The EPA Targets Carbon

Smoke StacksThe Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released the Clean Energy Plan proposal this week. In the document, the EPA lays out how the United States will cut carbon pollution from existing power plants over the next (15) years. Without a national limit on carbon emissions, our nation’s health and wellness are being negatively affected. Our power plants inject so much carbon into the atmosphere, that our climate is changing. The Clean Energy Plan will help alleviate the harmful and costly effects from those carbon emissions. The plan also includes a flexible timeline for states to help their power plants run more efficiently and control the amount of pollutants released.

As an educator, I am always looking for ways   to include current events in my curriculum. I want my students to have real-world experiences and use real data. In order to incorporate the Clean Energy Plan into the classroom, I have found a few places it could easily fit in. The Global Warming 101 Curriculum Guide (grades 6-12) from the Will Steger Foundation gives a firm foundation in climate change. The last lesson is titled ‘What Now?’ Students wrap up the unit by finding ways that people are responding to climate change. The Clean Energy Plan would be a powerful way to show students how the government is helping to ensure a healthier environment for future generations.

Here are a few more lessons where the Clean Energy Plan would fit right in:

            Our Changing Climate (3-6)– Lesson 3: Climate Change Action

            Citizen Climate– Lesson 2: Climate Target

            Citizen Climate– Lesson 4: Stabilizing Emissions

            Citizen Climate– Lesson 5: Carbon Cap & Trade

Clean Power PlanThe EPA also has some great resources on their website about the Clean Energy Plan. The press release is a simplified version of the plan that summarizes the main points. There are also a number of fact sheets that could help students understand the changes that are coming.

Minnesota is becoming a leader in the renewable energy world. We have already begun to make changes to our energy sector. The Next Generation Energy Act (passed in 2007), set in motion a plan to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels and promote the use of renewable energy sources. Then in May of 2013, Minnesota signed a law that established a solar energy standard (mandating that we get 1.5% of the energy, about 450 MW, produced by investor-owned utilities from solar by 2020). The Clean Energy Plan will only further these efforts. Here’s to a healthier, cleaner Minnesota.


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