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Report: Virginia leadership critical foundation for an international agreement on climate

Arlington, VA - Virginia is gearing up to play a major role in U.S. progress to address climate change, a new report said today. In the next decade, the state will cut as much global warming pollution as 22 billion tons of coal burned annually.

The Environment Virginia Research & Policy Center report comes as pressure mounts on the U.S. to play a leading role in negotiations for an international climate agreement in Paris.

"The best way to lead is by example," said Nicole Guilfoyle, Global Warming Solutions Organizer with Environment Virginia. "With Virginia's help, that's exactly what the US is poised to do."

The analysis, Path to the Paris Climate Conference, documents expected carbon pollution reductions from existing state-level and federal policies by 2025, including renewable energy standards, fuel efficiency standards for cars and trucks, and regional and state-based carbon caps. Solar can power Virginia 18 times over, and that resource will be expanded under the Governor's state energy plan.

The report shows that state and federal policies underway across the country can reduce carbon pollution 27 percent below 2005 levels.

“A Dangerous Inheritance” Demonstrates Urgency of Clean Power Plan, Cutting CO2 Emissions Fast

By Sarah Bucci

Young adults in Virginia are experiencing hotter temperatures and more intense storms than their predecessors did in the 1970's, according to a new report by Environment Virginia Research & Policy Center.

This report comes out as NASA scientists announced, just this month, that this year's Arctic sea ice cap was the smallest it has ever been in recorded history and that the first two months of 2015 were the warmest such period ever. This new report, Dangerous Inheritance, examines climate changes at the local level, through the eyes of five different generations of Virginians.

Millennials in Virginia, like me, came of age in a climate 1.2 degrees hotter than did their Baby Boomer parents in the 1970's. That means for young adults living in the commonwealth, hotter temperatures more extreme weather events and rising seas have become more frequent and common. Researchers found similar increases in temperatures and extreme weather across the country. In every state, young adults today are experiencing warmer average temperatures than young adults in the Baby Boomer generation. The biggest rain and snowstorms produce 10 percent more rainfall in 2011 than they did in 1948.

These impacts are real and only getting worse. Joining Environment Virginia in releasing this report today, two Hampton Roads residence spoke to their personal experiences. John Deuel, an independent contractor and long-time Norfolk resident spoke about the combination of rising seas and more precipitation leading to flooding in his neighborhood. And Alden Cleanthes, a Chesapeake resident with a 3-year old son and a "Supermom" with non-profit Moms Clean Air Force spoke about the need to protect public health.

Nobody wants to leave the next generation to inherit an even more dangerous climate, so we must take action. We can start by finalizing and implementing the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Clean Power Plan, which would cut carbon pollution at least 36 percent in Virginia and 30 percent nationwide by the end of the next decade.

To ensure that the Clean Power Plan is approved and put into place, we need to Senators Kaine and Warner to stand up for the plan in Washington, D.C. Thankfully, they did just that last week when they voted against Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's attacks on the Clean Power Plan in the U.S. Senate. We applaud them for this action. And, here in Virginia, we need Governor Terry McAuliffe to stand behind the plan and maximize its potential to unleash clean energy jobs in the commonwealth.

Sarah Bucci is the campaign director with Environment Virginia, a state-wide, citizen-funded advocacy organization working for a cleaner, greener, healthier Virginia. She can be contacted at sbucci@environmentvirginia.org. For more information visit Environment Virginia.

Virginia’s Power Plants Major Global Warming Polluters

As international leaders prepare for the United Nations Climate Summit next week in New York, a new study shows Virginia’s coal-fired power plants dump as much carbon pollution into the atmosphere as the entire nation of Croatia.

The Environment Virginia Research & Policy Center report, America’s Dirtiest Power Plants, comes as more than a hundred thousand activists, including over 700 Virginians, and world leaders converge in New York City seeking solutions to climate change, which scientists have clearly linked to extreme weather events and the rising seas seen in the Hampton Roads region.  

