Climate & Energy

The Current Situation

The science is settled: Climate change is real.

The average temperature on Earth “has risen by 1.5°F over the past century, and is projected to rise another 0.5 to 8.6°F over the next hundred years,” according to the EPA. This could lead to catastrophic shifts in climate and weather. In fact, we just experienced the hottest summer on record — again! While climate change is no doubt one of the most debated topics today — whether it be among researchers, politicians, or private citizens — the bottom line is that climate change is real and cannot be ignored. The time has come for Alabamians who care about environmental health and climate justice to come together and address this urgent challenge head on.

As of 2016, 38 percent of electricity generated in Alabama comes from coal — compared with about 33 percent nationwide. However, the state’s largest utility, Alabama Power, generates approximately 55 percent of its electricity from coal, well above the national and state average. In fact, John Kelley of Alabama Power in May 2016 told The Birmingham News, “we expect coal to remain a significant part of our diverse supply of energy sources for many years to come.”

Meanwhile, the Alabama Public Service Commission, the agency tasked with regulating the utility, is obstinately pro-fossil fuel and denies the very existence of climate change. Commissioner Chip Beeker, for instance, proudly wrote on his campaign website, “I believe that […] the so-called ‘climate change crisis’ is about as real as unicorns and little green men from Mars.” Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange consistently opposes every EPA action and joined several other state attorneys general in suing the federal government to block the Clean Power Plan.

Staff Contacts

Michael Hansen

Michael Hansen

Executive Director

Email: michael@gaspgroup.org
Phone: 205.938.4270

Haley Colson Lewis

Haley Colson Lewis

Staff Attorney

Email: haley@gaspgroup.org
Phone: 205.938.4272

Demand Climate Action

Sign our petition to tell Alabama lawmakers that you support policies to expand access to clean, renewable energy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Secure a Just Transition

The RECLAIM Act would bring $1 billion back to coal communities to reclaim abandoned mine sites while creating economic opportunities.

100% Clean Energy

Write a letter to your U.S. Senators to request their support for the Markey-Merkley resolution to shift America to 100% renewable energy by 2050.

Alabama Power & Climate Change

🏭 Alabama Power’s James H Miller Jr. Plant ranked second in carbon pollution in the United States behind only Georgia Power’s Robert W Scherer Power Plant. (Both are owned and operated by Southern Company.)

🏭 Energy use for cooling has increased 43 percent in the past 20 years.

🏭 Alabama ranks 41st in energy efficiency.

🏭 Among cities, Birmingham ranks an embarrassing 50th out of 51 in energy efficiency.

🏭 The bulk of power generation comes from coal and gas, making the Southeast’s carbon footprint disproportionately greater than that of the rest of the country.

🏭 As mentioned above Alabama Power generated approximately 55 percent of its electricity from coal in 2015.

It is time for Alabamians who care about our health, our environment, and our children’s futures to rise up and demand real solutions to climate change. We must break the shameful cycle of reactionary thinking that has permeated so much of our state’s social and economic fabric.

Sources of Emissions

Solar Works

Solar Works is an initiative to raise awareness of the benefits of solar energy in Alabama. Through Solar Works, we analyze existing solar policy, trends, and opportunities. Harnessing the power of the sun will improve our health, economy and environment. Click on the image below to visit the Solar Works website.

Climate Solutions

No one disputes the fact that the South lags the nation in climate action. That doesn’t mean there are not real solutions available to all of us, from lay person to lawmaker. For instance, the cleanest kilowatt is the one that’s never used and energy efficiency is one tool we can deploy to reduce electricity consumption. Renewable energy should be deployed to generate electricity in clean, sustainable ways. For example, Alabama ranks near the bottom of states for solar capacity and solar jobs. We can generate significantly more electricity from both distributed solar energy (rooftop) and utility-scale solar while creating the next generation of good paying “green” jobs.

Potential Impacts In Alabama

According to the Alabama Report Card published by “States at Risk”:

⚠️ “There is no evidence that [Alabama] has published information acknowledging or assessing its climate vulnerabilities.”

⚠️ “Alabama has taken no action to plan for its future climate risks or implement adaptation strategies.”

⚠️ Alabama has failed to dedicate any “state funding, policies, or guidelines to improve resilience against climate change-related extreme heat, drought, wildfire, or coastal flooding.”

⚠️ “Alabama has taken less action than any other coastal state to prepare for sea level rise and both its current and future coastal flooding risks.”

In other words, Alabamians are woefully uninformed by its government and its policies are wholly inadequate to deal with the health and environmental impacts of impending climate change.

Recent News

Scott Pruitt’s Shameful Ploy to Undo the Clean Power Plan

On Monday, October 9, 2017, the EPA proposed to repeal the Clean Power Plan. It is not only regrettable, but also disgraceful that we are commenting again, this time against repealing one of the most critical plans to address and combat climate change.

Trump Expected to Back Out of Paris Climate Agreement

Multiple news outlets are reporting that President Trump will announce this week his intentions to withdraw from the 2015 Paris climate change agreement. The move is likely to upset U.S. allies across the globe, especially considering that the accords were agreed to...

Federal Roundup: Trump’s First #100Days Edition

The news is a buzz this week with assessing President Trump’s first 100 days in office. NPR did a great Q&A with Cokie Roberts about this Presidential benchmark and its significance, if any. I have been doing my best to keep you all up to speed since day one of the...

Renew Alabama Conference to Shine a Light on Climate Change

Countering a national agenda which seeks to divide us will require us to discover our shared values. Renew Alabama is a new coalition united under a common banner of social, environmental, and climate justice. Grounded in our shared humanity, experiences and faith,...

Federal Roundup: Recent Executive and Legislative Actions

It’s been a few weeks since I updated everyone on executive and legislative actions. Sadly, this is not because there has been nothing to update; so this will be a long one! However, one reason this update is delayed is because I attended an inspiring conference two...

Federal Roundup for March 6

Wondering what's been going on since I blogged about the most recent updates two weeks ago? Don't worry, we've got you covered! This is the latest installment in our series on federal executive and legislative actions. Several new developments have cropped up and we...

Coosa Riverkeeper Introduces New Fish Guide, Fish Advisory Hotline

Fishers can call the toll-free hotline (1-844-219-RISK) and follow the prompts to hear advisories in their watershed.

The Truth About Rep. Gary Palmer’s Anti-EPA Bill

BACKGROUND. Rep. Gary Palmer (AL-6) introduced H.R. 637 in the U.S. House of Representatives on January 24, 2017. The stated purpose of the bill is “to prevent the Environmental Protection Agency from exceeding its statutory authority in ways that were not...

My Experience at the Women’s March in Birmingham

When we were asked if Gasp would participate in the Women’s March in Birmingham, we enthusiastically agreed. The March stands for principles Gasp absolutely supports. Plus, it would be great to set up a table and spread the word about healthy air and clean energy to...

Alternative Facts: Air Pollution, Climate Change & Health

This past Sunday, a Meet the Press interview featuring Counselor to President Donald Trump Kellyanne Conway went viral after she coined the phrase "alternative facts." I couldn't help but chuckle when I heard this euphemism coming out of the new White House. (I also...
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