E Pluribus Cleanum

Pipelines leaking toxic material into our water supply. Oil bomb trains traveling on antiquated infrastructure through our towns and villages. Fossil fuel plants spewing carcinogens into the air we breathe. These are the things we can look forward to if we conduct business as usual.

Today, a coalition of 36 environmental, religious, and activist groups announced the launch of a coalition to scrap  “business as usual” and jump start an aggressive campaign to address these problems.

Most of the actions taken by these individual groups to date have been in opposition of something – a pipeline through the Pinelands or processing of liquefied natural gas, a highly explosive and dangerous endeavor. Each group has done its own thing, often without specific goals other than to shut down a harmful project.

Now, the coalition is going head on with the dirty fuel industry by promoting the eventual elimination of these energy sources in favor of renewable energy. In a nutshell, they are proposing that our electricity be generated 100% from renewables by 2030, and the we totally eliminate dirty energy by 2050. These are realistic goals based academic research being conducted at Stanford University.

The coalition plans to educate the skeptics in the legislature and the general public, pointing out that renewable energy is now cost-competitive with dirty fuels. It will accomplish this through feasibility demonstrations, measurable milestones, and job creation on the way to its 2030 and 2050 goals. As a group, they need to develop and make public more detailed plans.

The coalition has a tough road to hoe. The dirty energy lobby is flush with cash and is not afraid to dole it out to willing politicians. And until our anti-environment governor leaves office, additional roadblocks to progress stand in the way. Some labor unions looking at short-term job growth at the expense of longer term jobs and a cleaner environment will also stand in the way.

The coalition released a one-page platform (below) on its goals. This is a good start, but not enough. In order to have an impact, members must engage the public, not just envirogeeks. They need to make a clean environment one of the top issues in every election – from town council to the presidency.

Their first event will be a lobby day and rally in Trenton this coming Thursday, June 25. Since this topic involves neither sex nor violence, it will be a challenge for the coalition to garner the press attention it deserves, and even more of a challenge to energize the public.

Whether joining together into a cohesive force provides strength in unity or whether this exercise is simply rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic  is yet to be seen. But without clean air and water, we have nothing.


Coalition Members:

350NJ

The Already Devalued and Devastated Homeowners of Parsippany

Berks Gas Truth

Central Jersey Coalition Against Endless War

Citizens United for Renewable Energy (CURE)

Clean Water Action

Climate Mama

Coalition to Ban Unsafe Oil Trains

Cooper River Watershed Association

Delaware Riverkeeper Network

Environment New Jersey

Food and Water Watch

Franciscan Response

GRAMMES (Grandmothers, Mothers, & More for Energy Safety)

GreenFaith

Holland CCAP (Pipeline Not PennEast)

MSEIA (MidAtlantic Solar Energy Industry)

National Organization of Women (NOW)- NJ

NJ Citizen Action

NJ Industrial Union Council

NJ Sustainable Collegiate Partners

NJ Tenants Organization

NJ Working Families Alliance

New Jersey NOW

Northern NJ Chapter, NOW

North Jersey Pipeline Walkers

Pascack Sustainability Group

Raccoon Creek Watershed Association

Save Barnegat Bay

Sierra Club- NJ Chapter

South Jersey NOW

Surfrider Foundation

Unitarian Universalist Leg. Min. of NJ

Water Spirit

West Amwell Citizens Against the Pipeline

Coalition Platform:

Comment (1)

  1. deciminyan (Post author)

    As far as I can tell, Martin O’Malley is the only candidate to explicitly state a policy to completely eliminate fossil fuels by 2050. His web site smartly ties environmental action to job creation:

    Clean, renewable sources of energy represent one of the biggest economic opportunities in a century. And the threat of climate change is real and immediate. We must make better choices for a more secure and independent energy future-by limiting carbon emissions, setting renewable energy targets, driving innovation, seeding new industries, and creating good local jobs.

    Hillary Clinton‘s web site contains lots of platitudes, few specifics:

    America must lead the world in developing and deploying new clean energy sources that will power our economy, protect the health of our families, and address the global threat of climate change. Some doubt our capacity to rise to this challenge and want to keep us trapped in the energy economy of the past-but every single day the ingenuity of the American people proves the cynics wrong. States, cities, and rural communities are investing in a future built on clean and efficient energy that spurs small business growth, reduces pollution, creates good jobs, and lowers energy bills. We will secure the gains already made, and continue our progress in making the United States a clean energy superpower.

    Bernie Sanders is a bit more forceful, but still inadequate on specifics.

    The United States must lead the world in tackling climate change to make certain that this planet is habitable for our children and grandchildren. We must transform our energy system away from polluting fossil fuels and towards energy efficiency and sustainability. Millions of homes and buildings need to be weatherized and we need to greatly accelerate technological progress in wind and solar power generation.

    Unless we take bold action to address climate change, our children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren are going to look back on this period in history and ask a very simple question: Where were they? Why didn’t the United States of America, the most powerful nation on earth, lead the international community in cutting greenhouse gas emissions and preventing the devastating damage that the scientific community was sure would come?

    Whatever their policies are, if we allow the environment to deteriorate to the point where the availability of food, water, and recreation become paramount, all of their other economic, defense, and social policy statements are irrelevant.

    Reply

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