24 Jul 2015
NextGen Climate Founder and President Tom Steyer called on candidates and elected officials to tackle climate change head-on and lay out a plan to power our country with more than 50 percent clean energy by 2030 and put us on a path to a completely clean energy economy by 2050.
“Our country needs bold leaders who will lay out a plan to achieve more than 50 percent clean energy by 2030, putting us on the pathway to a completely clean energy economy by 2050 and millions of new jobs,” said NextGen Climate President and Founder Tom Steyer. “This ambitious—but achievable—goal will accelerate America’s transition to a clean energy economy, improve public heath by reducing pollution, lower energy costs for families and businesses, create jobs here at home, spur innovation and drive our country’s economic growth for decades.”
Climate change is the defining challenge of our time. Left unchecked, it will have devastating effects on our economy and national security. But by transitioning from outdated fossil fuels to modern clean energy technologies, we can prevent these disastrous consequences and build a stronger economy with more and better jobs. This transition is not only possible, it is already underway: renewable energy sources like wind and solar are increasingly competitive with fossil fuels on cost, and installed capacity is growing rapidly as businesses and consumers lead the way forward. As a result, clean energy jobs are significantly outpacing fossil fuels jobs, with solar jobs growing 20 times faster than the broader economy. Surpassing more than 50% clean energy will require the nation to more than triple the amount of renewable energy we currently have by 2030.
California’s success shows the way forward: under landmark climate legislation, our economy is growing while we reduce carbon pollution, with more than 430,000 people employed by advanced energy businesses, a number projected to grow by 17 percent this year.
But the deck is still stacked against clean energy and the economic growth it can spur—government subsidies and preferential treatment for fossil fuel polluters stifle innovation and slow our shift away from the outdated energy sources of the past. Our next president must act boldly to accelerate the transition to clean energy by implementing a concrete plan to achieve more than 50 percent clean energy by 2030. Just as computers and the internet revolutionized our economy over the past few decades, economists and scientists say that moving to clean energy sources will create jobs, save lives by reducing pollution, and drive the kind of economic growth that benefits all Americans. The global race for climate solutions and clean energy is already underway. The question for the public is whether the United States will seize this opportunity to lead, or be left behind as other nations reap the economic benefits.
In the coming weeks, NextGen Climate will engage the public on the need for strong leadership that will accelerate our transition to a clean energy economy. A recent NextGen Climate poll found that 69% of voters in eight battleground states responded favorably to powering America with more than 50 percent clean energy by 2030 and a completely clean energy economy by 2050; only 8 percent responded unfavorably.
NextGen Climate released a new video “The Time is Now” and white paper “The Economic Case for Clean Energy,” highlighting how the transition to clean energy is already underway—and why our leaders must seize this opportunity and prioritize policies that build a clean energy economy.
The power grid and American businesses are already shifting towards clean, low-cost energy sources. The Energy Information Agency estimates that the Clean Power Plan will help put the United States on a path to using 43 percent clean energy by 2030, including wind, solar, hydropower and existing nuclear power. A target of more than 50 percent clean energy by 2030 will require full implementation of the Clean Power Plan, as well as new policies and investments in clean energy to accelerate this much-needed transition.