Over the past decade, the oil and gas industry has fused two technologies—hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling—in a highly polluting effort to unlock oil and gas in underground rock formations across the United States. This report seeks to quantify some of the key impacts of fracking to date—including the production of toxic wastewater, water use, chemicals use, air pollution, land damage and global warming emissions.
Solar energy is on the rise. America’s solar energy revolution has been led by 12 states, including New Jersey, that have used public policies to open the door for solar energy and are reaping the rewards as a result.
America has more than three times as much solar photovoltaic capacity today as in 2010, and more than 10 times as much as in 2007. In the first three months of 2013, solar power accounted for nearly half of the new electricity generating capacity in the United States. The price of solar energy is falling rapidly, and each year tens of thousands of additional Americans begin to reap the benefits of clean energy from the sun, generated right on the rooftops of their homes or places of business.
America’s power plants are among the most significant sources of carbon dioxide pollution in the world. The 50 most-polluting U.S. power plants emit more than 2 percent of the world’s energy-related carbon dioxide pollution – or more pollution than every nation except six worldwide.
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.
Since 2007, federally declared weather-related disasters in the United States have affected counties housing 243 million people – or nearly four out of five Americans. The breadth and severity of weather-related disasters in the United States – coupled with the emerging science on the potential for global warming to exacerbate some types of extreme weather – suggest that the United States should take urgent action to reduce emissions of global warming pollution, while taking steps to prepare for the dangers posed by climate change.
The Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) is a central strategy in the Northeastern states’ efforts to protect the region from global warming.
The program, which took effect in 2009,has succeeded in cutting carbon dioxideemissions and demonstrating the effectiveness
of cap-and-trade as a global warming solution while helping to sustain a growing regional economy.
Now, nine Northeastern states are considering strengthening RGGI to drive additional reductions in global warming pollution. Strengthening RGGI would be a “win-win” for the Northeast, making an important contribution toward protecting the region from global warming while speeding the transition to a clean energy future.