Chicago – As international leaders prepare for the United Nations Climate Summit next week in New York, a new study shows Illinois’ coal-fired power plants dump as much carbon pollution into the atmosphere as the entire country of Israel.
“When power plants here in Illinois create as much pollution as an entire country, we know the climate’s in trouble,” said Megan Severson, Global Warming Organizing Director for Environment Illinois. “It’s time to stop ignoring the nation’s largest global-warming polluter, and start investing in clean energy.”
The Environment Illinois Research & Education Center report, America’s Dirtiest Power Plants, comes as more than a hundred thousand activists and world leaders converge in New York City seeking solutions to climate change, which scientists have clearly linked to extreme weather events such as intense flooding.
The report also comes as the Environmental Protection Agency takes public comments on proposed, first-ever limits on carbon pollution from power plants. If enacted, the limits would be the largest step the United States or any country has ever taken to cut global warming emissions.
By comparing carbon emissions from U.S. power plants in 2012 to total carbon emissions of entire countries, the Environment Illinois analysis shows why limiting pollution from coal plants would make such a big impact. Key findings include:
- If the United States’ fleet of coal- and gas-burning power plants were a country, it would be the 3rd-largest carbon polluter, behind the entire US and China.
- Baldwin Energy Complex, in Baldwin, is Illinois’ largest global warming polluter, followed by Powerton Power Plant in Pekin and Joppa Steam Plant in Joppa.
- Illinois ranks 7th for carbon pollution from power plants.
- Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed Clean Power Plan would reduce as much carbon pollution in 2030 as the entire country of Canada, the world’s 8th-largest polluter, emits today.
The Clean Power Plan would also spur investments in clean energy like wind and solar power, for which there is vast potential across the country and in Illinois.
Americans have submitted more than 6 million comments to EPA supporting limits on carbon pollution from power plants; and more than a thousand people testified in support of the Clean Power Plan at hearings held across the country this summer. Local elected officials, small businesses owners and dozens of members of Congress have all voiced support for limits on carbon pollution.
“The Clean Power Plan has given Illinois a huge opportunity to cut dangerous carbon pollution and take charge of our energy future,” said Severson. “We applaud Senator Durbin for his leadership in tackling global warming, and urge all of our leaders, especially Senator Kirk, to back EPA’s plan and work to make Illinois a leader in clean energy, not pollution.”