Smart solutions to reduce emissions

In order to effectively address global warming, we must significantly reduce the amount of heat-trapping emissions we are putting into the atmosphere.

The good news is that we have the technology and practical solutions at hand to accomplish it.

As individuals, we can help by taking action to reduce our personal carbon emissions. But to fully address the threat of global warming, we must demand action from our elected leaders to support and implement a comprehensive set of climate solutions:

The Clean Power Plan:
a climate game changer

power plant

Photo: acilo/iStock

The Clean Air Act requires the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to take steps to reduce air pollution that harms the public's health. This includes global warming emissions, which the EPA has found to endanger public health.

Today power plants are allowed to dump unlimited amounts of carbon pollution into the atmosphere — there are no rules in effect that limit their emissions of carbon dioxide, the primary driver of global warming. Now, for the first time, the EPA is developing new power plant carbon standards that will reduce carbon emissions from existing power plants. 

These historic standards, known as the Clean Power Plan, are a centerpiece of the president's Climate Action Plan and represent the most significant opportunity in years to help curb the growing consequences of climate change.

Learn more:

A national blueprint for a clean energy economy

installing solar panels

Photo: Robert Houser

We can make the transition to a clean energy economy today, while protecting our climate, saving consumers money, and putting Americans back to work. What we need is a set of smart, practical policies to jump-start this transition without delay and maximize the benefits to our environment and economy.

Learn more:

Building support for national climate policies

capitol building

Photo: Eric E Johnson/Flickr

Extreme heat, drought, storms, and other weather disasters are increasingly fueled by climate change and affect everyone regardless of political affiliation. To address global warming, policy makers must find bipartisan solutions that substantially reduce heat-trapping emissions.

Taking climate action can bring significant benefits to the United States, and the economic facts clearly support U.S. action to curb global warming emissions — including the prohibitive costs of doing nothing. An effective national climate policy must include several key elements; one effective approach would be a well-designed cap-and-trade program for carbon emissions.

In July 2013, President Obama outlined a national climate action plan that focuses on several specific ways to reduce emissions. Given the current political situation in Washington, it is unlikely that any broader national climate policies will emerge from Congress in the near-term future — continued and growing public demand for climate action will be essential to enact effective global warming solutions in the years to come. 

State and regional climate policies

state capital building

Photo: William Manning/corbis

Several states and regions have already established climate policies aimed at curbing global emissions, notably in California and the Northeast. Learn more about these policies — and what you can do to help support them — in these regional pages:

California & Western States | Midwest | Northeast | Southeast

International climate treaty negotiations

United Nations climate conference

Photo: Kacper Pempel/Reuters/Corbis

Global warming is a global issue. Strong U.S. action and leadership is critical, but so too are international efforts that work toward reducing emissions worldwide.

To support this effort, UCS regularly sends policy experts, scientists, and climate economists to international climate treaty negotiations, the most prominent of which is the annual Conference of Parties (COP) to the United Nation’s Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC).

We Need Your Support
to Make Change Happen

We can reduce global warming emissions and ensure communities have the resources they need to withstand the effects of climate change—but not without you. Your generous support helps develop science-based solutions for a healthy, safe, and sustainable future.