Earlier this year, Climate Solutions launched our new strategic plan for the next 4 years with a bold vision: The Northwest will be the first region in the nation to achieve a just transition to 100% clean energy and transportation. 100% Clean. Electrify everything. These are the guideposts that drive our work moving forward, for the rest of 2017 and beyond..
Today, as we see the devastation of extreme weather causing flooding in the southern US, Asia and Africa, and as we take in the smoke and ashes of Northwest wildfires filling our skies, we feel more strongly about this vision than ever before. Simply put, the planet and all its people need us to move collectively away from fossil fuels and toward 100% clean energy and transportation as fast as we possibly can.
We believe that the Northwest can be one of the pioneering leaders in making this happen, and we are shifting the entirety of our organization to pursue this goal. I am pleased to report that, in partnership with many allies, we have achieved already this year several very important wins on the road to 100% clean in the Northwest. These include:
- Portland and Multnomah County passed one of the most ambitious plans in the nation to commit to 100% clean energy and transportation.
- King County made the biggest commitment to electric buses in the nation;
- PGE took a major step back in their plans to build a new fracked gas power plant;
- The city of Edmonds, WA passed a 100% clean policy.
- The Washington State Legislature passed a bill to increase alternative fuels.
That is a lot of wins, ones that move the needle in reducing carbon emissions and accelerating the transition to the clean energy economy.
But this is just the start. Every day, we are out talking with elected officials, activists, and community and business leaders, and the momentum is enormous. People in cities across the region are actively engaged in working to pass and implement policies to accelerate the drive to 100% clean. Candidates for office are running on their commitment to 100% clean. Elected officials are doing the hard work of figuring out how we turn a vision of 100% clean into real action on the ground. Grassroots activists are organizing.
The momentum is real. I can feel it when I talk to people about this effort, and hear about what people are doing in their communities.
As we move into the fall, Climate Solutions’ priorities in our 100% clean effort are:
- Pass a bill in the Oregon legislature to cap carbon emissions and invest in clean energy solutions. For more than a decade, Climate Solutions and many of our allies, including Oregon Environmental Council and Renew Oregon, have been working to put a price on carbon pollution and to invest the money generated into on the ground solutions and into those communities most impacted by climate change. We stand closer to this win than we have at any point in the past 10 years. We are fielding a full-court press to push this bill over the finish line in the 2018 legislative session.
- Pass strong statewide policies in Washington to cut carbon pollution and invest in solutions. Climate Solutions is partnering with the Alliance for Jobs and Clean Energy, The Nature Conservancy, and many others in charting the best pathway for groundbreaking policy wins in 2018. We are organizing across the state to build a diverse movement to give us the power that we need to win large-scale victories. Collectively, we will make a decision about the best path forward later this fall and launch our campaign.
- Build the network for 100% clean local victories. We will continue to build the network of elected officials, diverse coalitions, grassroots activists, and technical experts needed to pass and effectively implement 100% clean policies in cities, counties, ports, and other local jurisdictions.
I feel a powerful certainty that these goals are within our reach, if we stay focused and work diligently. My certainty is renewed by—and not in spite of—the recent calamities that have spread recently across the headlines and across northwest skies. What greater motivation could there be for us to stop making thing worse?
Undoubtedly like some of you, I have friends and family in Texas that have been pummeled by Harvey. I have read with dismay about the unimaginable damage and deaths caused by flooding in South Asia and in Sierra Leone. And like many of you, I have personal connections to the northwest landscapes currently being ravaged by wildfire.
We understand that climate change, hastened by our reliance on fossil fuels, will make such disasters worse and more frequent. That’s why these tragedies must strengthen our resolve to fight for a better future, beyond coal and beyond oil. We need a clean energy future.
For my family in Texas, for the millions of people impacted around the world by flooding, my commitment is stronger than ever to dramatically accelerate the transition to 100% clean energy.
Please join me now in standing up for our vision for 100% clean energy.