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100% renewable is 100% possible

By Emily Scarr
State Director

Today we submitted this testimony on Delegate Shane Robinson's HB878 for 100 percent clean, renewable energy by 2035.

 

HB878 - Public Utilities - Renewable Energy - Electric and Gas Bills (100% Clean Renewable Energy Equity Act of 2018)
March 5th 2018
Economic Matters

Position: Favorable

Maryland PIRG is a state based, citizen funded public interest advocacy organization with grassroots members across the state and a student funded, student directed chapter at the University of Maryland College Park. For forty years we’ve stood up to powerful interests whenever they threaten our health and safety, our financial security, or our right to fully participate in our democratic society.

We support HB878, the 100% Clean Renewable Energy Equity Act of 2018. 

This bill would put Maryland on a path to get all of our energy from clean, renewable sources like solar and wind in the coming decades. Through this legislation, we can protect our health from dangerous pollution while helping to avoid the worst impacts of climate change.

Burning oil, gas, trash and coal has not only polluted our air, water and land for decades. Now it’s changing our climate even faster than scientists feared it would. We can have healthier communities right now and a livable future for kids growing up today. But to get there, we need to transform the way we produce and consume energy.

That’s why we are supporting the 100% Clean Renewable Energy Equity Act to set a goal of 100 percent renewable electricity by 2035. 

It’s a big, bold goal, one that would continue Maryland’s leadership in the race toward a cleaner, healthier future — and it’s a goal that’s 100% possible.

Going 100% renewable is 100% possible 

Across the country, the movement for 100 percent renewable energy is growing. More than 40 cities have committed to 100 percent renewable energy or 100 percent renewable electricity targets. In fact, some cities, like Greensburg, Kansas, Burlington, Vermont, and Aspen, Colorado, have already achieved 100% renewable energy.

Major companies including Amazon, Johnson & Johnson, and IKEA have committed to 100 percent renewable energy, and Google expects to source all of its electricity from renewable sources this year.

What's more, solar power has tripled in America in just the last two years — with a new home or business going solar every one and a half minutes. In many states, wind power is now cheaper than gas or coal. Clean energy keeps growing faster, with prices dropping lower than even the most optimistic industry predictions.

But we can do more, and we must do more to stave off the worst effects of climate change.

We need to act now.

We are already seeing the effects of global warming, and with more than 3,000 miles of shoreline, Maryland is especially vulnerable to both sea-level rise and more intense tropical storms. 

Achieving 100 percent renewable energy is an ambitious goal, but it’s a necessary one if we are going to avoid the worst impacts of climate change. Scientists say that industrialized nations need to reduce their carbon emissions to near-zero by the middle of this century to ensure a safe, livable future. For states like Maryland that have historically led the way, we should aim to achieve zero emissions even sooner.

The 100% Clean Renewable Energy Equity Act (HB878) would complement and strengthen our existing climate and clean energy policies, while speeding up our progress. 

Protecting Public Health

Getting to 100 percent renewable energy will help to protect our health. Particulate matter and smog-forming pollution from fossil fuels are contributing to asthma, cardiovascular disease, and premature death. With asthma rates well above the national average, we owe it to our children, the elderly, and other vulnerable populations to find a way to power our society that doesn’t pollute our air and harm our health.

It’s time to sweep past the big energy interests — from Big Oil and gas companies to utilities companies — that are not only standing in the way, but using their financial might and political clout to roll back renewable energy’s progress.

Environment Maryland and Maryland PIRG support HB878, and we urge a favorable report.

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