State Rep. Wendi Thomas became the 100th member of the Pennsylvania General Assembly to add their name as a cosponsor to legislation that would commit the state to 100 percent renewable energy by the year 2050.
“I support long-term planning that works to balance renewable energy while maintaining economic growth, and I believe this bill does that,” Thomas said.
Under House Bill 1425 and Senate Bill 630, the state would be required to devise a statewide plan to transition to 100 percent renewable energy by 2050. The legislation sets benchmarks for phasing out nonrenewable energy across all sectors by requiring 50 percent renewable energy by 2030, 80 percent renewable energy by 2040 and, ultimately, 100 percent renewable energy for all energy production sectors by 2050. It will also require all electricity generation to come from renewable sources by 2035.
The legislation requires clean energy like wind, solar and geothermal and covers all sectors of energy in the state.
“With support growing every day to implement the solutions needed to solve climate change, it’s now up to the majority leadership in the state House and Senate to bring these broadly supported bills up for a vote,” said David Masur, PennEnvironment executive director. “With the number of cosponsors in both chambers, it’s time to have a real dialogue and vote on legislation to tackle climate change.”
The intent of the legislation is to achieve what some in the scientific community claim must be accomplished to avoid the worst effects of climate change: eliminating global warming pollution by 2050 to avoid a climate change “tipping point” from which the planet cannot turn back.
“Momentum for 100 percent renewable energy is building throughout the nation,” Masur said. “Who would’ve thought that in the past 12 months alone, six states would commit to 100 percent clean energy. And it’s not just blue states – purple states like Maine and Nevada have made these commitments, paving that path for Pennsylvania to do it as well.”
Hawaii, California, New Mexico, Washington, Maine, Nevada, New York and Puerto Rico have all passed similar legislation, and additional legislation is pending in Colorado, Maryland and Massachusetts.
In March, a survey by Franklin & Marshall College found that 67 percent of registered voters in the state agree that climate change is causing problems, and 68 percent believe that the legislature should do more to combat it.
“When we look back on who had the political will to do what it takes to protect our planet from the far-reaching negative effects of global warming, this will be the group of legislators recognized for their work in Pennsylvania,” Masur said. “Because the question is not do we have the technological ability, the financial wherewithal or the work ethic to tackle climate change — the only question is: Do we have the political will?” ••