CLIMATE & CLEAN ENERGY SOLUTIONS
The devastation stemming from the climate crisis— unprecedented massive wildfires, hurricanes, flooding, and deep freezes—wreaked havoc and claimed thousands of lives in 2018. The impacts of climate change on public health, the economy, and the ecosystems that sustain us cannot be ignored. While the impacts are often most significant for low-income communities and communities of color that already face economic and health inequities, we are all affected by a warming planet. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released data in 2018 showing we have only 12 years to stop the worst climate impacts, and the dire consequences of inaction are clear.
However, in the face of this immense challenge, our work is propelling us forward. In 2018, the Sierra Club successfully retired over 280 coal plants—more than half of the plants that existed when the campaign began less than ten years ago. We also secured 100 percent clean energy commitments from more than 100 cities and two states, including California—the world’s fifth largest economy. And, while we still have a ways to go in reducing emissions from the transportation sector, electric vehicle wins in 2018 provide a strong foundation to build on in 2019 and beyond.
With an emphasis on community-centered organizing, progress by the Sierra Club and its partners and allies is not only transforming how our country is powered, but who has power in our country. The Sierra Club Foundation recognizes the ﬁerce urgency of now—arising from existential threats to our planet, our people, and our democracy—and provides a powerful combination of strategic philanthropy, grassroots advocacy, and impact investing to address the greatest environmental and social challenges of our time.
THREAT: IMPACT OF CLIMATE CRISIS
Electric vehicles continued to make gains in 2018, with increased utility support and new state-level funding. For example, the California Public Utilities Commission approved $975 million worth of utility investment in EV infrastructure, the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio made a $10 million investment in EV charging ports, and Illinois committed to spending more than $20 million on electric school buses and EV charging stations using Volkswagen settlement funds.
2018 was a major tipping point for the economics of clean energy: renewable energy became more affordable than the cost of running existing coal plants. The emerging economics of renewables provides a powerful new tool with which to make the case for clean energy to regulators. Notably, two utilities—Xcel in Colorado and NIPSCO in Indiana—made massive, multi-billion dollar investment decisions based on this new reality.
To replace dirty energy coming offline, the Sierra Club’s Ready for 100 Campaign gained bold clean energy commitments nationwide. States and cities led on climate. As the Trump administration doubled down on a fossil fuel economy, we reached a major milestone in 2018: 100 cities and two states—California and Hawaii—are now committed to achieving 100 percent clean energy.
SOURCE: 3. LAZARD LCOE STUDY V102 (RENEWABLES), S & P GLOBAL MARKET INTELLIGENCE GENERATION SUPPLY CURVE (COAL)