Global warming is happening now and its effects are being felt in the United States and around the world. Among the expected consequences of global warming is an increase in the heaviest rain and snow storms, fueled by increased evaporation and the ability of a warmer atmosphere to hold more moisture.
America’s reliance on gasoline-powered vehicles has long contributed to air pollution, including global warming emissions, and our nation’s dependence on oil. In the past decade, however, the automobile market has begun to change, integrating new technologies that are dramatically less dependent on gasoline. Now, fully electric vehicles, with zero direct emissions, are emerging as a market-viable alternative to gasoline-powered vehicles.
As summer approaches, the dangers of our continued dependence on oil are apparent everywhere we look. Our oil dependence risks our environment to disasters like oil spills, endangers our climate with the nearly 2 billion metric tons of global warming pollution from oil consumption each year, and threatens our families’ health. If our cars and trucks today met the proposed 54.5 mpg standard, Pennsylvanians would cut gasoline consumption by 603 million gallons over the course of this summer, slashing global warming pollution by more than 5.3 million metric tons and saving consumers over $2.3 billion at the gas pump.
Industrial facilities continue to dump millions of pounds of toxic chemicals into America’s rivers, streams, lakes and ocean waters each year—threatening both the environment and human health. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), pollution from industrial facilities is responsible for threat- ening or fouling water quality in more than 14,000 miles of rivers and streams, more than 220,000 acres of lakes, ponds and estuaries nationwide.
We can save money and help solve global warming by reducing the amount of energy we use, including in the buildings where we live and work every day. More than 40 percent of our energy — and 10 percent of all the energy used in the world — goes toward powering America’s buildings. But today’s high-efficiency homes and buildings prove that we have the technology and skills to drastically improve the efficiency of our buildings while simultaneously improving their comfort and affordability.
PennEnvironment 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.