California is actively leading in several areas of society, with policies promoting more responsible societal thoughts and actions — and revolutionizing energy generation city by city. The conscientious energy movement already in place there recently gathered more strength due to the tragic, enormous climate and potentially health issues that came from a major methane gas leak in California.
Unwelcome experience pushed progress forward, though. This April, Los Angeles City Council members Paul Krekorian and Mike Bonin coauthored legislation for a fast route to 100% clean electricity for California’s largest city — and the nation’s second-largest city. With an appreciative nod from the Sierra Club, the news reported at 11district.com follows:
“LADWP is on the verge of making significant investments in its infrastructure, and with that 100-year-old power system in need of significant upgrades, the city has an opportunity to re-create its utility in a way that recognizes the potential for a fossil-free future, demonstrates global leadership in its commitment to clean energy, and protects ratepayers from the increasing costs of carbon-based fuels.”
Think Progress, in its coverage, pointed out that cities are a key to addressing climate change. Urban areas are pivotal junctures of progress due to the larger capacity for change with each policy. “Under the current plan, emissions are expected to drop. Under a new plan, they could drop to zero.”
As one example of the “Ready for 100” campaign, the Sierra Club worked with city councillors in a grassroots effort to encourage commitments to 100 percent renewable electricity. “In the United States, 12 cities, including both San Francisco and San Diego, have enacted 100 percent clean energy goals, and four cities are already there.”
The new Los Angeles plan catapulted the movement forward faster than expected, after being launched in January. The Sierra Club’s Michael Brune said there are active campaigns now in dozens of cities. “From Oakland, Calif., to Cleveland, Ohio, Boulder, Miami, Boise — these are all efforts that just got started in the last 90 days,” Brune said. He estimated there would be 50 cities with active campaigns by the end of the year.
Green City to Green City…
Like the tip of an iceberg, this change could be much enlarged — with enormous potential to help stop climate change, and boost economies in the process. A report published last fall found “cities could save themselves $17 trillion by pursuing clean energy options such as increased efficiency with ‘aggressive’ solar installations, and better public transportation.” All of those tactics are part of Garcetti’s Sustainable City pLAn, released last year.
Interdependent, ecological and human health will follow by revolutionizing the way we get out energy — transitioning to renewable, clean sources. LA seems aware of that and interested in being a true leader showing others the way.
Half of the world’s people live in cities. Change catalyzes in large measure city to city. “Cities have a very unique ability to be at once visionary and pragmatic,” Michael Brune, executive director of the Sierra Club continues, “It’s pretty hard to get stuck in dogmatic, ideological thinking when you’re the mayor of a city or you’re on the council.”
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