As I think about getting ready to head to Bonn – I wish I could say “as I get ready” as I’m writing this, but that hasn’t quite happened yet – I am compiling a mental list of the state and local level actions that are happening on climate change. I’d like to be able to reassure folks from other parts of the world that we are moving forward despite our lack of federal leadership, while I simultaneously reassure myself that other world leaders are stepping up to fill our void.
I am thinking about Xcel Energy’s recent wind additions and its October 17th presentation to the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission stating that it intends to have a system that is 85% carbon free by 2030.
This is an awesome and exciting announcement that shows how far the electricity system has come. In 2005, Xcel’s Upper Midwest Fleet was more than half made up of coal. That’s already down to about a quarter, and in order to be at 85% carbon free by 2030 they will likely need to get off coal entirely by then. Making sure that’s the case is part of my job at the Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy (MCEA)! They’ve done all of this while dropping residential bills by 2% over the past four years. This recent announcement is exciting and shows what is possible with today’s prices and technologies.
I’m also thinking about Target’s recent announcement that it is committed to 100% renewable energy in its domestic operations. This is part of its climate goal to reduce greenhouse emissions by 25% that come directly from Target facilities and from energy purchased to power Target facilities by 2025. And, I’m thinking about the recent announcements from car manufacturers like Volvo and GM that are going to have all plug-in fleets in the near future.
All of this put together paints an optimistic picture of where we are headed as a country, even without federal leadership. Just think what could happen if we had elected leaders committed to doing even more!