Over the last decade, clean energy has grown by leaps and bounds. Technologies that can help America shift away from fossil fuels — like solar panels, wind turbines, LED light bulbs, energy storage and electric cars — have gone from novelties to core features of the nation's energy landscape.
People across America and New Jersey regularly breathe unhealthy air that increases their risk of premature death, asthma attacks and other adverse health impacts. Levels of air pollution that meet current federal air quality standards can be harmful to health, especially with prolonged exposure. Metropolitan and micropolitan areas across New Jersey experienced more than 100 days on which smog and/or particulate pollution was “moderate” or higher – in other words, above the level that the EPA has determined presents “little to no risk.”
Solar power is expanding rapidly. The United States now has over 53 gigawatts (GW) of solar photovoltaic (PV) capacity installed – enough to power 10.1 million homes and 26 times as much capacity as was installed at the end of 2010. Hundreds of thousands of Americans have invested in solar energy and millions more are ready to join them.
Over a 21-month period from January 2016 to September 2017, major industrial facilities released pollution that exceeded the levels allowed under their Clean Water Act permits more than 8,100 times. Often, these polluters faced no fines or penalties.
Now more than ever, state leadership is critical for America to make progress in the fight against global warming. The Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative shows the way forward – bringing together political leaders of both parties around effective policies to curb carbon pollution and accelerate the transition to clean energy.
Environment New Jersey 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.