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Tom Steyer: 50% Clean Energy by 2030

Politics

When it comes to climate change and clean energy, America is on the brink of something huge.

Nationally we are seeing clean energy starting to compete head-to-head with fossil fuels—and win. In the first half of 2015, renewables account for more than two-thirds of new electricity generation across the U.S. On a level playing field, these renewable resources are already in many cases the cheapest electricity options for new installations.

This is fantastic news for consumers, but even better news for American jobs. In 2014, the solar industry was the top job creator in the whole energy sector. Over its lifetime, solar creates more than eight times the jobs per megawatt-hour than natural gas or coal. And accelerating the shift to clean energy would lower electricity bills and add millions more good paying jobs right here in the U.S.

The clean energy revolution is finally happening but in order to lead—or even be competitive—we need leaders who are willing to keep pushing the envelope and accelerate the transition to a clean energy economy.

That is why we're calling on candidates and elected officials to demonstrate bold leadership and lay out a clear and concrete plan to achieve at least 50 percent clean or carbon-free energy by 2030. Reaching this goal would more than triple renewable energy in our country—putting us on the pathway to a 100 percent clean energy economy by 2050 and millions of new jobs.

This goal, which should serve as the minimum starting point for candidates and elected officials truly committed to accelerating America's transition to a clean energy economy, will give our businesses the tools they need to do what they do best—innovate, create, and lead the world. More importantly, it will show the American people that our leaders are getting serious about climate change and finally standing up for our kids.

Whether or not candidates make this commitment will be a critical factor for Americans who are deciding what candidates to support at polls. In fact, a recent NextGen Climate poll found that 69 percent of voters in eight battleground states favored powering America with more than 50 percent clean energy by 2030, and with a completely clean energy economy by 2050.

The American public are clamoring for a better future for our kids. American business is ready to lead the way. The jobs are there for the taking. And I expect serious candidates will read the writing on the wall and embrace this tremendous opportunity to put our country on a sustainable path that will promote prosperity for every American.

Smart people across the political spectrum have been considering this question for years, and I'm confident that our leaders will step up to the plate with bold, thoughtful, and concrete plans to turn the global clean energy opportunity into a story of American success.

I can't wait to hear them.

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A volcano erupts on New Zealand's Whakaari/White Island on Dec. 9, 2019. Michael Schade / Twitter

A powerful volcano on Monday rocked an uninhabited island frequented by tourists about 30 miles off New Zealand's coast. Authorities have confirmed that five people died. They expect that number to rise as some are missing and police officials issued a statement that flights around the islands revealed "no signs of life had been seen at any point,", as The Guardian reported.

"Based on the information we have, we do not believe there are any survivors on the island," the police said in their official statement. "Police is working urgently to confirm the exact number of those who have died, further to the five confirmed deceased already."

The eruption happened on New Zealand's Whakaari/White Island, an islet jutting out of the Bay of Plenty, off the country's North Island. The island is privately owned and is typically visited for day-trips by thousands of tourists every year, according to The New York Times.

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At the time of the eruption on Monday, about 50 passengers from the Ovation of Seas were on the island, including more than 30 who were part of a Royal Caribbean cruise trip, according to CNN. Twenty-three people, including the five dead, were evacuated from the island.

The eruption occurred at 2:11 pm local time on Monday, as footage from a crater camera owned and operated by GeoNet, New Zealand's geological hazards agency, shows. The camera also shows dozens of people walking near the rim as white smoke billows just before the eruption, according to Reuters.

Police were unable to reach the island because searing white ash posed imminent danger to rescue workers, said John Tims, New Zealand's deputy police commissioner, as he stood next to Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern in a press conference, as The New York Times reported. Tims said rescue workers would assess the safety of approaching the island on Tuesday morning. "We know the urgency to go back to the island," he told reporters.

"The physical environment is unsafe for us to return to the island," Tims added, as CNN reported. "It's important that we consider the health and safety of rescuers, so we're taking advice from experts going forward."

Authorities have had no communication with anyone on the island. They are frantically working to identify how many people remain and who they are, according to CNN.

Geologists said the eruption is not unexpected and some questioned why the island is open to tourism.

"The volcano has been restless for a few weeks, resulting in the raising of the alert level, so that this eruption is not really a surprise," said Bill McGuire, emeritus professor of geophysical and climate hazards at University College London, as The Guardian reported.

"White Island has been a disaster waiting to happen for many years," said Raymond Cas, emeritus professor at Monash University's school of earth, atmosphere and environment, as The Guardian reported. "Having visited it twice, I have always felt that it was too dangerous to allow the daily tour groups that visit the uninhabited island volcano by boat and helicopter."

The prime minister arrived Monday night in Whakatane, the town closest to the eruption, where day boats visiting the island are docked. Whakatane has a large Maori population.

Ardern met with local council leaders on Monday. She is scheduled to meet with search and rescue teams and will speak to the media at 7 a.m. local time (1 p.m. EST), after drones survey the island, as CNN reported.