“A major investment in electric public transportation will make a huge difference in equity and in achieving our goal of 100% renewable energy! So I invite all who value both social and environmental justice to insist on funding for great, electrified public transportation.”
During a March 14 listening session at The Collider in downtown Asheville about the DEQ’s Clean Energy Plan, a key provision of Gov. Roy Cooper’s Executive Order 80 on clean energy and climate change, many of the roughly 70 Western North Carolina residents in attendance expressed frustration that the state wasn’t doing enough.
“If we desire democratic rights for ourselves and our children, this is the very moment that we must shed our tendency of quiet civility and shout, collectively, loud enough that the court in Washington is aware that American citizens will accept nothing short of the legacy the Continental Congress intended for us after blood was shed for this nation’s freedom.”
Twelve years: That’s how long humanity has left to hold global warming below the key level of 1.5 degrees Celsius, according to an October report by the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. In light of that sobering reality, these developments from 2018 had the biggest potential impact on Asheville’s contribution to climate change.
“Now Asheville has joined the community of cities and counties taking responsibility for the climate into their own hands, rather than waiting for our state or national government to take the lead.”
The new facility’s planned retirement is in 2059 — 17 years after Buncombe County government’s 2042 goal of transitioning all homes and businesses to completely renewable energy. Jason Walls, Duke Energy district manager, said his company is committed to helping local governments achieve their goals but that the new plant’s construction is based on forecasts of growing energy needs.
The resolution would commit city government to meeting all of its energy needs from 100 percent renewable sources by the end of 2030. A previous version also called for all energy demand in the city to make the renewable transition “as soon as practicable,” but this goal is absent from the language Council will vote to approve.
“Asheville can lead this charge starting by the City Council committing to a green fleet by 2030. This commitment is an important benchmark in Buncombe County’s goal of being 100 percent renewable by 2042, including government operations, personal vehicles, homes and businesses.”
“We have to think ‘globally’ about the source of our energy use in order to combat the imminent and extraordinary financial, social and public health costs that will inevitably arise from fires, floods and rising temperatures here in the WNC mountains.”
With the county’s commitment to running all county operations off renewable energy by 2030 still an open question, Buncombe County is poised to take a step this week towards fulfilling that goal.
The plurality of Asheville city government’s greenhouse gas emissions in fiscal year 2017 — roughly 9,100 tons — came from burning fossil fuels, such as coal and natural gas, to create electricity. That number could drop to zero by the end of the next decade, however, should Asheville adopt a resolution currently under development by the city’s Sustainability Advisory Committee on Energy and the Environment.
Many accused the representative, in his House leadership position as chief deputy majority whip, of giving a free pass to President Donald Trump for behavior they believe to be unethical. McHenry responded by saying he’s chosen to focus on achieving legislative goals, not sharing his opinions on Trump’s communication style.
“I believe that if everyone does what they can to move toward clean energy and presses their elected officials to do the same, we can reach our goals and stop the cataclysmic disasters of climate change.”
“Brownie Newman, Jasmine Beach-Ferrara, Al Whitesides and Ellen Frost voted in favor, and the three Republicans made speeches about how they support the environment before voting no.”
Buncombe County commissioners approved setting goals to make all county operations run on renewable energy sources by 2030 and all community operations run on renewable energy within 25 years.
“With the deadlock on climate change and attacks on the environment at both the federal and state level, we have a chance here in Buncombe County to make real progress on climate change by establishing a goal of going to 100 percent renewable energy.”
Commissioners voted down a resolution that would have Buncombe County move toward 100 percent renewable energy over the next decade amid concerns over specifics of the plan.
“This $5.5 billion, 42-inch diameter, 600-mile pipeline carrying fracked gas under high pressure would run from West Virginia through Virginia and across Eastern North Carolina, threatening pristine forests, headwaters, hundreds of streams, as well as many farms and communities.”
“People need to see the power they really have, especially the power to prevent Duke Energy from making all the decisions,” says Asheville Community Rights co-founder Kat Houghton. “Corporations should not have more rights than people. That is not a democracy.”
“If you would like to test ride and ask more questions about electric cars or learn about clean energy in the Southeast, join us at Asheville’s third annual Drive Electric Show on Sept. 11 from noon to 4 p.m. “