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Mon Apr 22, 2019, 04:37 PM

Great earth day op-ed by John Kerry and Ernie Moniz

We need to unite America’s “grassroots” with its “grasstops” — to awaken a broad climate change voting majority that not only includes young people with passion, but businesses, the military, labor, farmers, energy providers, and subject matter experts alike. Only by linking these disparate groups — then broadening the coalition even further to include global leaders and citizens everywhere — can we galvanize action, command accountability, and unleash a clean energy transformation that will mitigate climate change and assure economic progress at the same time.

And we can act because, since 2009, the cost of solar energy is down 88%, and wind is down 69%. These cost reductions are reflected in our choices for power generation: wind and solar made up more than half of new generating capacity in recent years.

But we must also be pragmatic. We must guarantee the reliability and resilience of the electricity system, at the same time we are working on its transformation. This means that efficiency, natural gas, advanced nuclear, carbon capture, smart grids and negative carbon technologies will all play important roles in our future grid, indeed enabling the continued rapid growth of renewables. And, of course, other sectors beyond electricity that are more difficult to decarbonize — transportation, industry, buildings, agriculture — will need practical, low-carbon technology options as well.

As we advance deep decarbonization of our economy, we must also promote justice and fairness. Those who can least afford it — the poorest Americans and the world's developing countries — will be economically hit worst and first. They will continue to pay the steepest price for climate change unless low-carbon technology innovation is accelerated and accompanied by policy innovation for a just transition. We must minimize stranded physical assets and stranded workers and communities.


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