Today at the Paris 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference, more than 300 state and local lawmakers from across the country, including over 100 members of People For the American Way Foundation’s Young Elected Officials (YEO) Network, are releasing a letter in support of achieving 50 percent clean energy by 2030 and calling for action in support of this goal. The letter notes that local communities represented by the signers are experiencing the impact of extreme weather events and environmental harms, and that cities and states are already leading the way toward clean energy solutions.
YEO alum Dominic Frongillo, a former town councilman in Caroline, NY, is expected to present the letter to President Obama at the climate talks.
The full text of the letter is pasted below.
Dear President Obama,
We, the undersigned local and state elected officials, strongly support the goal to achieve more than 50 percent clean energy by 2030, putting us on the path to 100 percent clean energy sources by 2050.
This is a necessary and achievable goal. With the implementation of the Clean Power Plan, the EPA estimates that the United States will increase our current generation of clean energy by 30 percent. This means we are already on track to generate 43 percent clean energy by 2030 by effectively implementing the Obama Administration’s policies. We appreciate the administration’s leadership supporting clean energy — and with additional leadership at the federal, state, and local levels, our country will successfully reach the 50 percent by 2030 goal.
Clean energy is an American success story. It is one of the fastest growing economic sectors in the United States and already provides 360,000 jobs. The solar industry alone employs 143,000 people—more individuals than work in coal mines — and grew 20 percent in 2014. Last year a new solar project was installed every 2.5 minutes.
Transitioning to clean energy isn’t just the smart choice for growing our economy—it keeps our families healthy. According to the American Lung Association, almost half of Americans live in places where pollution levels are too often dangerous to breathe. By transitioning to clean energy, we can clear the air and reduce the health risks of pollution.
The time to act is now. Fourteen of the 15 warmest years on record have all occurred since 2000, and 2014 was the warmest ever recorded. Our communities are already feeling the growing costs of increased number of extreme weather events, such as hurricanes, droughts, and flooding. According to NOAA, the frequency of billion-dollar storm-related disasters has increased five percent each year since 1980.
In Paris, the United States and our global partners will offer concrete targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions to prevent the most devastating impacts of climate change. However, true success in Paris — and in the days, weeks and months that follow — will come down to America’s willingness to build on the momentum from the UN talks and continue to lead the world by implementing clean energy solutions.
States, cities and businesses are already paving the way with clean energy solutions that are substantially and cost-effectively transitioning our country away from dirty fossil fuels and towards clean sources like wind and solar. As leaders responsible for America’s present and future prosperity, we must protect our communities from the dangers of climate change.
To ensure our economic prosperity, to protect our health and children, and to ensure our security and safety, we need to act now to transition our country to more than 50 percent clean energy by 2030.
Signed by over 300 state and local lawmakers from across the United States.