Washington, D.C. on December 18 voted in favor of a climate change bill which requires all electricity to be generated from renewable resources by 2030 in the District.
“This bill is historic. It will place the District of Columbia… at the national forefront of efforts to reduce greenhouse gases and achieve 100 renewable electricity,” Councilmember Mary Cheh (D) (Ward 3), who introduced the Clean Energy D.C. Omnibus Act in September, said shortly before the vote.
All businesses, homes, and municipal work across the District are required under the act to run on 100 percent renewable power within 14 years, including the White House.
The Clean Energy D.C. Omnibus Act of 2018 stipulates that solar energy sources in the city must constitute five percent of renewable energy targets. It also requires zero-emission from both private vehicle fleets and public transportation in the city by 2045, and also calls for more funding to help with energy improvements for income-qualified residents and affordable housing providers. Under the new law, drivers would be encouraged to buy electric vehicles, while buses and other vehicles would switch from fossil fuels to renewable electric.
If the bill is signed by Mayor Muriel Bowser, Washington, D.C. would lead all states in having a robust renewable energy policy.
Rob Sargent, Senior Director of Clean Energy Campaigns for Environment America, in a statement said that the decisive vote in D.C. represents a very good first step.
“Despite tremendous progress on renewable energy in recent years, we still have a lot of work ahead of us. While the Trump Administration and Congress are still promoting antiquated fossil fuel technologies, we’re counting on our local and state governments, businesses and other institutions to lead the way by setting their sights on 100 percent renewable energy,” said Sargent.
D.C. was among over 175 other cities that pledged to uphold the Paris agreement goals even as President Donald J. Trump last year announced the withdrawal of the U.S. from the Paris climate agreement.
Since last year, several meetings were held and amendments were sought over the clean energy law in D.C.
During Tuesday’s vote, Councilmember Charles Allen (D), who represents Ward 6, said it is up to cities and states to lead the way on climate action. “The guy in the house a couple of blocks away has abdicated complete leadership in how we are moving the country forward,” said Allen.
Similar steps are being taken in other parts of country. In September, California passed a bill that requires the state to use 100 percent carbon-free electricity by 2045. Hawaii passed similar laws in June. Rhode Island also intends to cut down on their greenhouse gas emissions by 95 percent by 2050.