A campaign to push the state away from fossil fuels is trying to build support for the idea in North Carolina, where a resolution was introduced Thursday to reach 100 percent clean energy by 2050.
Rep. Pricey Harrison, a Greensboro Democrat, filed the House resolution laying out the reasons for a goal of reaching 100 percent renewable for all energy sectors. That’s needed, according to the resolution, “to avoid climate catastrophe, to promote job creation, and to protect the earth for current and future generations from climate catastrophe.”
The resolution carries a message adopted by the newly formed N.C. Climate Solutions Coalition, whose board includes activist and author Bill McKibben and Stanford University professor Mark Jacobson, who developed a plan to expand alternative energy technologies to take the place of fossil fuels and create millions of jobs in the process.
Attending a news conference to announce the plan along with Harrison and the bill co-sponsors were chairman Harvard Ayers, a retired Appalachian State professor from Boone, and executive director Joel Segal of Charlotte, who is a former legislative assistant and speechwriter in Congress who helped launch efforts for universal health care.
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Harrison acknowledge that building enough support in the General Assembly for the resolution was an “incremental” step in the big picture but it was a start. Segal said state resolutions are a good way of educating people about the issue and can also influence federal policy.
North Carolina established a standard for renewable energy requirements on utilities, which has helped boost the state’s solar energy industry. Some Republican legislators have tried repeatedly to repeal that law.
North Carolina’s solar power workforce increased by nearly 20 percent last year, according to The Solar Foundation, which ranked the state eighth in solar jobs.
Earlier in the week, a group called Conservatives for Clean Energy hosted a lunch with state legislators and staffers touting bipartisan support in North Carolina for clean energy, according to The Insider.