“When power plants here in Virginia create as much pollution as an entire country, we know the climate’s in trouble,” said Sarah Bucci, Campaign Director for Environment Virginia. “It’s time to stop ignoring the nation’s largest global-warming polluter, and start investing in clean energy."

By comparing carbon emissions from U.S. power plants in 2012 to total carbon emissions of entire countries, the Environment Virginia analysis shows why limiting pollution from coal plants would make such a big impact. Key findings include:

New Report: Electric Cars Are Putting the Brakes on Pollution

More than 220,000 electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles are on America’s roads today, including over 3,000 in Virginia (a 1,000% increase since early 2012), delivering real benefits for our health and our environment, according to a new report released today by Environment Virginia. In just the last two years, annual sales of electric vehicles have increased by 500 percent. Now, with strong implementation of President Obama’s Clean Power Plan and the development of more renewable energy, electric vehicles are set to deliver even greater benefits for the environment.  

“It’s time to charge ahead,” said Sarah Bucci, Environment Virginia’s campaign director. “It’s not just because electric cars are speedy, quiet and cool-looking – they are also one of the most important tools we have to break our dependence on oil, clean up our air, improve our health and protect our climate.”  

The report, “Driving Cleaner: More Electric Vehicles Mean Less Pollution,” shows that electric vehicles could prevent more than 320,000 metric tons of climate-changing carbon pollution annually in Virginia by 2025. That’s the equivalent of saving more than 15 million gallons of gasoline per year, or eliminating tailpipe pollution from 67,000 of today’s cars and trucks.

“This report provides an exciting read for Virginians embracing electricity as a cleaner domestic choice for their vehicle fuel,” said Alleyn Harned, Executive Director of Virginia Clean Cities and EV owner.  “With hundreds of public charging locations in the state, the ease of home charging, and options available from a range of vehicle manufactures, electric cars are an exciting clean fuel vehicle." 

National Climate Assessment Shows Urgent Need for Action

On May 6, a national committee of experts in agriculture, climate science, commerce and disaster relief published the third National Climate Assessment (NCA). A coalition of Virginia environmental, public health and faith-based organizations responded to the findings. 

Sierra Club, Virginia Chapter * Virginia Conservation Network * Environment Virginia * Virginia Interfaith Power & Light * Chesapeake Climate Action Network * Moms Clean Air Force

National Climate Assessment Shows Urgent Need for Action
Coastal Infrastructure Is Vulnerable To Sea Level Rise, Storm Surges

Richmond, VA – Today, the U.S. Global Change Research Program, a national committee of experts in agriculture, climate science, commerce and disaster relief, published the third National Climate Assessment (NCA). The report is the nation’s foremost comprehensive, peer-reviewed analysis of the impacts of climate change, showing clearly the effects in Virginia and across the country. The report found that nationally, average U.S. temperature has increased 1.5 degrees since 1895. 

The report shows the significant toll on our health and wallets that extreme weather is already exacting in Virginia. It also makes clear that these impacts will only grow worse if we fail to curb carbon pollution, the main culprit behind climate change. 

The report predicts that, in Virginia, climate change threatens public health, safety and the economy from increased extreme weather events, decreased air quality that worsens asthma, the spread of vector-born diseases like Lyme Disease, and from coastal infrastructure that is vulnerable to sea level rise and storm surge. A coalition of environmental, public health and faith-based organizations in Virginia responded to the findings:  

New video featuring Virginia Congressmen to encourage action on global warming

Environment Virginia launched a new online video campaign featuring  interviews with Congressmen Gerry Connolly and Jim Moran to encourage  Virginians concerned about global warming to tell the U.S. Environmental  Protection Agency (EPA) to act on climate.

Washington, DC –Environment Virginia launched a new online video campaign  to encourage Virginians concerned about global warming to tell the U.S.  Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to act on climate. The video  features exclusive interviews with U.S. Congressmen Gerry Connolly  (VA-11) and Jim Moran (VA-8), who say they’re prioritizing tackling  climate change and Virginia would benefit from implementing climate  solutions, like cutting carbon pollution and investing in clean energy.

