Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Legislators Highlight Need For Clean Energy Solutions In Philadelphia

PennEnvironment Tuesday was joined by Philadelphia-area House and Senate members for a forum promoting clean energy solutions and calling on Pennsylvania to transition to 100 percent renewable energy as quickly as possible.
With record heat waves and torrential downpours hitting the state and wildfires burning across the west coast, PennEnvironment said, the need for clean energy solutions and moving off of fossil fuels to combat climate change could not be any clearer.
“Eliminating the use of fossil fuels here in the Commonwealth would save consumers money, reduce harmful air pollution, and combat climate change,” said Alex Lola, Climate Defender Organizer for Philadelphia at PennEnvironment. “We applaud all of the legislators here today for taking a stand and cosponsoring bipartisan legislation to make Pennsylvania a leader in tackling climate change.”
The members of the General Assembly in attendance all cosponsored legislation in the General Assembly that would require Pennsylvania to transition to 100 percent renewable energy by 2050.
This legislation is House Bill 2132 (Rapp-D-Philadelphia) and Senate Bill 1140 (McIlhinney-R-Bucks).
“I am proud to be the prime sponsor of legislation that would transition Pennsylvania to 100 percent renewable energy by 2050. House Bill 2132 has bipartisan support and would establish a Clean Energy Transition Task Force, a Clean Energy Center of Excellence, and a Council for Clean Energy Workforce Development,” said Rep. Chris Rabb (D-Philadelphia). “The need is clear. While the vast majority of scientists agree that climate change is real, you don’t have to be a scientist to notice its effects. We have seen so many weather extremes in recent years and most recently, heavy flooding in parts of the commonwealth. We need to make Pennsylvania a leader in renewable energy, not a follower.”
The 11 legislators in attendance spoke to the need for clean energy in PA and why they support it. Audience members were also given a chance to ask questions directly to their elected officials.
Following the forum, citizens had the opportunity to meet with the legislators and have more in-depth, personal discussions about renewable energy and tackling climate change here in the Commonwealth.
“I am excited to join my colleagues and PennEnvironment for their 100 percent Renewable Energy social.   You do not need to be a climate scientist to know that our days (and our nights) are getting hotter and that our climate is getting more volatile,” said Rep. Jared Solomon (D-Philadelphia). “The impacts of these changes fall hardest on the most vulnerable – the elderly and the poor especially.  The question is what we are going to do about it? It is time that Pennsylvanians of all walks of life – whether on Bustleton Avenue or Butler County – come together to take a stand.”
“Our planet has a finite amount of resources and we have to transition away from non-renewable sources to reduce pollution and the strain on our environment,” Sen. Vincent Hughes (D-Philadelphia) said. “What’s more, tens of thousands of Pennsylvanians are employed in clean energy and the energy efficiency sector in Pennsylvania, and the transition to renewables will bolster the creation of future jobs. It is time for Pennsylvania to be a leader in energy again by transitioning to renewable energy for the sake of our environment, our health and safety and our economy, and I’m happy to work with this coalition to help make that happen in the Commonwealth.”
Pennsylvania currently has over 86,000 jobs in the clean energy sector, a number which will only climb as the Commonwealth continues to invest in renewable energy. Despite Pennsylvania’s long standing history in fossil fuel extraction, the clean energy sector now has more jobs than all fossil fuel sectors combined.
Tuesday’s event showed the strong economic potential from transitioning to 100 percent renewable energy.
“I am happy to be standing with my colleagues and advocates to support Senate Bill 1140, “ said Sen. Larry Farnese (D-Philadelphia). “With climate change and environmental pollution on the rise, we must act to protect our natural resources so future generations can live happy, healthy lives.”
The event attendees and elected officials committed to continue working together to fight climate change and bring about a 100 percent renewable energy future, helping to ensure a livable climate for future generations of Pennsylvanians.
“Climate change is the most challenging issue we face. Compounding the peril is the refusal to acknowledge the danger we face as a nation and as a planet.” said Rep. Brian Sims (D-Philadelphia).  “We need to act boldly and implement dramatic changes in our policies to ensure we do not jeopardize the health and safety of countless future generations. We must meet this challenge head-on and transition to 100 percent renewable energy sources.”
PennEnvironment is holding events like this throughout the Delaware Valley to educate local residents and elected officials, and to increase activism and engagement in the fight against climate change.
The comment period on DEP’s proposed Finding PA’s Solar Future plan to increase solar electric generation to 10 percent of Pennsylvania’s electric consumption by 2030 just closed August 20.
(Photo: Elizabethtown College 2.6-megawatt solar PV system, Lancaster County.)

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