Each April we celebrate Earth Day. Here at NewDEAL, we believe the science and we know that we are experiencing a climate crisis that must be addressed with urgency. The climate is an issue that unifies our members across cities, counties, and states.
And this year, we have some cause to be optimistic. Thanks in part to federal legislation such as the American Rescue Plan Act and the Inflation Reduction Act, cities and states are making major investments to address climate change. From cities adopting green buses to installations of massive solar and wind farms, there are reasons to celebrate. Here are five reasons to be optimistic about our planet’s future:
- Government Vehicles and Buses: Cities like Milwaukee, Phoenix, and Memphis are investing in low- and no-emission vehicles to replace aging gas-powered buses. In Milwaukee and Memphis, NewDEAL Leaders pushed for efforts to require the city to transition to hybrid and electric vehicles moving forward. In Phoenix, Mayor Kate Gallego secured a $16.3 million grant to replace aging buses with green, no- or low-emission battery electric & hydrogen fuel-cell buses.
- Solar Expansion: Last year, Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller celebrated the opening of a 50-megawatt solar array to help supply the city with clean power. Together with other improvements, the city’s government gets nearly 90% of its electricity from solar. In addition, California Sen. Robert Hertzberg championed legislation, signed into law last year, that extends a tax exclusion for new solar energy systems through 2027, reducing the cost of large-scale commercial solar projects.
- Wind Energy: Before becoming Lt. Gov, then-Mayor Kim Driscoll secured $34 million in funding for offshore wind farm construction in a vacant land near the Salem Harbor Power plant. In addition to creating reliable green energy, the project will also create green jobs for thousands of people.
- Citizen Engagement: NewDEAL alumnus Josh Fryday spearheaded California’s Climate Action Corps in his new role as Chief Service Officer for Governor Gavin Newsom. The Climate Action Corps is the country’s first state-level climate service corps that leverages the power of AmeriCorps to engage young Californians in the fight against global warming. Climate Action Corps fellows serve for 11-months, working within climate-vulnerable populations to address environmental issues, focusing on topics ranging from urban greening to wildfire resiliency.
- Transition Away from Coal: NewDEAL Leader and Colorado State Senator Dylan Roberts introduced legislation focused on rural economic development and green energy solutions. His bill would formally establish Colorado’s Rural Opportunity Office within the Economic Development and International Trade Office. If passed, the Rural Opportunity Office will help rural communities transition away from coal-based economies, ensuring that no one is left behind as Coloradans work towards a greener future.
To highlight more progress on climate, NewDEAL is showcasing “23 Climate Victories for 2023.” For the first 23 days of April, across our social media platforms, we are sharing one climate initiative making an impact in 2023.