The video comes in the midst of the EPA’s public comment period for  the proposed standard to limit the carbon pollution fueling global  warming from new power plants. Congressmen Gerry Connolly and Jim Moran  explain why they support the EPA’s proposed new rule and ask citizens to  make a supportive comment before the public comment period closes on  March10.

“If we want a safer climate and future for our kids, we can’t keep  letting dirty power plants pollute,” said Madison Poche of Environment  Virginia. “This video is a call for thousands of Virginians to come  together and say: No new dirty power plants.”

Environment Virginia response to President Obama’s State of the Union

For Immediate Release: January 28, 2014

President Obama Vows to Protect Future Generations from Climate Change

Richmond, VA - In response to President Obama's State of the Union address, Sarah Bucci, Campaign Director of Environment Virginia, delivered the following statement:

"Severe storms and sea-level rise are just two examples of the steep price Virginians and the planet are already paying for global warming.

"We applaud the president's commitment to cutting carbon pollution from power plants - the largest sources - as well as his leadership in cutting carbon pollution from cars and doubling the production of wind and solar power.  

"It is clear from his speech and his actions that President Obama has no intention of looking his children or perhaps someday his grandchildren in the eyes and telling them he failed to act when faced with the greatest environmental challenge of our time.  

"In addition, the President's pledge to protect more of the nation's pristine lands is both appreciated today and will certainly be a boon to all our families' future.

"Unfortunately the President's and the nation's continued embrace of oil and gas ensure that we will continue to create the pollution that fuels global warming threatening our health and our environment.

"Beyond the climate impacts, dangerous oil and gas drilling known as 'fracking' has contaminated drinking water, made nearby families sick with air pollution, turned forest acres into industrial zones, and has no place in a clean energy future for America.

"This country needs, and our families deserve, a truly clean energy future.  We look forward to working with the President to enact his climate action plan and to get the nation on track for a 100 percent renewable energy future."

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Environment Virginia Statement on Governor McAuliffe’s Inauguration

We are counting on Governor McAuliffe to lead on tackling climate change by addressing the issue in his public statements and policy decisions and taking bold steps to reduce Virginia’s carbon emissions through clean energy solutions like wind, solar and energy efficiency and continuing to support action by the U.S. Environmental Protections Agency to limit carbon pollution from power plants.

We must protect special places like the George Washington National Forest, a favorite for Virginians to hike, camp and fish, from the risk of dangerous gas drilling. We urge Governor McAuliffe to continue his commitment to oppose fracking in the GW.

Virginia Small Business Owners Call for Climate Action

Speakers at Crossroads Coffee

At an afternoon event at Crossroads Coffee in Richmond, local business owners joined together to release a new letter urging Congress to support policies that limit carbon pollution and support energy efficiency. 

Virginia Small Business Owners Call for Climate Action

Event at Local Coffee Shop Highlights Climate Change Impacts on Cup o’ Joe 

Richmond, VA 

At an afternoon event at Crossroads Coffee in Richmond, local business owners joined together to release a new letter urging Congress to support policies that limit carbon pollution and support energy efficiency.

At Crossroads Coffee and Ice Cream, the impacts of climate change could hit close to home for customers who enjoy an early morning roast. Climate change impacts coffee growers in virtually every major coffee producing region in the world.

As noted by the Union of Concerned Scientists, “higher temperatures, long droughts punctuated by intense rainfall, more resilient pests and plant diseases—all of which are associated with climate change—have reduced coffee supplies dramatically in recent years.”

For example, Coffea arabica, originating in major coffee producing nation of Ethiopia, is at risk. Wild Coffea arabica, known commonly as Arabica coffee, could be extinct within 70 

Dominion’s Chesterfield Power Station is Virginia’s Biggest Global Warming Polluter

Richmond, Va - As destructive extreme weather events, such as Hurricane Sandy, threaten Virginia, a new report from Environment Virginia Research & Policy Center finds that the Chesterfield Power Station just miles south of Richmond is the commonwealth's biggest carbon polluter. Dominion Virginia Power runs the three biggest carbon-polluting power plants in the commonwealth, producing as much global warming pollution as over 2 million cars each year.  
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