On November 30, U.S. Congressional Progressive Caucus introduced a House Resolution calling for near-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, generating 50% of the country’s electricity from renewable sources by 2030 and transitioning to 100% renewable energy by 2050.
This House Resolution has been put forward because the climate science is clear and the time to act is now. Human activities have driven the atmospheric concentration of heat-trapping gases off the chart. While anthropogenic activities do not constitute the sole cause of a changing climate, decades of unbridled fossil fuel consumption has intensified the changes to a point where chaos and uncertainty have become “the characteristics of the natural world under the pressures being wrought by climate change,” writes Mark Schapiro, senior correspondent at the Center for Investigative Reporting in his latest book Carbon Shock.
The impact of such shocks has compelled representatives from over 190 countries to convene at the 21st annual meeting of the Parties of Conferences (COP21) to reach a binding global climate agreement.
While challenges remain significant, especially when it comes to mobilizing 100 billion U.S. dollars by 2020 to finance emissions mitigation and climate adaptation implementation, climate commitments in the forms of 158 Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) (reflecting 185 countries and covering around 94% of global emissions in 2010) and ambitious new initiatives keep hopes high.
The Resolution expresses the sense of the House of Representatives that the U.S. should support policies that strive for ambitious targets for emissions reduction, clean energy development, green job creation, sustainable development, which in turn will collectively promote national economic competitiveness and national security and avoid adverse impacts of the changing climate.
As a path to reach the 2050 near-zero greenhouse gas emissions target, the House Resolution will support the nation’s energy supply strategy shifting from fossil fuel to 100 percent clean and renewable energy. 100% renewable energy may seem ambitious and distant for some, but a growing network of forward-thinking cities have already led the way and demonstrated that it’s feasible. In fact, cities like Aspen, Colorado and Burlington, Vermont are already running on 100 percent renewable energy.
The Resolution also calls for policies that enhance the U.S. climate collaboration with international organizations and nations to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions to prevent catastrophic impacts from global climate change.