Just this week, Senate Democrats released a 200+ page Federal climate roadmap they intend to put into action if they take back the majority this November. The full document, The Case for Climate Action: Building a Clean Economy for the American People, calls for a Federal Clean Energy Standard and proposes a variety of means to transition to meet that goal. The piece follows and in some ways mimics another report released by the House Democrats earlier this year, Solving the Climate Crisis: The Congressional Action Plan for a Clean Energy Economy and a Healthy, Resilient, and Just America.
In addition to the recent Federal Democratic push for clean energy policy and action, across the country, we’ve seen cities, school districts, and even utilities enact 100% renewable energy resolutions. Sustainability committees have directed action at the municipal level, 1,000 mayors across the country signed on to a pact to meet the Kyoto protocol targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and governors have continued to enact policies and set clean energy goals for their states. In this same week that Senate Democrats released their roadmap, we witnessed one such example of state-level leadership coming from a Midwestern state: Illinois.
The office of Illinois Governor Pritzker released Putting Consumers & Climate First: Governor Pritzker’s Eight Principles for a Clean & Renewable Illinois Economy. In the report’s introduction, Governor Pritzker argues,
The urgent need to address climate change and create jobs means that now is the time to transition to a clean energy economy. We intend to put Illinois on a path to becoming a national and global leader on clean energy production, and to do so we must significantly expand renewable energy, invest in battery storage, aggressively reduce statewide carbon emissions, and decarbonize the transportation and industrial sectors.
These reports and the surge in state and local climate action are representative of a growing and broader trend: two-thirds of Americans think government should do more on climate. Climate action is increasingly a bipartisan issue, it’s increasingly an economic issue, it’s increasingly a job-creation issue, and it’s increasingly taken on by regional and state-level governmental actors.
Illinois and the entire Midwestern region has the capability to lead the clean energy transition, becoming a national and global leader in clean energy production. We must continue to take state and localized level action. We must continue to work together as an industry, learn from what others are doing, amplify the voices of experts, and educate one another and the public on existing clean energy programs and policies that work. #RiseUpMidwest!
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The Midwest Renewable Energy Association (MREA) is a non-profit organization with the mission to promote renewable energy, energy efficiency, and sustainable living through education and demonstration.