In the U.S., transportation is climate enemy number one. America’s transportation system produces more greenhouse gas emissions than any other sector of our economy and, on its own, is responsible for 4 percent of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions – more than the entire economies of France and the United Kingdom combined.
The environmental dangers posed by offshore oil spills, such as the 2010 Deepwater Horizon spill in the Gulf of Mexico, are well known. The damage to the environment, communities and public health from the onshore infrastructure needed to support offshore drilling is less well known, but no less real.
New governors are getting ready to take office in 20 states, from Florida to Alaska. As America’s newly elected governors prepare to take on their states’ biggest challenges, they should prioritize taking bold action on the greatest challenge of our time: climate change.
Over the last decade, clean energy has grown by leaps and bounds. Technologies that can help America shift away from fossil fuels — like solar panels, wind turbines, LED light bulbs, energy storage and electric cars — have gone from novelties to core features of the nation's energy landscape.
People across America regularly breathe unhealthy air that increases their risk of premature death, asthma attacks and other adverse health impacts.
In 2016, 73 million Americans experienced more than 100 days of degraded air quality with the potential to harm human health. That is equal to more than three months of the year in which smog and/or particulate pollution was above the level that the EPA has determined presents “little to no risk.” Millions more people in urban and rural areas experienced less frequent but still damaging levels of air pollution.
To safeguard public health, the nation needs to preserve and strengthen existing air quality protections at the federal and state level and move to reduce the future air pollution threats posed by global warming.
Environment Virginia Research and Policy Center is part of The Public Interest Network, which operates and supports organizations committed to a shared vision of a better world and a strategic approach to social change.