draft and release new regulations. They’ll have to provide careful legal and scientific justification — which will prove hard to come by — and hold a new public comment period, where we’ll work to make the public’s voices heard.

We can keep moving toward a brighter future — but only if we can embrace practices and policies that accelerate the transition to a renewable energy economy.

Visit to learn more, take action and share our campaigns with your friends and family.