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118 U.S. Mayors Endorse 100% Renewable Energy Goals

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118 U.S. Mayors Endorse 100% Renewable Energy Goals
Mayors for 100% Clean Energy

The Sierra Club released a new analysis Friday that found that transitioning all 1,400+ U.S. Conference of Mayors member-cities to 100 percent clean and renewable electricity will significantly reduce electric sector carbon pollution nationwide and help the U.S. towards meeting the goals of the Paris climate agreement.


According to the Sierra Club analysis, if cities belonging to the U.S. Conference of Mayors were to move to 100 percent clean and renewable electricity, it would reduce electric sector carbon emissions by more than that of the five worst carbon polluting U.S. states combined. If the 100 percent energy targets were achieved by 2025, the total electric sector carbon pollution reductions would fill anywhere from 87 percent to 110 percent of the remaining reductions the U.S. would need to achieve in order to meet the goals of the Paris agreement.

The analysis of National Renewable Energy Laboratory and Energy Information Administration data comes before the start of the U.S. Conference of Mayors annual meeting in Miami Beach, from June 23-26, where members will consider a resolution that would establish support for the goal of 100 percent clean, renewable energy in cities nationwide.

In addition, the Sierra Club's Ready for 100 campaign and the co-chairs of Mayors for 100% Clean Energy announced Friday that 118 mayors across the country have endorsed a goal of powering their communities with 100 percent clean, renewable energy such as wind and solar.

The Mayors for 100% Clean Energy initiative is co-chaired by Mayor Philip Levine of Miami Beach, Mayor Jackie Biskupski of Salt Lake City, Mayor Kevin Faulconer of San Diego and Mayor Stephen K. Benjamin of Columbia, South Carolina. Benjamin is also a vice president of the U.S. Conference of Mayors.

"It's up to us as leaders to creatively implement clean energy solutions for our cities across the nation. It's not merely an option now; it's imperative," said Mayor Benjamin. "Cities and mayors can lead the transition away from fossil fuels to 100 percent clean and renewable energy."

Mayoral endorsements of 100 percent renewable energy have led to ambitious action in municipalities across the U.S. The mayors of St. Petersburg, Florida and Abita Springs, Louisiana issued proclamations endorsing a goal of transitioning to 100 percent clean and renewable energy, followed by the formal adoption of a community-wide goal establishing 100 percent clean, renewable energy as the target for city energy planning.

"In San Diego, we brought business and environmental groups together to advance a goal of 100 percent renewable energy," said Mayor Faulconer. "It makes sense for mayors across the country to work together because when we talk about the future of our planet, we're talking about the future of our communities."

Salt Lake City recently released its Climate Positive 2040 plan which details the specific steps and policies the city will pursue with Rocky Mountain Power to achieve the goal of 100 percent clean, renewable energy by 2032.

Thirty-six cities across the U.S. have now committed to transition to 100 percent clean and renewable energy. This growing list of cities most recently includes Columbia, South Carolina, which this week unanimously voted to transition entirely to clean, renewable energy by 2036. Other cities including Los Angeles and Denver are studying pathways to 100 percent clean energy.

"We can't ignore climate change because climate change is not ignoring us," said Mayor Biskupski. "Cities must adapt to cope with the threats of climate change, and that's also why we must take action to mitigate them. Salt Lake City has set the ambitious but achievable goals of generating 100 percent of the community's electricity supply from renewable energy by 2032, followed by an 80 percent reduction in community greenhouse gas emissions by 2040. We are taking action to achieve these goals and I am honored to join mayors from across our nation to lead the transition to clean, renewable energy."

A plume of smoke from wildfires burning in the Angeles National Forest is seen from downtown Los Angeles on Aug. 29, 2009 in Los Angeles, California. Kevork Djansezian / Getty Images

California is bracing for rare January wildfires this week amid damaging Santa Ana winds coupled with unusually hot and dry winter weather.

High winds, gusting up to 80- to 90 miles per hour in some parts of the state, are expected to last through Wednesday evening. Nearly the entire state has been in a drought for months, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor, which, alongside summerlike temperatures, has left vegetation dry and flammable.

Utilities Southern California Edison and PG&E, which serves the central and northern portions of the state, warned it may preemptively shut off power to hundreds of thousands of customers to reduce the risk of electrical fires sparked by trees and branches falling on live power lines. The rare January fire conditions come on the heels of the worst wildfire season ever recorded in California, as climate change exacerbates the factors causing fires to be more frequent and severe.

California is also experiencing the most severe surge of COVID-19 cases since the beginning of the pandemic, with hospitals and ICUs over capacity and a stay-at-home order in place. Wildfire smoke can increase the risk of adverse health effects due to COVID, and evacuations forcing people to crowd into shelters could further spread the virus.

As reported by AccuWeather:

In the atmosphere, air flows from high to low pressure. The setup into Wednesday is like having two giant atmospheric fans working as a team with one pulling and the other pushing the air in the same direction.
Normally, mountains to the north and east of Los Angeles would protect the downtown which sits in a basin. However, with the assistance of the offshore storm, there will be areas of gusty winds even in the L.A. Basin. The winds may get strong enough in parts of the basin to break tree limbs and lead to sporadic power outages and sparks that could ignite fires.
"Typically, Santa Ana winds stay out of downtown Los Angeles and the L.A. Basin, but this time, conditions may set up just right to bring 30- to 40-mph wind gusts even in those typically calm condition areas," said AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Mike Doll.

For a deeper dive:

AP, LA Times, San Francisco Chronicle, Washington Post, Weather Channel, AccuWeather, New York Times, Slideshow: New York Times; Climate Signals Background: Wildfires, 2020 Western wildfire season

For more climate change and clean energy news, you can follow Climate Nexus on Twitter and Facebook, sign up for daily Hot News, and visit their news site, Nexus Media News.

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