Impact Wins: Cities are Embracing Renewable Energy

By: Martha Molfetas

Impact Wins: these days, it can seem like good news rarely happens - especially in relation to climate change and the environment we all rely on. Once a month, you can expect a blog from us that features some good news on climate action and environmental protection.

Right now, 100 cities around the world are predominately using renewable energy to power their grid. This means, they are using renewables to cover at least 70% of all electricity generation. A recent report from CDP showed that one-fifth of the cities who report their energy mix to CDP are currently hitting this mark, with 42 out of those 100 cities using renewable energy for 100% of their energy needs.

Those 100 cities include cities in the US like: Burlington, Vermont; Eugene, Oregon; and Seattle, Washington. Globally, this includes: Dar es Salaam, Tanzania; over 40 cities in Brazil; various EU-cities; and Auckland, New Zealand to name a few.

But where does the US stand?

Since last year, the US Conference of Mayors has been making serious strides for climate action. Right now, over 1,000 Democrat and Republican Mayors have committed to climate action that reduces emissions - including a pledge that aims to have cities across America use 100% renewable energy by 2035.

While in the past, renewables were costly to implement - today they've never been cheaper. In fact, by 2020, renewable energy sources like solar and wind will be within the same price-range as fossil fuels, if not cheaper. This drastic cost drop makes achieving zero emissions a real possibility for cities across the US, and would put us within sight of our Paris Agreement Intended Contributions. A recent report from the Sierra Club showed that if all major cities in the US relied entirely on renewable energy resources, we would meet all our Paris Agreement commitments.

For perspective, if every city in the US Conference of Mayors were to go entirely renewable; it would cut US carbon dioxide emissions by 619 million metric tons. That's basically 34% of total electricity related emissions in the US for 2016. It would be like Texas, Ohio, Florida, Indiana, and Pennsylvania all turned off their emissions producing power plants.

In addition to all that, solar alone employs the most people within the US energy sector. In a 2017 Department of Energy report, solar was found to employ 374,000 people; compared to the 187,000 people employed in coal, natural gas, and oil combined.

It's clear - domestically and globally cities are making large strides to cut emissions, embrace renewable energy, and act on climate change.



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Photo by: Martha Molfetas, featured in Impact Human's project, 'Sandy: [A Retrospective]'