By Tammy Alexander
In 2014, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released proposals to reduce carbon emissions from refineries and existing power plants, known as the Clean Power Plan. The EPA also proposed tightened standards for ground-level ozone (smog) and clarifications to Clean Water Act protections for streams and wetlands. Most of these proposals will take effect in 2015.
Leading up to the annual United Nations climate conference, held in Lima, Peru, China committed to reduce carbon emissions for the first time and President Obama pledged $3 billion to the Green Climate Fund. At the conference in December, leaders agreed to a broad framework that will, once it is refined in the months leading up to the 2015 climate talks in Paris, commit all countries to cut carbon emissions.
In September, several dozen Mennonites joined an estimated 400,000 people who walked in the People’s Climate March in New York City, a march designed to pressure world leaders to take bold action in Lima. You can read about the experiences of several march participants in an article on the Third Way Café website, as well as two ‘personal reflections’ from marchers here on the Washington Memo blog. Our office also opposed a supplemental bill in the House which would have waived several environmental laws with 100 miles of the U.S.-Mexico border.
The new Congress is expected to debate various pieces of legislation designed to undermine the EPA proposals above, may block the appropriation of funds for the Green Climate Fund, and will likely propose additional border security measures undermining environmental laws.