Cindy Carr, email@example.com
Last week, Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Senator Ed Markey, along with 66 House representatives and 10 Senators, introduced their highly-lauded Green New Deal resolution, which seeks to tackle the climate crisis, create millions of good, high-wage jobs, secure clean air and water, and counteract systemic injustices.
The policy changes envisioned in the Green New Deal resolution are not hypothetical. In fact, many are already happening at the state and local level, where broad local coalitions of labor, environmental, and racial justice groups are winning pro-climate, pro-jobs, pro-equity policies that have been laying the groundwork for a national Green New Deal. In addition to more than 100 cities nationwide that have already committed to 100 percent clean, renewable energy, here are just a few examples of state and city initiatives that offer models and momentum for a nationwide Green New Deal.
The Future Energy Jobs Act gives low-income families priority access to solar panels, while providing solar-installation job training, particularly for formerly incarcerated people and communities fighting environmental injustice. The law also sets new energy-efficiency standards that are slated to further reduce air and climate pollution, create over 7,000 new jobs each year to retrofit buildings, and cut $4 billion in energy costs for Illinois families.
In addition to committing to 100 percent clean energy by 2045, California’s Buy Clean policy helps stimulate clean manufacturing by requiring that tax dollars be spent on goods manufactured under conditions that protect our climate. The law will help ensure that when the state government buys steel for bridges or glass for offices, it sends tax dollars to manufacturers that are slashing their climate pollution and creating good jobs.
On Thursday, a bill that would move New Mexico to 100 percent carbon-free electricity by 2045 was introduced into the state legislature. The bill sets interim milestones for clean energy adoption and invests heavily in NM communities, accounting for retiring an existing coal-fired generating plant while pursuing a just and equitable transition to a clean energy future for NM workers and families.
Pittsburgh United's Clean Rivers Campaign has been pushing for job-creating green infrastructure projects that could drastically reduce flooding in some of the city’s vulnerable neighborhoods. They are one of many local coalitions across the country calling for, and often securing, public investments in green spaces to absorb rainwater, replacement of lead pipes, and other infrastructure upgrades to increase climate resilience and ensure clean water.
DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA
The Clean Energy DC Omnibus Act of 2018 requires DC to transition to 100 percent clean, renewable electricity sources by 2032. It also sets stronger, job-creating building performance standards to reduce energy use and make buildings more energy efficient and requires buses and large private vehicle fleets to transition away from dirty fuel and toward electric vehicles.
After committing to 100 percent clean, renewable energy across the entire city by 2035, the City of Atlanta created a 100% Clean Energy Plan detailing how the city would reach its goal. The plan calls for improving energy efficiency and sourcing clean, renewable energy locally. It also estimates that 8,000 new jobs will be added to the local economy through 2035, and energy costs for all Atlantans will go down in the transition to 100 percent renewable power.
About the Sierra Club
The Sierra Club is America’s largest and most influential grassroots environmental organization, with more than 3 million members and supporters. In addition to helping people from all backgrounds explore nature and our outdoor heritage, the Sierra Club works to promote clean energy, safeguard the health of our communities, protect wildlife, and preserve our remaining wild places through grassroots activism, public education, lobbying, and legal action. For more information, visit www.sierraclub.org.