When it comes to producing electricity, the verdict is clear: solar and wind are winning. Not just in the U.S., but around the world. The price of electricity from wind and solar power keep falling. Battery storage technology (which makes it possible to store solar energy when the sun isn’t shining and wind energy when the wind isn’t blowing) is accelerating faster than anyone predicted, and we could have grids powered by 100% clean energy by 2050.
In most of the world, governments are celebrating the advance of clean energy, and doing everything in their power to install solar and wind power more rapidly. But, the Trump Administration is doing the exact opposite.
The Trump Administration’s Efforts to Roll Back Progress
EPA Secretary Pruitt’s announced roll back of the Clean Power Plan (CPP), which is working to shift the U.S. away from coal-fired power, is just the latest attack on clean energy by the administration. Pruitt has long been an enemy of the CPP, claiming that it is too burdensome on states and industry. As Oklahoma’s attorney general, he sued the EPA 14 times, including over the CPP. The idea that the CPP is burdensome is easily disproven -- most states and many utilities are easily complying with the CPP, and companies large and small are in support.
At the same time, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) at the Department of the Interior is trying to delay regulations that would make the fossil fuel industry capture natural gas lost through venting and flaring at production wells. This common-sense regulation will reduce climate emissions, protect local communities, and yield over $330 million per year in taxes to support states and localities. Green America is urging all Americans to push back against any delay or suspension of the rule by BLM.
Less well known are efforts from the Department of Energy (DOE) and the Federal Energy Regulatory Administration (FERC), to provide privileged pricing to coal and nuclear power, under the guise of protecting the power grid. Secretary Rick Perry is arguing that a grid that is more reliant on natural gas (which is still a polluting fossil fuel), and increasingly on wind and solar, is inherently less reliable. The problem with his argument is that DOE’s own research demonstrates that the grid is more reliable than ever as it relies less on coal and nuclear power. The air is cleaner as well as we burn less coal, which saves the country billions of dollars in health costs.
The Way Forward
Green America is joining with our allies in fighting back against Trump’s dirty energy agenda, and we will be calling on our members nationwide to continue raise their voices in opposition. But we must do more than push back on dirty energy and its supporters in our capitol, we must also continue to move forward with clean energy and climate solutions, without Washington. Working with allies, individuals, green businesses, and business allies, here’s what we can do to keep the country on track in fighting climate change and ensuring a cleaner, healthier future:
Ensure that large corporations are doing all they can to shift to clean energy. Green America is currently targeting the telecom sector (starting with AT&T and Verizon), which uses more energy per year than 3 million households. These companies all get less than 2 percent of their energy from renewable sources, and are far out of step with tech companies like Apple and Google that are at, or near, 100 percent clean energy. As customers, we need to demand that telecoms do better, and hang up on fossil fuels.
Keep the pressure on our largest financial institutions, starting with our largest banks, to end their financing of fossil fuels and pipelines. We’re pushing big banks to end their support for dirty energy and helping people move millions of dollars to community investing banks and credit unions that create jobs and housing nationwide. We’ll help Americans join the $5.2 trillion divestment movement and shift their investments to clean energy
Revolutionize agriculture in the US to fight climate change. We’re working with the public, researchers, farmers, and businesses large and small to end farming based on heavy chemical and fossil-fuel inputs, and rapidly scale up regenerative agriculture – keeping carbon in the ground and protecting the soil for generations to come.
Save trees worldwide. Trees are one of our most powerful carbon sinks, and our Better Paper Project is working with publishers to shift to recycled papers and the retail industry to reduce its reliance on paper receipts. Together, these strategies will keep millions of trees standing, and reduce the climate emissions and toxins that result from creating virgin fiber and coated papers.
Vote with your dollars. At Green America, we don’t just act on behalf of our members, we urge our members and the public to use their economic power to create the green economy. We can all vote with our purchases and investments for a greener world. Consumer spending, which accounts for about 70 percent of economic growth in the US, is one the most powerful drivers of corporate change in the US. When consumers speak, companies listen. Use your consumer voice every day.