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Concentration of CO2 in the Atmosphere

The Start of the Deals

by Michael Brune, Sierra Club’s Executive Director

No matter how much Andrew Wheeler, Mitch McConnell, and corporate polluters might wish it would go away, the Green New Deal shows no sign of fading from our political discourse, and here’s why: At its heart, the Green New Deal is more than a legislative agenda. It’s a potent and simple idea: We must take climate action now, and we can make people’s lives better by doing so. Powerful messages like that can’t be ignored. Great ideas whose time has come will propagate, strengthen, and ultimately become reality.

That’s already begun to happen with the Green New Deal, and the proof is that we’re seeing its ideals reflected in strong and ambitious climate and energy policies at the state and municipal levels, such as the groundbreaking 100% clean energy bill in Washington State that Governor Jay Inslee signed this month and a bill which passed Colorado’s House and Senate that directs all utilities in the state to reduce carbon emissions 80% by 2030 and to achieve 100% carbon-free electricity generation by 2050.

One of the most exciting of these miniature Green New Deals was announced by Los Angeles mayor Eric Garcetti this month in Los Angeles. It’s actually called Green New Deal for Los Angeles, and what it lacks in imaginative nomenclature it more than makes up for with environmental and economic goals that reflect the ideals of its namesake.

The plan mandates that all new municipally owned buildings and major renovations be all-electric and that every building in Los Angeles be emission-free by 2050. By the mid 2030s, at least 80% of the city’s electricity will come from renewable sources, and 80% of its cars will run on electricity or zero-emission fuel. Fun, fun, fun fact: Los Angeles County has approximately 6.5 million cars, so we’re looking at 5 million emission-free vehicles.

One of the most impressive things about the plan is that it looks not just at how L.A. can be a climate leader but also at how doing that will improve the lives of everyone who lives there. Cleaner air for Los Angeles doesn’t just mean that Angelenos will be able to see the nearby mountains year-round; hundreds of lives will be saved every year. And economically, the plan aims to increase green investment within the city while also setting ambitious targets for new green jobs: 400,000 of them by 2050.

There’s more — a lot more — and you can read all of the inspiring details here.

reprinted from Sierra Club Insider. Click here to see original posting.

Michael Brune is the executive director of the Sierra Club, the largest grassroots environmental organization in the United States. You can email him at michael.brune@sierraclub.org and follow him on Twitter (@bruneski) and Facebook

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