Confronting Climate Change Means Changing How We Power our Nation

Renewable Electricity Standard Act Would Put the United States on Target to Achieve Net-Zero Carbon Emissions in the Energy Sector by 2050

Washington, DC – Eliminating carbon emissions to combat greater effects of a rapidly changing climate is vital to ensure the health and prosperity of our lands, people, wildlife and economy. The Renewable Electricity Standard Act of 2019, introduced today by Senator Tom Udall, puts the United States on a path to carbon-free electricity by 2050 through a practical, but ambitious strategy to deploy renewable energy in every state.

“Significant, rapid expansion of responsibly built and sited renewable energy is essential to protecting people and wildlife alike from the effects of climate change. The recent UN-backed report on nearly a million species of wildlife facing extinction worldwide only underscores why we cannot wait any longer to take major action,” said Shannon Heyck-Williams, director of climate and energy policy, National Wildlife Federation. “The world’s scientists are sounding the alarm — and Congress should heed those warnings by pursing a carbon-free electricity standard.

“Sen. Udall’s proposal will help our country meet that goal, with tremendous economic and environmental benefits for all, including vulnerable communities.”

The cost of wind and solar has fallen by more than 70 percent over the last decade, making renewable energy competitive with natural gas plants in many regions of the United States. In the last year alone we’ve seen major offshore wind commitments from Atlantic states. According to the Department of Energy, the United States has a technical potential of more than 2,000 gigawatts (GW) from offshore wind, or nearly double the nation’s current electricity use.

In addition to putting the US on target to achieve 50 percent electricity from renewable resources by 2035 and 100 percent by 2050, the bill specifically supports the development of these resources in Native American and other vulnerable communities, reinforcing the key point that all people must benefit from climate solutions.

The IPCC 2018 special report makes clear the need to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by mid-century. The Renewable Electricity Standard Act of 2019 would make tremendous progress toward that goal.

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