AZ Leaders Urge Strong Standards to Cut Climate Pollution from Power Plants
Wednesday, May 24, 2023
Arizona leaders gathered Tuesday in support of the Biden administration's proposed plans to cut climate pollution from fossil-fuel power plants to tackle the climate crisis and protect public health.
Earlier this month, the Environmental Protection Agency proposed new carbon pollution standards for coal and natural gas-fired power plants. According to the agency, the proposal could avoid up to 617 million metric tons of total carbon dioxide through 2042 and usher in an estimated $85 billion in climate and health benefits.
Mike Pasqualetti, professor of geography at Arizona State University, called the proposed EPA rule a step in the right direction to start addressing the climate crisis.
"If enacted, it'll do several things: It will cut emissions, it will speed the decommissioning of coal plants, it will slow the deployment of natural gas plants, and most important, it'll send a message to everyone that climate change is to be taken seriously," Pasqualetti outlined.
Critics of the proposed standards claim it will not make much of a difference, to which Pasqualetti countered it is part of a multifaceted solution. He added the United States, which he calls the biggest per capita emitter of greenhouse gases, needs to be a leader for other countries to follow suit.
Supporters of the proposed EPA rule said in Arizona, the climate crisis can be seen and felt through extreme heat, increasingly intense wildfires and unprecedented megadroughts which have become synonymous with the Southwest.
Rev. Susan Valiquette, pastor of First Church UCC in Phoenix, said "That environment degradation is intrinsically linked to social and economic disparities," disproportionately impacting low-income communities, Indigenous people and people of color.
"Regrettably, when we abuse, misuse and exploit our earth, we violate the covenant through which we were all created," Valiquette asserted. "Tragically, it is often the most vulnerable, marginalized and oppressed communities that suffer the greatest consequences."
Valiquette added "climate justice cannot be separated from social justice." She and advocates are calling on President Joe Biden and EPA Administrator Michael Regan "to go beyond the initial proposal" and ensure implementation of the most robust version of the measure is passed.
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