It’s time for an all-out national mobilization to defeat the climate crisis.

President Biden and Congress must lead the charge to defeat the climate crisis and build a thriving, just and inclusive clean energy future. Join our work to help make it happen.

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It’s time for an all-out national mobilization to defeat the climate crisis.

President Biden and Congress must lead the charge to defeat the climate crisis and build a thriving, just and inclusive clean energy future. Join our work to help make it happen.

Why Biden’s Clean Electricity Standard Is a Powerful Tool to Fix the Pollution Problem | Evergreen Explains

President Biden’s 100% clean electricity plan is the best way to eliminate pollution from our power sector and save hundreds of thousands of lives and trillions in health and environmental costs.

Fossil fuel pollution is killing Americans. Right now, power plants across the country are spewing air pollution that poisons millions of people, especially those in our most vulnerable communities—but we can act now to stop it. President Joe Biden’s 100% by 2035 Clean Electricity Standard (CES) is a climate policy that’s not only good for job creation and our pocketbooks, it’s also good for our health. 

According to one study, in 2018 fossil fuel air pollution was responsible for more than 1 out of every 10 deaths in the United States, and that was before COVID-19. Now in the midst of a respiratory pandemic, up to 15% of COVID deaths are linked to fossil fuel air pollution. These disproportionate death rates are highly concentrated in communities of color and low-income families. Black communities in particular are hit the worst. 

Reducing air pollution from power plants is a crucial matter of public health — when we clean up our power grid, we’ll ensure cleaner air for communities across the country. 

Congress can prevent needless deaths and boost public health by acting now. President Biden’s 100% clean electricity plan is the best way to eliminate pollution from our power sector and save hundreds of thousands of lives and trillions in health and environmental costs. Congress must pass President Biden’s American Jobs Plan containing a 100% Clean Electricity Standard.

The Deadly, Inequitable Cost of Fossil Fuel Pollution 

Air Pollution Causes Death and Disease at a Staggering Scale. Air pollution across the country causes asthma, emphysema, strokes, and worse. The microscopic motes of particulate matter (known as PM2.5) are especially dangerous — they’re a threat to the heart, lungs, and brain, and a recent study found that PM2.5 pollution is responsible for 85,000 to 200,000 premature deaths in the US each year. Fossil fuel-fired power plants are a major source of those PM2.5 emissions.

Black and Low-Income Communities Disproportionately Suffer the Impacts of Air Pollution. Air pollution’s health impacts are unevenly distributed in America. People of color have a higher-than-average chance of exposure to dangerous PM2.5 pollution, while white Americans have lower-than-average exposure. Those disparities have consequences: adjusting for income, mortality rates from PM2.5 are higher for black communities. Black children are twice as likely to develop asthma as white children. Air pollution is a grave environmental justice concern.

Power Plants Emit Much of the Most Dangerous Air Particulate Pollution. Fossil fuel-fired power plants generate huge volumes of PM2.5 and its precursors, including NOx and SO2. PM2.5 emissions from those plants are responsible for 5.3 deaths per 100,000 people each year in the US. Black Americans’ exposure to power plant PM2.5 pollution is 21% above the national average and, as a consequence, they suffer a higher mortality rate of 6.6 premature deaths per 100,000 people.

How a Federal CES Will Save Lives 

A Federal Clean Energy Standard Would Dramatically Reduce Hazardous Air Pollution by Replacing Fossil Fuels with Clean Energy Sources. In A Roadmap to 100% Clean Electricity by 2035, Evergreen and Data for Progress laid out pathways to 80% clean electricity by 2030 and a complete transition away from polluting power plants by 2035. An ambitious CES would also “unlock economy-wide decarbonization” by paving the way for clean electrification of cars, household appliances, and more. The significant air pollution from these sources mean a bold CES would bring meaningful knock-on health benefits.

Models Have Shown that a Federal CES Would Prevent Hundreds of Thousands of Premature Deaths. CES modeling has identified a wide range of health benefits from fully decarbonizing the power sector. Nationwide, making good on Evergreen’s recommended 80% CES by 2030 would “nearly eliminate” dangerous pollution from the US power sector, reducing emissions of PM2.5 precursors NOx and SO2 by 90 percent and 98 percent, respectively, relative to 2019 levels, according to Energy Innovation. Those reductions would avoid nearly 100,000 premature deaths by 2050, and if implemented alongside transportation electrification the CES would further avoid a total 240,000 premature deaths in the same period. These dramatically lower health burdens would also bring meaningful economic benefits — nationwide, the 80%-by-2030 CES would avoid $1.7 trillion in health and environmental costs.

Every American deserves to breathe clean air, and the American Jobs Plan will help us get there by putting us on the path to 100% clean electricity. Congress must pass a CES, as well as additional investments ensuring targeted pollution reductions and economic investments in environmental justice communities. And the Biden administration must aggressively deploy air pollution enforcement under the Clean Air Act.

Want to Learn More about a Clean Electricity Standard?

We already have the technology, we have overwhelming public support, and we have the legislative pathway to get it done. There’s no excuse to poison millions of Americans with unnecessary toxic pollution—Congress must act now to pass a federal CES.

We’ve laid out a specific roadmap for the Biden administration and Congress to pass a Clean Electricity Standard with major investments and justice-centered policies to achieve 100% carbon-free power by 2035. 

Download the report