Published by Blue Virginia, this letter to Democratic legislators is from 350 Alexandria, 350 Fairfax, 350 Loudoun, Climate Reality Project-NoVa Chapter, Earth Rise Indivisible, Food and Water Watch, Greater Prince William Climate Action Network, Mothers Out Front (Fairfax), Mothers Out Front (Prince William), NoVa Climate, Progressive Democrats of America-Virginia Chapter, Our Revolution-Alexandria, Our Revolution-Arlington, Our Revolution-Falls Church, Sunrise Movement Fairfax, Transparent GMU
Dear Democratic Legislators:
To adequately address the climate crisis in the 2020 legislative session, we believe you must do the following:
–WORK TOGETHER. Put aside regional and ideological differences–and any possible influence of special interests–and all agree to take several decisive actions:
–MANDATE THE MOST RAPID, FEASIBLE TIMETABLE POSSIBLE FOR CONVERSION TO RENEWABLE ENERGY FOR THE GENERATION OF ELECTRICITY. DC has committed to 100% generation from renewables by 2032. Virginia currently gets 30% of its electricity from nuclear, so it should be able to produce the other 70% carbon-free renewable energy (that is, solar, wind, geothermal) by 2032—and then phase out nuclear as soon as possible—no later than 2040.
–STOP THE ATLANTIC COAST AND MOUNTAIN VALLEY PIPELINES, as well as all other fracked gas infrastructure. Dangerous, unnecessary, costly, and already obsolete, these pipelines will substantially nullify the benefits of other efforts to convert to renewables by committing our state to several decades of carbon and methane emissions. Gov. Northam and Attorney General Herring have the power to end further construction. Legislators must demand they do so–and also ensure no new fracked-gas plants and pipelines are built in the future. The Governor and Attorney General refuse to act for one reason: the powerful influence of Dominion Energy and other special interests.
–PASS A BILL TO BAN POLITICAL DONATIONS FROM STATE-REGULATED CORPORATIONS. In addition, legislators and their family members must avoid conflicts of interest by neither working for nor serving as leaders (paid or volunteer) of organizations that receive funding from Dominion and its allies.
–AUTHORIZE THE CREATION OF A COMMISSION TO DEVELOP A COMPREHENSIVE ENERGY PLAN—for transitioning all public and private energy consumption in Virginia—electricity, transportation, agriculture, buildings, construction, etc.—to renewable energy by no later than 2040.
–LEAD BY PERSONAL EXAMPLE. Democratic legislators should perform a significant public action that clearly demonstrates their personal commitment to saving the planet. Perhaps they might hold a press conference to announce they will all purchase electric vehicles and solarize their homes by the end of 2020 (if they have not done so already)—and encourage other governmental bodies and public officials to do the same. Such an action would help build a needed public and consumer movement for renewable energy and win the appreciation—as well as the votes—of many citizens, especially young people.
–LEAD BY POLITICAL EXAMPLE. Use Virginia’s 2020 legislative session to set the standards for addressing climate change in the 2020 national elections. Be the leaders our nation is waiting for!
–LOOK OUR YOUTH IN THE EYES. Sunrise Movement youth challenge elected leaders to “Look us in the eyes” and explain why money from oil and gas interests is more important than a livable planet. Their question is fully justified. We think all of us— citizens and political leaders—must look young climate activists in their eyes and assure them we will make their future our top priority.
Let’s listen to the voices of our young climate leaders—many of whom will rally in Richmond on January 13–and let’s work together to solve this crisis.
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