President and CEO, Climate Reality Project
If fossil fuel CEOs were reaching for the champagne to celebrate the recent executive orders aimed at key U.S. climate initiatives, like the EPA’s Clean Power Plan, they might want to wait to pop the cork.
Why? The administration can issue all the orders it wants. But trying to halt the clean energy revolution now is like sticking a finger in a dam that burst long ago. And if administration officials believe that Americans will simply watch silently as the climate crisis devastates our planet, it won’t be the first time they misjudged the public.
The times are changing
Today, market forces stronger than any politician have made clean energy technologies, like wind and solar power, more accessible and affordable than ever. In many places, they’re already cost-competitive with fossil fuels — or even cheaper. This trend isn’t changing any time soon: Bloomberg New Energy Finance predicts that solar is likely to cost less on average than coal, globally, by 2025.
And the overwhelming majority of Americans not only know the climate crisis is real — they want their government to take action. A recent Gallup poll showed that a record 68 percent of Americans know that pollution from human activities (read: greenhouse gas emissions from burning fossil fuels) is driving the crisis. Seven in ten — including 57 percent of Republicans — support the historic Paris Agreement to solve it.
The 2015 agreement marked a turning point, as leaders from over 190 countries put aside their differences and came together to collaborate on radically reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The message was clear: The future will be powered by clean energy.
100 percent committed
Cities, states, towns and businesses have already begun the hard work of making this a reality — divesting from fossil fuels, investing in clean energy solutions and moving forward with sustainability initiatives like the Climate Reality Project’s 100% Committed campaign. Through 100% Committed, cities, towns, universities and businesses are committing to transition to 100 percent renewable electricity by 2030 or sooner. This is where the future of climate action lies now — aggressive local action that cuts emissions, with or without the help of the federal government.
Clean energy and climate action are, to use the president’s own words, “winning.” Winning increasingly, even in red state communities like Georgetown, Texas, which will run on 100 percent renewable energy this year.
As Climate Reality Project’s chairman, former U.S. Vice President Al Gore, says, we are going to win this fight. In part, because more and more regular Americans understand that being a citizen today means becoming an activist. We’ve seen this firsthand in building a global network of 11,000 Climate Reality Leader activists trained by Vice President Gore. They’re men and women of all ages and beliefs, from all walks of life, all united by the conviction that a sustainable future starts with them and their commitment to fighting denial, skepticism and alternative facts.
Make no mistake: Our future depends on citizens like them — and citizens like you. Because now is the time when citizens can make a real difference in many ways. Start by talking to your friends and your neighbors. Demand action from your elected officials. Join the People’s Climate March on April 29. Help your city make the 100% Committed pledge to be powered entirely by renewables. Train as a Climate Reality Leader. This is how we’ll win.
Our climate can’t be a partisan issue. The future of the Earth should be common ground for all of us. We know we must solve the crisis. With the clean energy technologies in our hands today, we know we can. And with millions standing together, we know we will.
Ken Berlin, President and CEO, Climate Reality Project, [email protected]mediaplanet.com