Photo credit: World Bank/Lundrim Aliu

Yesterday, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed a bold new ruling to reduce carbon pollution from U.S. power plants by 30% by the year 2030. This proposal takes an unprecedented step to curb harmful carbon emissions and address climate change. The benefits of these changes will help us get to a safer, healthier future. Here are three important ways that this new rule in the U.S. could help improve lives at home and around the world.

1. Clear the Air: Reductions in Carbon Pollution Will Address Climate Change

The EPA’s proposal takes more aggressive action than we’ve ever seen from the U.S. to cut carbon pollution from coal-fired power plants. To put this in perspective, a 30% reduction in U.S. power plant carbon pollution would offset two-thirds of the carbon pollution emitted by all cars and trucks in the U.S. A 30% reduction is equal to the emissions from powering more than half the homes in the United States for one year. By cutting carbon pollution and choosing cleaner power sources, we can leave our children and future generations with a greener, cleaner, and safer world.

2. Breathe Easier: A Healthier Climate Leads to Healthier Lives

Cutting carbon pollution makes our air healthier and helps improve lives. The EPA’s proposal will prevent up to 6,600 premature deaths, 2,100 heart attacks, and 150,000 asthma attacks in children per year. By adopting a clean power plan, we can reduce air pollution and improve the quality of the air that we breathe. Our lives and those of our children are in our hands – how we choose to act now could shape their futures for years to come.

3. Seize the Daylight: Powering a Healthier Climate Builds a Healthier Economy

By moving to low-carbon energy such as solar and wind power, we can cut pollution, create new jobs and industries, spur innovation, and put our planet on a sustainable path. Technology is moving rapidly toward the day when the cleanest energy is also the cheapest. The cost of clean energy continues to drop, and researchers and entrepreneurs are developing innovative new ways to save consumers money and manage energy use. Cleaner power is part of the path to an economy largely dependent on abundant, inexhaustible, affordable clean energy.

It’s time to step up to the plate. When it comes to climate change, we have solutions, and today’s announcement gives our leaders, our industries, and our communities new options to do something about it. As United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, a leader in the fight against climate change, has said: “In 2014, we must turn the greatest collective challenge facing humankind today – climate change – into the greatest opportunity for common progress towards a sustainable future.”

Reducing carbon emissions and addressing climate change isn’t just good for the environment – our health, our economy, and future generations will all benefit. We have been presented with a great opportunity to make a cleaner, more prosperous tomorrow. Our obligation is deep, the challenge is real, and now is our chance to seize the opportunity by rising to meet the challenge.

Take Action: Visit Climasphere.org to learn more, and add your voice on Twitter with the hashtag #ActOnClimate!