America’s dependence on gasoline as a transportation fuel worsens global warming and threatens public health. Increasing the use of electric vehicles – especially those powered by clean, renewable sources of electricity – can protect the climate and help America get off oil.
More than 220,000 electric vehicles are already on the road in the United States, producing far less global warming pollution per mile than their internal combustion-engine counterparts. By 2025, widespread use of electric vehicles, coupled with a cleaner electricity grid, could reduce global warming pollution by 18.2 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent per year, compared to conventional vehicles. That is equal to saving more than 2 billion gallons of gasoline per year or the annual emissions from 3.8 million of today’s cars and trucks.
Chemical manufacturers, meat-processing plants, coal plants and other industrial facilities dumped more than 8.8 million pounds of toxic chemicals into North Carolina’s rivers and streams in 2012, the ninth most in the country, according to a new report by Environment North Carolina Research & Policy Center.
Raleigh and Charlotte are among dozens of communities leading the nation’s surge in solar power according to a new report, “Shining Cities: At the Forefront of America’s Solar Energy Revolution,” a first-of-its-kind comparative look at the growth of solar power in major American cities.
American leadership in the fight against global warming is crucial. America is the world’s largest economy, the second-largest emitter of global warming pollution, and the nation responsible for more of the human-caused carbon dioxide pollution in the atmosphere than any other. Without prompt action by the United States and others to reduce global warming pollution, catastrophic impacts – from coastal flooding to food system disruptions – could become unavoidable.
Fortunately, even in the absence of a comprehensive response from the U.S. Congress, local and state governments and the Obama administration have taken leadership on global warming.
With more than 250 sunny days per year, North Carolina has the potential to replace much of its electricity from dirty fossil fuels with clean solar power. North Carolina has been a national solar leader, ranking fifth in the country for cumulative installed solar energy capacity as of September 2013. However, one of the biggest, largely untapped potential markets for solar power is large commercial buildings, such as “big box” retail stores, supercenters and shopping malls. Tapping into this solar resource to boost North Carolina’s solar capacity can have substantial benefits for the state’s environment, public health and economy.