WASHINGTON – The Green New Deal legislation coming before Congress should commit to transitioning the entire U.S. electricity grid to 100 percent renewable energy sources no later than 2035, said Environmental Working Group.
EWG today joined more than 600 public interest groups in embracing an ambitious and achievable set of proposals urging lawmakers to pass visionary legislation that will set the nation on course to use only clean, safe, zero-emissions sources of energy in less than two decades.
“The path to a future free of dirty energy, where the nation’s electricity is powered entirely by renewable sources, is before us today,” said EWG President Ken Cook. “The technology is here, and it is now a matter of our elected leaders summoning the political will and courage to stand up to the fossil fuel lobby. The climate crisis, including the severe health hazards of dirty and unsafe energy sources, demands our full commitment and extreme urgency.”
On Thursday, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) and Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) released a proposed non-binding resolution outlining a framework for legislation they have labeled the Green New Deal. EWG is joining the diverse coalition of groups that last week sent a letter to Congress outlining principles for legislation needed to head off catastrophic levels of global warming.
Among the proposals:
- Immediately halt the leasing or selling of federal lands for fossil fuel drilling and mining operations by industry.
- End all federal subsidies and other financial incentives related to dirty energy interests, including oil, coal, nuclear, waste incineration and biomass energy.
- Transition the U.S. energy supply to 100 percent renewable sources by 2035, and transform the electricity grid to be decentralized and efficient, incorporating battery storage and distributed systems of energy that give ratepayers more control.
- Greatly expand all federal credits for electric vehicles, phase out all fossil fuel combustible engine vehicles and ramp up federal investments in public transportation powered by renewables.
- Deploy the full powers of the landmark Clean Air Act by adopting stringent deadlines for pollution reduction and providing the Environmental Protection Agency with ample and sustained resources for carrying out its authority under the act.
- Support for fenceline communities who have shouldered the public health burden of living near and working in the dirty energy sector.
- Adopt a comprehensive plan that heavily invests in job growth and a new green economy.
- Ramp up green infrastructure spending to retrofit buildings and homes with technologies that conserve energy.
A recent analysis by EWG, first published on the energy industry news site Utility Dive, countered the tired, old arguments of the “all of the above” crowd – those who say the U.S. should continue to use natural gas and nuclear reactors, which are neither clean nor safe. Citing U.S. and international studies that say the rapid transition to 100 percent clean, safe and renewable sources is possible, EWG concluded:
We’d say 100% renewables is an idea whose time has come – except that the transition should have started decades ago. Now there’s no time to lose. The nation that put a man on the moon in less than 10 years can do this, but only if we start now.
The Environmental Working Group is a nonprofit, non-partisan organization that empowers people to live healthier lives in a healthier environment. Through research, advocacy and unique education tools, EWG drives consumer choice and civic action.