Weather disasters kill or injure hundreds of Americans each year and cause billions of dollars in damage. The risks posed by some types of weather-related disasters will likely increase in a warming world. Scientists have already detected increases in extreme precipitation events and heat waves in the United States, and climate science tells us that global warming will likely lead to further changes in weather extremes.
Coal- and natural gas-fired power plants pollute our air, are major contributors to global warming, and consume vast amounts of water—harming our rivers and lakes and leaving less water for other uses. Wind energy has none of these problems. It produces no air pollution, makes no contribution to global warming, and uses no water.
America has more than doubled its use of wind power since the beginning of 2008 and we are starting to reap the environmental rewards. Wind energy now displaces about 68 million metric tons of global warming pollution each year—as much as is produced by 13 million cars. And wind energy now saves more than enough water nationwide to meet the needs of a city the size of Boston.
For decades, driving a car has meant consuming oil. Today, drivers finally have a choice. Thanks in part to smart policies adopted by states across the country and by the Obama administration, every major automobile manufacturer is offering a new plug-in vehicle powered primarily by electricity. Environment America’s new report, Charging Forward: The Emergence of Electric Vehicles and Their Role in Reducing Oil Consumption, has now found that in just three years, these vehicles could reduce our country’s global warming pollution by about 630,000 metric tons annually--or far more if we continue to work toward a clean energy future. It's time to plug in, power up, and protect our planet, because electric vehicles have arrived.
We can save money and help solve global warming by reducing the amount of energy we use, including in the buildings where we live and work every day. More than 40 percent of our energy — and 10 percent of all the energy used in the world — goes toward powering America’s buildings. But today’s high-efficiency homes and buildings prove that we have the technology and skills to drastically improve the efficiency of
our buildings while simultaneously improving their comfort and affordability.
America’s dependence on oil threatens our environment, our economy, and our national security. Whether it is the scars left by the oil spills in the Yellowstone and Kalamazoo rivers and the Gulf of Mexico, the $1 billion that American families and businesses send overseas every day for oil, or the nearly 2 billion metric tons of global warming pollution emitted annually which fuels more and more extreme weather, these problems demand that we break our dependence on oil.
Wisconsin Environment Research and Policy Center is part of The Public Interest Network, which operates and supports organizations committed to a shared vision of a better world and a strategic approach to social change.