Time, tide, and climate disruption wait for no one. Just yesterday, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and NASA announced that global temperatures last year reached their highest level in 136 years of record-keeping.
There’s only one rational response to news like that — cut climate pollution as fast as we possibly can. That means not only pushing back against fossil fuel projects but also expanding and accelerating our development of renewable energy. As Buckminster Fuller put it, we need to “build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.”
That’s where the Sierra Club’s Ready for 100 campaign comes in. We know it’s possible for the United States to power itself with a new model of 100 percent clean energy — but it won’t happen fast enough unless we set and meet some ambitious goals. Right now, the most effective way to do that is for cities, businesses, and local communities to commit to renewable power.
The good news — the great news — is that we have a powerful tailwind. Solar prices have fallen 80 percent in recent years. Wind prices have fallen 60 percent. In several regions of the country, clean energy is already cheaper than coal and gas and nuclear power. Renewable energy companies employ four times as many Americans as the fossil fuel industry does, and investment in the U.S. efficiency and renewable sectors is robust ($70 billion in just the third quarter of 2015).
What’s more, regardless of how worried Americans might be about climate disruption, they are broadly supportive of more wind and solar power. Polls like this one show that even Republicans are strongly in favor of accelerating the development of clean energy.
And why wouldn’t they? The advantages in terms of national security, public health, and energy savings are undeniable. Stanford scientists calculate that the transition to 100 percent clean energy will save the average family over $200 dollars per year in energy costs and another $1,500 per year in healthcare costs. And I guarantee that nobody whose last name doesn’t rhyme with joke is going to miss oil spills, mercury poisoning, fracking earthquakes, or methane leaks.
How do I know we can get cities to commit right now to 100 percent renewable energy? Because we’re already doing so. Already, 15 U.S. cities, including San Diego and Grand Rapids, Michigan, have declared they will go all-in on clean energy. And three of them, Burlington, VT, Greensburg, KS, and Aspen, CO, have already achieved that goal!
That’s great — but we can and must do even better. The American people are ready for clean energy, so let’s give them what they want. We can start by getting 100 American cities to commit to transition to 100 percent clean, renewable power. Visit our Ready for 100 website to find out more.
And if you live in a city, here’s a tip: The U.S. Conference of Mayors is having its winter meeting this week in Washington, D.C. What better time to let your mayor know that you support 100 percent clean energy?