Savannah becomes the fifth Georgia city to commit to reaching 100% renewable energy by 2050. It joins Athens, Atlanta, Augusta, and Clarkston in their commitment to net zero.
Savannah City Council members unanimously approved the resolution. Officials intend to develop an action plan within 18 months. The decision was made by teleconference, as Georgia has a stay-at-home order until at least mid-April due to the pandemic.
Savannah has a lot of work to do: The city is only currently at about 6% renewable electricity. Interim targets include achieving 30% green energy by 2025 and 50% by 2030.
Georgia coastal cities are extremely vulnerable to climate change. According to the Atlanta Journal- Constitution (AJC), Savannah residents are extremely concerned about environmental equity and the green economy. Kevin Ionno, chair of the Climate Reality Project, Coastal Georgia Chapter, said “the commitment to clean energy will bring green jobs, pollution reduction, and lower energy costs to the residents who need it most.”
Dr. Mildred McClain is executive director of environmental justice organization Harambee House, whose mission is to “educate, inspire, organize, and build the capacity of African Americans and other communities of color to create and sustain safe, economically vibrant, healthy neighborhoods that promote healthy living, wellness, environmental justice, and green sustainability.”
McClain says via the AJC:
The coronavirus is reminding us that the most vulnerable among us hurt the most when disaster strikes.
This new approach to energy means we can combat climate change and work to redress historical inequities in our community that have hurt frontline and fenceline neighborhoods for decades.
Every single city that commits to a green energy future is good news, and it’s particularly inspiring that Savannah remotely progressed with their plans to reach net zero, despite the challenges of the coronavirus, thus recognizing the need for green energy as equally pressing.
It’s also encouraging to see that Harambee House is flagging the connection between the coronavirus and the climate crisis, and how inequities must be redressed at both local and global levels.
On Saturday, Electrek published an op-ed by Arthur Wyns, a climate change adviser to the World Health Organization (WHO), who wrote about the connection between climate change and the coronavirus for the World Economic Forum. You can check it out here.
Photo: Ashley Knedler/Unsplash
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