The Green New Deal: Can We Both Solve Climate Change and Build the Economy?

Last week Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Senator Ed Markey released details on the ambitious, if potentially divisive, Green New Deal. Whether you agree with it or not, it is catapulting climate change back into the national political conversation.  

What is “The Green New Deal?”

  • The Green New Deal is a plan to address some the biggest issues facing the US: climate change, social justice, and economic inequality. It’s styled after the New Deal of the great depression era, which aimed to fix an economic crisis with public works projects.
    • The resolution aims to offset enough carbon to meet the deadline set by the IPCC recently to avoid the worst effects of climate change.
    • It calls for heavy investment in clean technology and energy efficiency projects.
    • These efforts would focus on areas of the country that previously relied on fossil fuels, as well as rural and poor areas that have historically suffered from pollution.

What Makes it Controversial?

  • Opponents to the plan argue that it’s too expensive and ambitious.
  • There has also been pushback on the resolution’s focus on a social safety net, including union protections, affordable housing, and universal health care.
  • Defenders of the resolution argue that previous American achievements such as going to the moon were also ambitious and thought to be impossible, but they started with a goal and a timeline.
  • Whether you agree with the scope and goals of the Green New Deal or not, at least it has brought the topic of climate change back into public discussion.

Can we Strengthen the Economy by Fighting Climate Change?

  • Skeptics have long argued that transitioning to “greener” technologies would be prohibitively expensive and harm the economy.
  • But in practice, states investing in clean energy have seen an economic boost.
  • There are practical success stories of clean energy addressing pollution and climate change as well as social justice and economic issues.
    • For example, community solar delivers jobs, offsets pollution, and brings financial saving to the communities where the solar farms are installed.
    • Community solar and programs like it are more accessible to people who are not in an economic position to buy or install clean energy individually.

The Green New Deal may be criticized as divisive and ambitious, but the idea that we can boost the economy, address inequality, and fight climate change may not be so far fetched.

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climate change

Climate Change Is Current Threat: Shifting Attitudes in the US

According to a recent survey from Yale and George Mason University, National Geographic reports that the attitudes towards climate change are shifting. A record number of Americans are acknowledging it, and those that believed in it before now see it as a more pressing issue.

What Changed?

  • 60% of respondents acknowledged that humans are responsible for climate change, the highest level for the annual survey since its inception in 2008.
  • Recent wildfires, hurricanes, and extreme temperature swings seem to have left an impression – most (76%) cited “extreme weather events as the most influential factor shifting their views.”

Climate Change: A Current Threat

  • Many respondents who had previously believed in climate change now see it as a pressing current issue, rather than a future threat
  • 51% of respondents said they felt “helpless”
  • A mental health phenomenon called “eco-anxiety” or “climate-anxiety” has become common, especially in areas prone to natural disasters

What’s the Solution?

  • The bright side is that we seem to have reached a tipping point; people have acknowledged the problem and are concerned enough to support solutions
  • Surprisingly, 67% of respondents supported a carbon tax, with the proceeds going to conservation and restoration work
  • Although many people report feelings of anxiety, the best antidote seems to be empowerment through action, especially within your social network
  • Rather than adding costs, some climate solutions are now money-savers as well.

Be Part of the Solution

Join a Community Solar Farm. Fight Climate Change.
Get Guaranteed Electricity Savings.
No Installation.  No investment.

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The Push For 100% Renewables

There’s new blood in the state and federal legislatures, and climate change is at the top of their agenda. Here in MA, fourteen of the twenty four newly sworn in state representatives support aggressive action on climate change. At the federal level, we’ve seen ambitious new proposals and a new committee to address climate change as a top priority.

Massachusetts Fights Climate Change

  • Over half of the incoming state representatives have formed a bipartisan group they’re calling GreenTeamMA
  • The Green Team supports 100% renewable energy sources in Massachusetts by 2050
    • This will be achieved with measures such as carbon pricing and driving up demand for energy sources such as wind and solar
  • They are focussing on a bottom up approach with grassroots action by voters and consumers who are concerned about public health and climate change

The Federal\Climate Crisis Committee

  • The midterm elections saw an infusion of progressive new representatives and a flip to a House controlled by Democrats
  • New members have proposed a “Green New Deal,” an aggressive plan which would combine action on climate change and economic inequality while creating job growth
  • Nancy Pelosi has put together a Climate Change Committee, which has a narrower scope but still emphasizes the importance of preparing for and combating climate change

A key component of all of these plans is encouraging consumers to choose greener options. Legislation is important to level the playing field for clean energy, but there are impactful choices we can make right now to fight climate change, especially here in Massachusetts.

Be Part of the Solution

Join a Community Solar Farm. Fight Climate Change.
Help Make the Electric Grid More Resilient.

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What Customers Are Saying About Community Solar

A Customer’s Perspective – Why Go Community Solar with Relay Power?

Community Solar is a relatively new offering. Many folks have never even heard of it before we introduce it to them. Once they do hear about it, many people like the idea of “shared” or communal solar fields, but are unsure of what joining one entails. So to give some insight, we thought we’d share what our recent customer Matt P. from Beverly had to say about the process and why community solar was a good fit for his family.

  • Everyone Wants to Support Clean Energy – Community Solar helps fight climate change.

“My wife and I had been interested in a cleaner energy option since we bought our house three and a half years ago here in Beverly.”

  • It’s Easy – We know everyone has busy lives, so we keep the process to learn about and join a farm quick and simple.

I had once read about solar energy companies offering the benefits of their cleaner, cost saving energy from “solar farms” that homeowners could tap into which sounded like a good option, but what would the contracts and terms look like for that? …The process was quick and easy. My wife and I both work full time and we have two kids under five, so I’m usually not into things that are time intensive.”

  • No Installation Required – With community solar, the panels are off site, so you don’t have to worry.

“…The way our house is situated on our plot of land with trees surrounding, it was going to be difficult to get maximum capacity out of those panels.  Second the contract that goes along with those panels, at the time, would have made selling our house a bit tricky… Last, I really don’t like the look of roof solar panels, especially on the front roof of a house.”

Guaranteed Savings – Of course Matt didn’t even mention that you save money on your electricity costs – guaranteed.

 

Find out for yourself!

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