As a nation, we have a choice: Do we want to keep pumping dangerous carbon pollution into the air, or do we want to pump new life into our economy, creating clean energy jobs and saving families money on their electricity bills?
We know that by cutting carbon pollution, we can grow our economy and save American families money. It’s a formula that works. We did it in Massachusetts through the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI).
Since the RGGI program went into effect in 2009, the program has added on order of $3 billion in economic value to participating states and saved consumers more $1.5 billion. Massachusetts now has nearly 100,000 clean energy jobs in our state.
This formula is at the heart the Clean Power Plan that President Obama finalized this week.
The Clean Power Plan embodies what makes America great: it is ambitious, it is flexible, and it is achievable.
This plan captures the scientific urgency, the economic opportunity and the moral imperative necessary to avoid the worst consequences of climate change.
2014 was the hottest year in a global record that stretches back to 1880. The first half of this year is now the hottest January to June in that same record. As temperatures continue to soar upwards on land, our seas are getting hotter, as well. In one spot off Cape Cod, the water was 21 degrees warmer than normal in January of this year. Climate change is damaging the public’s health, disproportionately impacting communities of color who suffer higher rates of asthma.
Scientists agree humankind is now the leading cause of climate change, which is why we must lead with solutions.
The Clean Power Plan will help usher in the end of the dirty power plant era and unleash a clean energy revolution in every state of the country.
The plan provides states the flexibility to meet new emissions reductions targets with incentives that will ensure the deployment of clean energy technologies in cities around the nation.
In 2005, we installed 79 megawatts of solar in the United States. Last year, we deployed nearly 100 times that amount – 7,000 megawatts. We are projected to double our installed solar capacity over the next two years.
We have more than 65,000 megawatts of wind installed in the United States today. Nearly 90 percent of that was installed in the last ten years. We are projected to add 11,000 megawatts of new wind this year, with a total of 17,000 that could be added by the end of 2016.
Added together, that means that by the end of next year, we could have more than 120,000 megawatts of wind and solar installed in the United States. That’s enough to power more than 25 million homes!
73,000 American workers are now employed in the wind sector. 174,000 Americans are employed in solar. Over the next year, solar employment is forecast to increase 20 percent to 210,000 American workers. The Clean Power Plan will be at the heart of a super-charged renewables renaissance!
And the Clean Power Plan will save consumers money on their utility bills. When it is fully implemented, the average family will save more than $80 a year on their electricity bills.
Some of my colleagues in Congress will say it can’t be done. Some will say it will raise electricity bills. Some will say it will kill jobs. Those claims are just not true.
Because it’s the same people who deny the science of climate change and insist the emissions reductions targets in this plan cannot be reached who are the same people who ally themselves with fossil fuel companies with a vested interest in blocking action.
The Clean Power Plan is a plan to create jobs and grow our economy. It is a signal to the marketplace to invest in clean energy. It. And it a signal to the world that America will lead the global effort for climate action in order to protect our planet.
This plan is a turning point. It will be transformative. I applaud President Obama and EPA Administrator Massachusetts’s own Gina McCarthy for their leadership and for charting this course towards a future that is cleaner, healthier and more prosperous for all Americans.