Climate & Energy
The Current Situation
The science is settled: Climate change is real.
The average temperature on Earth “has risen by 1.5°F over the past century, and is projected to rise another 0.5 to 8.6°F over the next hundred years,” according to the EPA. This could lead to catastrophic shifts in climate and weather. In fact, we just experienced the hottest summer on record — again! While climate change is no doubt one of the most debated topics today — whether it be among researchers, politicians, or private citizens — the bottom line is that climate change is real and cannot be ignored. The time has come for Alabamians who care about environmental health and climate justice to come together and address this urgent challenge head on.
As of 2016, 38 percent of electricity generated in Alabama comes from coal — compared with about 33 percent nationwide. However, the state’s largest utility, Alabama Power, generates approximately 55 percent of its electricity from coal, well above the national and state average. In fact, John Kelley of Alabama Power in May 2016 told The Birmingham News, “we expect coal to remain a significant part of our diverse supply of energy sources for many years to come.”
Meanwhile, the Alabama Public Service Commission, the agency tasked with regulating the utility, is obstinately pro-fossil fuel and denies the very existence of climate change. Commissioner Chip Beeker, for instance, proudly wrote on his campaign website, “I believe that […] the so-called ‘climate change crisis’ is about as real as unicorns and little green men from Mars.” Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange consistently opposes every EPA action and joined several other state attorneys general in suing the federal government to block the Clean Power Plan.
Haley Colson Lewis
Demand Climate Action
Sign our petition to tell Alabama lawmakers that you support policies to expand access to clean, renewable energy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Secure a Just Transition
The RECLAIM Act would bring $1 billion back to coal communities to reclaim abandoned mine sites while creating economic opportunities.
100% Clean Energy
Write a letter to your U.S. Senators to request their support for the Markey-Merkley resolution to shift America to 100% renewable energy by 2050.
Alabama Power & Climate Change
🏭 Alabama Power’s James H Miller Jr. Plant ranked second in carbon pollution in the United States behind only Georgia Power’s Robert W Scherer Power Plant. (Both are owned and operated by Southern Company.)
🏭 Energy use for cooling has increased 43 percent in the past 20 years.
🏭 Alabama ranks 41st in energy efficiency.
🏭 Among cities, Birmingham ranks an embarrassing 50th out of 51 in energy efficiency.
🏭 The bulk of power generation comes from coal and gas, making the Southeast’s carbon footprint disproportionately greater than that of the rest of the country.
🏭 As mentioned above Alabama Power generated approximately 55 percent of its electricity from coal in 2015.
It is time for Alabamians who care about our health, our environment, and our children’s futures to rise up and demand real solutions to climate change. We must break the shameful cycle of reactionary thinking that has permeated so much of our state’s social and economic fabric.
Solar Works is an initiative to raise awareness of the benefits of solar energy in Alabama. Through Solar Works, we analyze existing solar policy, trends, and opportunities. Harnessing the power of the sun will improve our health, economy and environment. Click on the image below to visit the Solar Works website.
No one disputes the fact that the South lags the nation in climate action. That doesn’t mean there are not real solutions available to all of us, from lay person to lawmaker. For instance, the cleanest kilowatt is the one that’s never used and energy efficiency is one tool we can deploy to reduce electricity consumption. Renewable energy should be deployed to generate electricity in clean, sustainable ways. For example, Alabama ranks near the bottom of states for solar capacity and solar jobs. We can generate significantly more electricity from both distributed solar energy (rooftop) and utility-scale solar while creating the next generation of good paying “green” jobs.
Potential Impacts In Alabama
According to the Alabama Report Card published by “States at Risk”:
⚠️ “There is no evidence that [Alabama] has published information acknowledging or assessing its climate vulnerabilities.”
⚠️ “Alabama has taken no action to plan for its future climate risks or implement adaptation strategies.”
⚠️ Alabama has failed to dedicate any “state funding, policies, or guidelines to improve resilience against climate change-related extreme heat, drought, wildfire, or coastal flooding.”
⚠️ “Alabama has taken less action than any other coastal state to prepare for sea level rise and both its current and future coastal flooding risks.”
In other words, Alabamians are woefully uninformed by its government and its policies are wholly inadequate to deal with the health and environmental impacts of impending climate change.