The Solution: Taking Charge of Our Own Energy

"Investing in clean energy means investing in our own communities and taking charge of our own energy. Instead of subsidizing big oil, we invest in wind turbines on farms, solar on our roofs, and schools that use less energy—creating local jobs, stronger communities, and a more stable climate."

Value: Empowerment

- Hot Fact -

As of 2018, more than 80 cities, nine counties, and two states, including California, have committed to using 100% renewable energy by 2050.(xxi)  

  • The share of U.S. electricity from renewables has doubled since 2008, even as the percent of consumer spending on electricity hit record lows. And, thanks to efficiency gains, the amount of electricity used in the U.S. declined in 2017, even as the economy grew.(xvi)

  • The U.S. has abundant renewable energy potential — including offshore wind on our coasts and on the Great Lakes, onshore wind through middle-America, and solar energy almost everywhere, especially in the Southwest.(xvii)

  • Clean energy creates far more jobs per unit of energy than fossil fuels, according to an Energy Policy article. In 2016, nearly 374,000 Americans worked in solar, over twice the number working in fossil fuel electrical generation.(xvi)

  • The cost of wind and solar keeps going dropping dramatically. Since just 2010, the cost of building utility-scale solar has dropped by nearly 70%.(xvi) Plus, unlike oil, gas and coal, the wind and sun are free fuel forever.

  • From Orlando to Denver, Houston to Salt Lake City, cities across the country are leading the way in reducing their energy use. In the process, they are saving money, reducing carbon emissions, and creating jobs by making buildings more energy efficient.(xix)

Key Supporting Facts:

  • It’s now and it’s local. Talk about practical, clean-energy solutions available today. Describe a local clean energy success story – of solar, wind, a green building, or energy savings.

  • Focus on benefits to people. Talk about how regular people in our families, our towns, and our neighborhoods are taking positive action.

  • Take on opponents with patriotic pride. Those who say nothing can be done about climate change forget who we are and what we can do. No one should doubt America’s ingenuity and resolve. People are proud of America’s history of problem-solving and innovation. With gridlock in DC, this “can-do” appeal may work best when applied to our states, cities and neighborhoods. We can change things from the bottom up.

  • Use the ∆. Remember to pivot to the other two points of the triangle.

Tips & Talking Points

  • Climate change can feel overwhelming, even paralyzing. But Americans can be engaged and inspired when we focus on positive, hopeful solutions.

  • It shows people a positive, concrete way forward – one that can happen in our own cities and towns, and doesn’t rely on breaking partisan gridlock in DC.

  • While Americans support the idea of clean energy, most aren’t aware of the extent of our clean energy resources or the progress that’s already been made with solar and wind installations, electric and hybrid vehicles, and building energy efficiency.

  • It focuses on solutions that are ready-to-go now; it doesn’t ask people to wait for future breakthroughs.

Why It’s Powerful: