Written by: Jim Wylie, PA Chapter Conservation Co-Chair, SPG Conservation Chair, Clean Energy Team member
Changing Public Opinion On Clean Energy
When the Ready For 100% Clean Energy Campaign started in 2016, transitioning to a 100% clean energy power grid and moving to all electric heating and transportation seemed far fetched for most Americans, except maybe Californians. Today, a majority of the public believes we can get to net zero emissions including majorities in every congressional district except for 6 districts nationwide. One in three people now live in a state with a commitment to 100% clean energy. The Ready For 100 distributed campaign targeting municipal and state goal setting has been a big part of that ground shift in perception.
45 municipalities in Pennsylvania have set 100% renewable energy goals, from Philadelphia to Patton Township. Governor Wolf has set an 80% carbon reduction by 2050 goal for the state and the PA Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has issued a Climate Action Plan (CAP) that defines 17 strategies for achieving this goal. [read an overview of the PA CAP in this SC/PA Blog post]
In the southeastern PA 52% of residential PECO account holders live in a city, town or borough that has set a goal to transition to 100% renewable energy.
Sierra Club Transitions The Ready For 100 Campaign
The Sierra Club national campaign is now integrating national support for RF100 work into other campaigns and programmatic units. As we shift from goal setting to planning and action taking, the existing Sierra Club campaigns (Beyond Coal, Beyond Dirty Fuels, Clean Transportation, etc) will build on the work done by the distributed RF100 teams to advocate for planning, policy and projects that advance our vision of a country where clean energy and family sustaining jobs in the energy industry are the rule rather than the exception.
Opportunity To Pivot
In Pennsylvania, we have an opportunity to adjust our mission and message at the municipal level. From setting goals to taking action. From joining and creating municipal Environmental Advisory Committees (EACs) to supporting the community of EACs that have climate action at the top of their to-do lists for 2022.
EACs are where the action is. EACs helped craft their town’s Climate Action Plans. EACs, along with municipal staff and elected officials, are now tasked with proposing and passing enabling policy that encourages adoption of energy efficiency in new and old buildings, distributed energy generation (solar), accelerated adoption of electric vehicles and much more.
Ready For 100 teams, Climate Action teams, Energy Transition teams, or whatever we want to call ourselves, can now press ahead with urgency to offer support to EACs and other entities that must engage with their communities about making farsighted, smart choices about energy sources, efficient appliances and buildings and electrification opportunities.
An Online Platform To Keep Us Connected
A new online platform has been created to help climate action takers (EAC members, mostly) stay connected, share best practices and share resources to help with planning, policies, projects and community engagement.
Explore and invite your town’s environmental committee to consider joining PA Clean Energy. This is not a Sierra Club platform. It is maintained by member municipalities that contribute content and manage it’s direction.
This blog was included as part of the May 2022 Sylvanian newsletter. Please click here to check out more articles from this edition!