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American Clean Energy Agenda: Let’s Move Beyond Business as Usual

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

As we welcome a new U.S. Secretary of Energy, we want followers of Enviroblog to know more about EWG’s partnership with the Civil Society Institute and our work in the energy field, especially when it comes to grassroots organizing and mobilization. Alarmed by current U.S. energy policy, 60 Americans from grassroots organizations all over the country came together in the spring of 2012 and again in 2013 in Cambridge, Mass., to explore alternatives to the dangerous and misleading course taken by industry and the nation’s political leaders. In days of intense discussion, they came up with the “American Clean Energy Agenda,” nine principles to put us on a course toward truly renewable, non-polluting energy. In this, the first of a series, we focus on Principle 1:

“We must generate the political will to create a sustainable healthy energy future by 2030 by accelerating the phase-out of nuclear power, natural gas, coal and industrial biomass and driving a grand transition to efficient use of renewable, non-polluting resources.”

For the sake of our children, our children’s children and even ourselves, America’s reliance on unhealthy, dirty and outdated energy sources such as coal, natural gas nuclear must end. It’s time to make a historic shift to safe, renewable energy sources and meaningful energy efficiency.

In order to bring about this essential transition, we need to generate the kind of grassroots pressure and support that will give Washington the political will to move from obsolete and damaging fuels to truly clean energy.

Big energy businesses and their moneyed lobbyists want us to believe that we are powerless and cannot compete with their slick media campaigns and vast government relations apparatus. It’s time to prove them wrong. As we learned from a 2012 national survey by ORC International, the vast majority of Americans – regardless of political affiliation – want the U.S. to make clean energy a national priority. 

We’re part of that majority.

The American public wants clean energy and gets that we can change course. Last year, Synapse Energy Economics, a leading research and consulting firm, published a report that demonstrated that it is entirely feasible to completely retire coal as a fuel source for electricity generation by 2050. The study, “Toward a Sustainable Future for the U.S. Power Sector: Beyond Business as Usual 2011,” showed that focusing on efficiency and renewables, along with a modest increase in gas use for power generation, would make it possible to eliminate coal and reduce reliance on nuclear power by 23 percent, putting the nation on the right energy track and saving $83 billion over 40 years. The results were clear. We can have a truly clean energy future, but only if we speak up and demand it.

Take a look around where you live. Are there coal plants or slurry tanks nearby? Is there a nuclear power plant within 30 miles? Is natural gas fracking taking place in your state? Do oil, gas or similar pipelines, which can fail and spill, run through your area?

These dirty and dangerous energy sources can and should be phased out in favor of clean, safe, renewable options. To that end, we are coming together to urge our lawmakers and government officials to reject expansion of these outdated, dangerous and harmful energy sources. We are raising our voices, and we are supporting leaders who promote and follow through with decisive actions to promote clean, renewable energy sources.

A clean energy future by 2030 is achievable, but we have only a few years to generate the political will in Washington to change course and get our nation on the right track. We are committed to mobilizing a popular movement that puts health and safety at the forefront as we carve out a clear path to “America’s Clean Energy Future.” We are working together to empower our communities to stand up, speak their minds and hold local, state and national leaders accountable. Our fight has never been more important.

A truly clean energy future is the only way to meet the public needs of an electric generating system that is affordable, reliable, reduces pollution, enhances public health, preserves our water resources and efficiently and responsibly mitigates global warming.

We need you to join with us. Visit to learn more.

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