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Indiana, NC Press Presidential Hopefuls Over Coal & Climate Crisis

Several groups (including Earth Club) have signed a letter asking the main presidential candidates to call for Duke Energy to cancel their new coal plants in Cliffside, NC and in Edwardsport, Indiana. Here’s the press release, courtesy of the NC Waste Awareness and Reduction Network:

Indiana, NC Press Presidential Hopefuls Over Coal & Climate Crisis

18 Groups Say ‘Stand up to Duke Energy, Launch Mobilization to Avert Disaster’

Statement by Grant Smith, Citizen Action Coalition of Indiana and Jim Warren, NC WARN:

DURHAM, NC – A diverse, two-state alliance of public interest groups today called on Senators Clinton, McCain and Obama to defy the out-of-control corporate influence that is preventing urgently needed action on global climate change. Eighteen organizations called for the presidential candidates to take genuine, decisive action on the climate crisis by seeking cancellation of new coal-fired plants planned in Indiana and North Carolina by Duke Energy – the nation’s third largest CO2 polluter. And we are calling for leadership to avoid false “solutions” promoted by polluters, and launch the massive national effort needed to avert the most catastrophic impacts of climate change.

In a letter sent today – and copied to gubernatorial candidates in both states – environmental, faith, campus-based and consumer advocates emphasize that climate change is far worse than most Americans realize. This is because the science is emerging rapidly and because our public information system has failed, largely due to energy companies’ efforts to distort climate change and stifle action.

Weather-related disasters have quadrupled since 1987, climate change is accelerating, and this month, British researchers joined other researchers in warning that sea level could rise five feet this century. Research just completed by NASA’s James Hansen – the foremost U.S. expert – shows that atmospheric carbon levels are already 10% higher than the upper limit required to maintain the climate to which humanity and wildlife are adapted. Major CO2 reductions are urgently needed – beginning now.

Dr. Hansen and others stress that cancelling new coal-fired power plants must become the top U.S. priority. In March, Hansen wrote to Duke CEO Jim Rogers: “The Earth is nearing climate ‘tipping points’ with potential effects, many irreversible, including extermination of countless species … and intensified regional climate extremes.” He cited the warning by U.S. generals that a world filled with desperate climate refugees would be tragic as well as dangerous for everyone.

A well-informed, rational society would be well underway in deploying feasible, economically beneficial measures to reduce emissions. We seek true leadership for the following:

1) a moratorium on any new coal-fired power plants not yet in operation;

2) a greatly expanded, immediate deployment of energy efficiency, cogeneration and renewable power – available with existing technologies; and

3) the repair of our wounded democracy by standing up to out-of-control corporate influence

All the campaigns seem to have fallen for corporate PR jargon such as “clean coal” and “advanced” nuclear power. Instead of pouring billions of public dollars into those dangerous, pie-in-the-sky distractions from genuine climate solutions, we urge these candidates to step up and prove that their talk of “change” is more than campaign rhetoric.

Because of Duke Energy’s prominence, cancelling the Cliffside and Edwardsport plants could represent a “tipping point” toward climate protection, leading others to make the needed, immediate correction toward energy efficiency – the most rapid, economically sound way to reduce emissions.

Continuing to ignore the experts’ warnings will be disastrous.

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