Efforts to reduce carbon pollution lessens impact of climate change on wild lands

Power plant in Arkansas

Flickr, Paul Nicholson

America's wild lands are already facing the impacts of climate change. A new rule could reduce emissions and these harmful effects.

Today the Environmental Protection Agency proposed a rule that aims to cut carbon dioxide emissions from existing coal plants by as much as 30 percent by 2030.

This rule could be important for our wild lands. From dwindling glaciers in Glacier National Park to rising seas in the Everglades to forests plagued by wildfires, the quality of our wild lands is threatened by climate change.

The leading culprit of these rapid ecosystem changes is carbon pollution – a greenhouse gas and major contributor to climate change. So last year, President Obama directed the EPA to use its authority to regulate carbon pollution to improve air quality and help address climate change. President Obama has also enacted reforms that increase gas mileage for cars and trucks.

The new rule would reduce carbon pollution from power plants, the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S. Curbing the amount of carbon emitted from power plants will help reduce our climate footprint and slow the impacts resulting from climate change.  

Top sources of carbon emissions in the U.S. Graphic courtesy of the EPA.

In order to move away from carbon-based fossil fuels, President Obama has also called for the development of more renewable energy. His Climate Action Plan mandated a doubling of renewable energy development on our federal lands. The Wilderness Society has been leading the way in making sure that this clean energy development happens responsibly and does not impact our most sensitive lands and natural resources. With a smart approach to developing renewable energy, we can help move towards a clean energy future.

Even lands that are protected from development are still exposed to the threats of global climate change. Initiatives that reduce carbon pollution help ensure that our wild lands will stay healthy and enjoyable today and for generations to come.