Energy innovation spurs

job growth, cleaner air

Editor, Times-Dispatch:

Associate Opinions Editor Chris Gentilviso hits the mark when he calls for expanding solar freedom for Virginia’s schools in his recent editorial, “Solar energy and schools: a bright side.” However, this is just one step in our climb up the long staircase to a carbon-free future for the commonwealth.

The World Meteorological Organization reports record levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, and the United Nations  Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change states that global carbon emissions must fall 7.6% every year from now to 2030 to keep global temperature increase below 1.5 degrees Celsius. We can no longer slow the deployment of renewable energy by continuing to grant fossil fuels unfair advantages. We must be bold at all levels of government and society, but without sacrificing our values or freedoms. In fact, if we make smart decisions, the transition to clean energy will help secure a prosperous future for all Virginians.

Our next General Assembly must remove impediments to carbon-free energy as Gentilviso suggests, but we must not stop there. Economists broadly agree that our most effective way to slow climate change is to price carbon. The good news is that a well-developed policy already is on the table in Congress with 73 co-sponsors — HR 763, the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act.

Enacting HR 763 into law would secure our climb up the staircase to a carbon-free future more quickly and for a lower cost than any other policy on the table. In addition, enacting HR 763 will drive economic and job growth by stimulating investment and putting money into the pockets of consumers. So, while we must call for the General Assembly to remove obstacles to solar power in Virginia, we must also call for Congress to pass HR 763 to remove unfair price advantages for fossil fuels.

Scott Emery


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