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Dispatch from Netroots: The 100% Clean Energy Revolution

As Frontier Group’s managing director, I spend most days behind the scenes, editing reports, articulating policy positions, and strategizing and developing campaign ideas with our staff. But recently, I spent an unusual day at the Netroots Nation conference (held this year in downtown Philadelphia), moderating a panel discussion on one of my favorite topics: 100% clean energy.

The panel, The 100% Clean Energy Revolution: Paths to Victory in the States, was organized by our partner group, Environment America. It featured President Emeritus of the California State Senate Kevin de León (lead author and champion of California’s landmark 100% clean energy legislation, which became law in September 2018); Pennsylvania State Representative Chris Rabb, lead author of his state’s 100% clean energy bill; David Masur, director of PennEnvironment (an Environment America affiliate), which is leading the organizing campaign on the issue; and Rev. Greg Holston of POWER, an interfaith social justice organization of congregations across Southeastern and Central Pennsylvania that has played a major role in the campaign.

Renewable energy has made enormous strides over the last few years, as you’ll see in our upcoming report, Renewables on the Rise (due out late in August), and is one of the few bright lights against the dark background of climate change. State campaigns calling for 100% clean energy before 2050 have become the standard for action, spreading across the nation with heartening speed and success. 

Leading with a bold vision of a fossil fuel-free future and supporting that vision with goal-setting, a tested mechanism for instigating change, these campaigns have kicked off a new era of state action to forestall climate change.  In 2019 alone, Environment America and its state affiliates have helped win laws calling for 100% clean energy in New Mexico, Washington State and Maine, and are actively working in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Massachusetts and other states to replicate this success. 

I opened the panel with a short slide presentation about the power of state goals of 100% clean energy to fight climate change, and the evidence that goal-setting helps achieve that end. The group discussed the victory of Environment California and coalition partners on the “Left Coast,” then shifted to the current debate in the decidedly purple state of Pennsylvania, teasing out similarities and differences. The result was a lively and informative hour, revealing not only insider perspectives but the personal resolve of parents on the panel -- and across the nation -- to work toward a better future for their children.   

You can watch the full panel discussion here.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on the power of 100% clean energy.  Post comments on Environment America’s Facebook page or contact me at susan@frontiergroup.org

Image: Susan Rakov, right, at the 2019 Netroots Nation conference in Philadelphia.