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Moving Towards 100% Renewable Energy: Drivers Behind City Policies and Pledges

Martinez, Hayley; DeFrancia, Kelsie; Schroder, Alix

As the U.S. federal government retreats from energy and environmental regulation, local and regional efforts across the United States are scaling up. Cities, in particular, are intensifying their commitments to fight climate change and are playing an increasingly important role in the sustainability of the planet. Energy is at the center of the sustainability challenge, as it is both central to modern life and causes environmental and socio-economic damages through our dependence on fossil fuels. Cities are beginning to understand the importance of a renewable energy economy to maintain a healthy living environment for their communities, as well as to ensure the future sustainability of these communities.

One way cities are demonstrating their energy priorities is by pledging to transition to 100% renewable energy by 2050 under the Sierra Club’s ‘Ready for 100’ campaign. This paper will survey 56 cities that have made community-wide commitments to 100% renewable energy, over half of which have pledged since just 2016, analyzing the primary motivations for these pledges, including but not limited to: financial and economic opportunity; public health; environmental preservation; climate goals and action plans; and lack of federal action. It will also examine the structure of these commitments, tools used for implementation, political challenges, and the importance of collective efforts in meeting environmental goals.

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More About This Work

Academic Units
Earth Institute
Published Here
December 10, 2019