Atlanta the 27th city to commit to 100% renewables.
While the Trump administration is back-pedaling furiously on climate, American states, cities and businesses are quietly gaining steam on the inevitable transition to clean energy. Large cities like Chicago, San Diego and Salt Lake City have committed to ambitious renewable energy goals. Georgetown, Texas, in the heart of conservative Republican America, is already 100% powered by renewable energy. Why? Because it’s good business, and saves them money.
Now Atlanta, largest of southern US cities, has joined the growing movement. They have learned that leadership on addressing climate change also means cheaper energy, independence from outside energy sources, more local jobs and a stronger local economy. Clean energy now creates twice as many jobs as the fossil fuel industry, outnumbering fossil jobs in 41 out of 50 states. And solar alone created more US jobs in 2016 than oil, gas and coal combined.
The Trump administration is using every possible approach to slow down the march of clean energy in the world and here at home. Who benefits? Only a handful of billionaires. They can slow things down a bit, but they cannot stop the market forces already in motion. Solar costs have dropped 99% since the 1970s, and 80% since 2009. The wind industry continues to make gains as well, with turbine costs down 30% in the past 3 years. Denmark, a world leader in wind technology, is now planning to end all renewables subsidies, much sooner than anyone had thought possible.
California calculated the value of a clean-energy economy in 2010, and made a strong policy commitment to prosperity, clean jobs and healthy children. Despite dire predictions from the fossil fuel industry, California’s economy took off, now growing at double the US rate. California is now the 6th largest economy in the world.
It is a strange irony that Mr. Trump’s mantra of “making America great again” is beginning to have so many contrary effects. At a time when we could be leading the world in a sound, rapid and economically stimulating clean energy transition, the administration has instead handed global climate leadership to China and the EU. Our federal policies foster only isolation from the world community. Mr. Trump’s policies threaten to cost America leadership in the energy technology of the future.
What will make America great is local cities, states and businesses moving forward despite the stranglehold of billionaires over our nation, and giving life to clean, sensible and sustainable local economies everywhere. Welcome, Atlanta!