Centuries of burning fossil fuels – such as oil, coal, and natural gas – have released carbon pollution into the atmosphere that is warming the climate, and the impacts of climate change already harm residents of Southeast through human health hazards, economic burdens, and reduced quality of life. Carbon pollution needs to be eliminated quickly or else the climate will continue to warm and cause greater impacts to the Southeast including flooding from sea level rise and heavier storms, long stretches of miserably hot days, and drought and hardships for farmers. Fortunately, we have the solutions already: solar and wind energy are now the least expensive forms of new electricity in the country and opportunity abounds in the Southeast for energy efficiency. Electric vehicles are now cost-competitive with conventional cars and are widely available. The solutions are at hand, but citizens need to keep elected officials and energy companies accountable.
Amazon and Google are leading. But corporate leadership is not a substitute for robust climate and energy policy at the state and national levels.
Answer: Be bold, base actions on science, and involve the community.
Clean energy voters in Knoxville want to hear from mayoral candidates that addressing the climate crisis is a priority.