Mayors for 100% clean energy

April 27, 2017

Yesterday, the Sierra Club launched a new initiative aimed at increasing the commitment to 100% renewable energy in cities across the US.  Now, more than ever, cities are well-positioned to lead the energy transition and tackle climate change.  Read more below.

In the past year we’ve seen over 25 cities across the U.S. embrace renewables as their power source by committing to transition to 100 percent clean energy. From San Diego to Abita Springs, Louisiana, from Salt Lake City to St. Petersburg, Florida, big cities and small towns know that clean energy is the way to cleaner air, climate action, better jobs, and a stronger economy.

Yet few of these commitments would be possible without the leadership of a visionary mayor. That’s why we’re excited to announce a new Ready For 100 push, called Mayors for 100% Clean Energy, to urge more mayors nationwide to endorse a vision of 100 percent clean energy.

Mayors know first-hand the harmful effects that pollution, the high cost of energy, and climate change have on people and families in their cities. From increased rates of asthma to missed days of school and work, mayors see how dirty fuels like coal and gas harm our health and put entire communities at risk. They’ve witnessed how fossil fuel companies and utilities have held cities back by locking us into costly, polluting energy while fighting or stalling affordable clean energy solutions. Many mayors govern cities that are grappling with the increasing risks associated with climate change, which put a strain on city budgets and infrastructure.

But mayors are also at the vanguard of innovative, bi-partisan solutions. Mayors Philip Levine of Miami Beach, Jackie Biskupski of Salt Lake City, Kevin Faulconer of San Diego, and Steve Benjamin of Columbia, South Carolina share a commitment to lead their communities and the nation toward a cleaner, more reliable and affordable energy. As Co-Chairs of Mayors For 100% Clean Energy, these mayors are leading by example and inviting their peers across the country to join them in supporting a transition to clean, renewable energy.

Mayors have a way of elevating issues when their time has come.

We are in such a moment. A majority of Americans want clean air, clean water, and clean energy. Americans oppose cuts to environmental protections and they opposed cuts to the agencies that keep us safe from pollution. By a more than 5 to 1 margin, voters say the U.S. should keep its commitment to the Paris Agreement to reduce carbon pollution and address climate change. And too many American lives are lost, especially in low income communities and communities of color, to the impacts of dirty fuels. The Trump administration has made abundantly clear that it is hell bent on gutting bedrock environmental protections and putting dirty energy interests first—even if it means putting millions of Americans at risk of illness, disease and even premature death.

We can meet these challenges head-on by leading the transition away from fossil fuels in our cities, our towns, and our communities.

Cities are uniquely positioned to drive the innovation, creativity, ideas, and solutions needed to tackle the pressing social and economic issues we are facing. A growing trend among cities committing to 100 percent renewable energy demonstrates the ambition of mayors, in red states and blue, to articulate a vision for our country that is aligned with the will and well-being of the people.

100 percent renewable energy is both the right thing and the smart thing to do. In 100 percent cities like Georgetown, Texas, wind and solar provided an affordable and stable energy solution that shelters residents from the fluctuating costs of dirty fuels. Georgetown is now one of the first cities to run entirely on renewable energy.

Clean energy is saving schools, businesses, and faith communities serious money! Schools are saving millions of dollars that they are putting money back into the classroom after investing in solar. Churches are reinvesting in programs like food banks that serve low-income and impoverished communities with the money they save from going solar.

Now is the time to transition from dirty fuels to 100 percent clean energy! Committing to 100 percent renewable energy will make cities and towns healthier and stronger today and in the future. Whether you’re a mayor or an activist you can take action now-- step up and support 100 percent clean and renewable energy in your community.

Jodie Van Horn is the director of Sierra Club's READY FOR 100 Campaign.

Reposted from Sierra Club blog