BE2C2 Report by Irshad Salim — The U.S. Conference of Mayors (USCM) on Monday approved a resolution supporting a 100 percent renewable energy goal by 2035, and launched the Ready for 100 campaign to support the utilization of more clean power.
The group of more than 250 U.S. mayors also passed resolutions to support vehicle electrification, energy efficiency grants and city-driven plans to reverse climate change. The resolutions are symbolic and represent statements of intent for city planning and work with federal and state governments.
Interest in renewables is already running high in US cities: A joint survey by USCM and the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions found almost 70% of responding cities already generate or purchase some clean energy, more than 20% are considering the option, and more than 60% are buying low-emissions vehicles for fleets.
The United States has withdrawn from the United Nations climate accord, however, the U.S. Conference of Mayors believes its members can meet or exceed the national commitment, highlighting the local level at which clean energy policies must actually be enacted.
According to reports, about three dozen U.S. cities have already committed to transition to 100% renewable energy.
Earlier this month, a dozen states and Puerto Rico formed the U.S. Climate Alliance.
The states, led by Washington, New York and California, said they are committed to upholding their end of the United Nations Paris climate accord. Sierra Club noted.
Trump argued that the Paris agreement is a “bad deal for Americans” that “disadvantages the United States at the exclusive advantage of other countries.” The accord was signed by President Obama and aims to limit global warming to 2°C this century, translating into an 80% economy wide decarbonization for the U.S. by 2050.
But green energy supporters say that in addition to cleaner air and water, the shift can also fuel jobs growth. San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer said his city is shifting to clean energy “not only because it supports clean air and water, but because it supports our 21st century economy.”
According to analysis by Sierra Club, if cities belonging to the USCM moved to 100% clean energy, “it would reduce electric sector carbon emissions by more than that of the five worst carbon polluting U.S. states combined.”
If the 100% energy targets were achieved by 2025, the environmental group said the total electric sector carbon pollution reductions would “fill anywhere from 87% to 110% of the remaining reductions the United States would need to achieve in order to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement.”
In a related note, solar energy in the US alone employs more people than traditional coal, gas and oil combined.
In 2016, employment in solar power increased by 25 per cent, adding 73,000 new jobs to the US economy, while wind energy employment witnessed an increase of 32 per cent.
A report by the US Department of Energy (DOE), said solar power employed 374,000 people over the year 2015-2016, leading to 43 per cent of the power sector’s workforce.
Whereas, the traditional fossil fuels employed 187,117 people, making up to just 22 per cent of the sector’s workforce.
The report adds: In a period of ten years, between 2006 and 2016, the net generation from the traditional fossil fuels has declined by 53 percent, whereas, electricity generation from the natural gas increased by 33 per cent, and solar by over 5,000 per cent in the same period.
The revelation is contrary to the ideology of President Trump, who has stepped out the Paris climate deal.
“The Paris Agreement handicaps the United States economy in order to win praise from the very foreign capitals and global activists that have long sought to gain wealth at our country’s expense. They don’t put America first. I do, and I always will,” said Trump.