Throughout the great, the dangerous, and the ugly in recent times, SACE has remained a steadfast advocate for our area’s surroundings, pushing for clear energy options that may safeguard our water and air and shield our most susceptible communities from air pollution whereas additionally reducing their electrical payments.

Stephen Smith and Amy Vaden | December 27, 2019 | Climate Change, Elections

As we roll into a new decade, we’re all watching as climate change is accelerating at an ever-quicker tempo. Daily information headlines remind us of the growing velocity at which our world is altering. The science is indisputable; and the wave of public acknowledgement is rising stronger as increasingly more individuals are witnessing overwhelming proof and experiencing the alarming impacts of climate change firsthand. But even though climate is shifting into a position of central concern for increasingly more Americans, our federal management continues to fail us on all ranges. The White House has pulled our nation out of the Paris Accord and launched relentless assaults on a number of fronts to undermine and erode what modest rules and regulations we’ve got put into place to start to deal with the huge downside of climate change. We at present don’t have any coordinated strategy to guard ourselves, our world neighbors, the planet, or future generations. The South particularly has traditionally struggled with many of those challenges and we proceed to struggle day by day to make progress the place potential and to defend our features in opposition to those that would undermine them. Much work stays, and the scenario turns into extra intense day by day.

But there may be a stark silver lining across the darkish cloud of our lackluster and backward federal management to be discovered within the plethora of native and state-degree initiatives that’s the truth is flourishing, discovering help from throughout the political spectrum in our area regardless of, or maybe in response to, ongoing dysfunction on the federal degree.

Southern successes within the face of federal lackluster

This phenomenon will be witnessed all through our nation, and the Southeast has some very placing and constructive examples. Across our region, communities are pushing back against utility efforts to disincentivize solar and energy effectivity. Electric prospects are stepping up in droves to demand good energy coverage that saves cash and reduces air pollution. Throughout 2019 SACE labored to mobilize focused prospects to cease their utilities from increasing predatory fixed fees on customers’ bills. By amplifying these voices telling their personal stories and humanizing the very real impacts these fees have, particularly on low-earnings prospects already struggling to pay their payments, we’ve got efficiently compelled utilities in Georgia, South Carolina, and Tennessee to sluggish or reverse this victimizing pattern.

Southeastern states and communities are additionally uniting in help of electrification of the transportation sector. North Carolina’s newly released Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) Plan – the primary of its type within the Southeast – is a prime instance. the ZEV units a objective of accelerating the variety of registered electrical automobiles (EVs) within the state to not less than 80,000 by 2025, a rise of roughly 500% from the variety of EVs on North Carolina’s roads at the moment. In 2020 SACE can be working to help this lofty objective with on-the-floor efforts all through the state. We will construct upon our information and experiences gained from our Protect Our Coasts Drive Electric campaign in Florida pushing in opposition to offshore drilling and showcasing the advantages of oil-free renewable energy-fueled transport to broaden electrical transportation in North Carolina as effectively.

Local successes on the climate change mitigation entrance are shifting in a notably constructive course in Florida, the place critical climate conversations are happening for the primary time in over a decade. Today, greater than ½ of the state’s counties, together with lots of the most populous and politically essential ones, have engaged in resiliency coalitions, and SACE employees has performed an influential position on this momentum. We are additionally working to bolster Governor DeSantis’s recommitment to science and resiliency on the state degree by supporting his newly-appointed, and first EVER, Chief Resilience Officer (CRO), who’s tasked with main and coordinating a workgroup to develop statewide resilience targets. SACE is concerned immediately in supporting growth of sturdy, complete, achievable targets for the state. Here we’re – discussing ‘resiliency’ measures to dramatic climate impacts – in the exact same state the place the final governor outlawed the phrases ‘climate change’ in his administration.

Florida is also moving into a leadership position on utility-scale solar deployment, as FPL’s 30-by-30 plan to put in 30 million solar panels by 2030 is the boldest 10-year solar dedication of any utility within the nation. This will embrace 6,150 MW of solar between 2021-2028, and will enhance with SolarTogether community solar program currently pending approval by the Florida Public Service Commission. If permitted, this may be the most important group solar program within the nation.

All that is to say…

that, whereas we acknowledge the distinctive challenges in our area, and the continuing want for huge enhancements within the directives coming from the highest down, we additionally proceed to take care of that, even as soon as we obtain sturdy nationwide management creating the mandatory coverage framework, the vast majority of the implementation measures will proceed happen on the native and state ranges. This makes our work at the moment – implementing good decisions, on the bottom in communities all through the Southeast – completely essential. Our efforts all through the area are serving to native and regional communities act NOW to guard their surroundings, their futures, and their most susceptible neighbors; and to be greatest ready for even additional motion as soon as nationwide management comes round.

Moving into an unprecedented election 12 months, we can not ignore the central position that climate performs within the on a regular basis lives of individuals worldwide. I personally consider that this would be the final time we see climate introduced as a partisan concern in a nationwide election 12 months; because the younger generation is increasingly recognizing and acting on the reality of climate change and demanding action, now, to guard our futures. 2020 holds a lot promise, a lot potential, and can present each American a possibility to indicate whether or not we essentially care concerning the world we depart for our youngsters and grandchildren, in addition to the way forward for the human race and the planet. Knoxville voters already stepped up in November by choosing a clean energy champion to lead their city as its next mayor, and the upcoming presidential election will supply a good higher alternative for us all to talk up: it would both result in one other 4 years of rollbacks and setbacks, or assist set us again on monitor toward turning into a accountable worldwide participant and start to rebuild the set of environmental protections that took us a long time to develop.

Throughout the great, the dangerous, and the ugly in recent times, SACE has remained a steadfast advocate for our area’s surroundings, pushing for clear energy options that may safeguard our water and air and shield our most susceptible communities from air pollution whereas additionally reducing their electrical payments.

So cheers to 2020! May it carry us ever nearer to a clear, secure, wholesome, thriving Southeast! We look ahead to persevering with to work for a cleaner tomorrow within the Southeast.

 

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