On a National Scale:We have two parties with two drastically different goals as it pertains to energy make-up & climate change. Let’s break it down: Donald Trump, Jr: On November 4th, 2020, the U.S. will officially pull out of the Paris climate agreement. The RNC has not adopted a new platform this year. Thus we have to rely on outdated information. A focal point of the platform is to continue Trump’s “deregulatory agenda for energy independence.” (Source Politico) In its’ first term, the Trump administration:
- Repealed at least 100 environmental rules – including Obama’s Clean Power Plan (CPP).
- Replaced the CPP with the America First Energy Plan, with a large focus on de-regulating.
- This roll-back would have a 3% anticipated increase in pollution by 2035 – an estimated 1.8 billion tons more greenhouse emissions than previous projections.
- Trump himself has often rejected science as it pertains to climate change and has shared his beliefs on its roots. Source (Twitter)
- Commit more than $2 trillion in direct government spending on clean energy, U.S. economy to be net-zero in emissions by 2050. Rejoin the Paris climate agreement. Generally, conservative Americans are concerned with increasing the national deficit and identifying where the capital investment will originate.
- Executive actions addressing new drilling & fracking on public land, curtailing methane emissions and stricter fuel-economy standards, and banning foreign aid for financing coal power plants.
- Focus on Environmental Justice – invest in low-income communities, tribal lands, communities of color.
- Vote, Vote & Vote – https://vote.gov/
- Become a poll worker – this is quite important as COVID disproportionally affects the elderly who have historically been very active poll volunteers. – https://www.eac.gov/voters/become-poll-worker
- Volunteer and sign up for phone banking. Educate voters on what is at stake at the state & federal level.
SCOTUS:The Supreme Court announced earlier this year that it will hear an appeal from fossil fuel companies against a lawsuit by the city of Baltimore demanding restitution for damages resulting from climate change. The result from this case will send ripples throughout the entire American energy complex as we combat climate change and identify the legally responsible players. There is limited action that American voters can do as it pertains to the Supreme Court as justices are appointed through the Senate.
At the State Level:
- According to Berkeley Labs, RPS requirements have contributed to about half of total U.S. renewable energy growth since 2000. This indicates that Renewable Portfolio Standards have achieved their intended objectives of increasing the prevalence of renewable energy in their energy portfolios.
- The RPS-portion of new renewable generation capacity has declined over the past few years – a positive sign that renewables are now becoming the norm in new generation. In fact, in 2019, renewable energy consumption surpassed coal for the first time in 130 years.
- There are still regional discrepancies where RPS have not been set in much of the southeastern states. Below is the current map of states with RPS targets:
- (Source: National Conference of State Legislatures)
- Engage with your state’s legislators and learn about your state’s renewable legislation at the National Conference of State Legislatures.
- Review your options through your electrical utility provider – are there options to purchase your energy from renewable resources? This can be a great option, particularly for those with limited access to residential solar options.
- See if there is a community solar program located in your jurisdiction, another great way to benefit from renewables through the National Community Solar Programs Tracker