What’s next for Power Up for Climate Solutions
In 2022, Power Up for Climate Solutions will be providing resources for decarbonizing at home and in your community, and building resilience in the face of growing climate instability. We will be placing less emphasis on national and international climate policy action. The reasons for this shift are explained below, and we hope you will find our new direction useful in this time of growing accessibility of clean energy techologies and increasingly catastrophic and frequent climate disasters.
The world has changed dramatically in the last few years. Three truths about the moment we live in inspire our new focus on direct decarbonization and building resilience.
First, technological and economic barriers to a clean energy transition have lowered dramatically for Americans in middle and higher income brackets. The speed of technological and economic changes in clean energy has outpaced even optimistic predictions, and as a result, decarbonizing home energy and transportation is feasible at a personal and local scale for many of us. The impacts of climate change fall most heavily on those least responsible, harming the most vulnerable among us. We will be encouraging those who have some privilege to begin decarbonizing or to help others afford to do so.
Renewable resources generated only 19 percent of US electricity in 2020, but climate experts and modelers increasingly contend that a 100 percent renewable energy grid by 2050 is “not only feasible but can be done without any blackouts and at a lower cost than the existing grid” (Nikita Amir, “The US could reliably run on clean energy by 2050”). We will be providing tools for you to contribute to this transition.
Second, the climate crisis is here now. The speed of warming and the magnitude of climate-fueled disasters has touched everyone I know in recent years. In 2021 alone, the US experienced twenty major weather disasters as defined by NOAA. These included the February winter storms causing the power grid in Texas to fail; a severe and widespread drought in the West; the Bootleg and Dixie fires in California, so bad they generated their own weather; Hurricane Ida; the historic and deadly heat dome centered over Oregon, Washington, and Canada; and the Midwest derecho and tornado outbreak in December with more than fifty tornados. The imperative to strengthen our resilience in our homes, our food systems, and our communities to deal with climate instability is urgent.
Third, our political system has failed to head off a worsening climate crisis that threatens everything we need to survive and thrive. As Ezra Klein succinctly observed, “Decades of climate activism have gotten millions of people into the streets but they haven’t turned the tide on emissions, or even investments.” National politics in the US are more toxic and our culture is more divided than at any other time in my lifetime; the odds of major climate policy being enacted by Congress in 2022 appear minuscule. I believe the biggest opportunities for climate progress right now are in other arenas.
The resources we will be sharing will offer ways to contribute to the clean energy transition and guidance for building resilience at home and in your community. Examples may include individual, community, and business clean energy programs; regenerative agriculture; clean electrification resources; electric vehicle information; information on divestment from fossil fuel companies; and climate resilience resources. I hope that the resources and ideas we share will provide support and allow you to find ways to contribute to a clean energy transition, become more resilient in your home and your community, and help create a safer, more peaceful, more equitable world.