New State Reps Champion 100% Renewable Power

Monday, January 7, 2019 (Listed under Environment)

‘Environmental revolution' is a term that conjures images of activists taking to the streets to fight oil pipelines cutting through fragile ecosystems, of organizers scaling buildings to unfurl protest banners in plain view of oil summit attendees and of journalists exposing sloppy oil and gas operations in the jungles of nations whose indigenous people eagerly barter access for the promise of future electricity.

Sometimes, though, environmental revolution can be a tidier affair.

Such was the case in the 1970s, when groundbreaking legislative victories were drafted and passed by bipartisan colleagues led by Sen. Edmund Muskie, a democrat from Maine, and Sen. Howard H. Baker, a republican from Tennessee. Regularly working late into the night at the White House, framing the Clean Air and Clean Water Act Amendments of 1970 and 1972, these lawmakers had a bold vision: no more U.S. cities shrouded in smog. No more rivers catching on fire due to toxic dumping of chemicals.

A half century later, today's political mavericks include members of the 2018 first-year class of Massachusetts State Representatives, sworn into office on January 2, 2019. They are laser-focused on addressing what they see as a "clear and present danger" caused by a planet that heating up at an alarming rate. 

More than half of the first term legislators are working together as members of GreenTeamMA, a bitpartisan, cross-cultural movement to unlock and deploy MA's 100% renewable energy potential. 

The newley-elected Reps have agreed to refuse campaign contributions from fossil fuel PACs, they support carbon pricing, and they'll be working with constituents to drive enthusiasm for new wind, solar and water-powered energy projects, leveraging the public's growing demand for a renewable future. “Climate is not changing by the century or decade. It is changing by the months and days,” said Rep. Lindsay Sabadosa, who added that “a swift shift to renewables is required to meet the epic challenges of a warming atmosphere and its myriad consequences for both rural and urban communities.”

GreenTeamMA colleagues are championing a movement to quickly move beyond the obfuscation and distraction of climate deniers and catapult Massachusetts forward to a clean energy future which is within the State's technological and economic grasp. 

The wind and the sun are, for all practical purposes, inexhaustible resources that can power the planet, according to Stanford University's Mark Z. Jacobson, a professor of atmospheric science and the lead scientist behind The Solutions Project, a non-profit organization that promotes renewable energy solutions.

Jacobson has mapped how 50 states and 139 countries could reach 100% renewable power by 2050. His models reveal a dynamic, renewable energy future for a large portion of the globe, drawing on each region's unique wind, solar and water power assets. “There's no scientific or technological barrier involved. The barriers are strictly political,” Jacobson said.

Observing Jacobson's blueprint for Massachusetts, one experiences a kind of Wizard-of-Oz cinematic magic. Just as the 1939 film shifts from black and white to full Technicolor upon crossing the threshold into Oz, Jacobson's graphics display a transition from fossil fuels to spinning wind turbines, glimmering solar panels, wave buoys and tidal energy devices. Jacobson's model keeps fossil fuels in the ground while harnessing the full potential of renewables to energize the State.  

Get up to speed on the MA State Reps who will be working to transition Massachusetts to a more sustainable state in my story published in DeSmogBlog. And be sure to check out Jacobson's blueprint for a renewably powered Bay State. 

See my other enegy stories in HuffPost. 


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