Yesterday, Los Angeles announced that it would not be funding a multi-billion dollar rebuilding project for three natural gas plants in the area. Instead, LA will be moving away from natural gas as a way to get the city toward its 100 percent renewable energy goals and investing in renewables like batteries charged by solar and wind power and other clean solutions.
Jesse Piedfort, the Washington State director of the Sierra Club, thinks this move shows that the future is clean energy.
"It shows that the future is clean energy and that the future isn’t going to be defined by fracked gas," Piedfort told The Stranger. "It shows that it’s possible, and more and more people are realizing that."
Currently, Washington is well on its way to passing its own set of bills to get the state to 100 percent clean energy by 2045. Currently, those bills—Senate Bill 5116 and House Bill 1211—have passed out of their policy committees and are in fiscal committees right now.
There’s three big things that a 100 percent clean bill does right now for Washington. The first is to get us off coal by 2025.
"If we get rid of coal by 2025, that alone will be the biggest greenhouse gas reduction in Washington state," Piedfort said. "That's a huge deal." It's also the strongest bill of its kind in the country right now, he added.
"It doesn’t get noticed enough because the headline of the bill is 100 percent clean by 2045," Piedfort said. "But there's huge progress with the bill right now. If it passes, we can ensure that there isn't a new fossil fuel backbone built right now for future generations.
Los Angeles' move away from natural gas proves that these goals aren't just goals, they're tangible and attainable. Piedfort feels confident with the way things are going in the Legislature currently.
"I think utilities are proposing amendments that are aimed at allowing them to build more fracked gas plants," Piedfort said of the opposition to the bills. "But I think the writing is on the wall and people realize that the future is going to be about clean energy, and it’s just about the details."
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti called his decision the Green New Deal, citing Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's new plan to implement sweeping climate change policies across the nation.
“It’s the right thing to do for our health. It’s the right thing to do for our Earth. It’s the right thing to do for our economy,” Garcetti said. “And now is the time to start the beginning of the end of natural gas.…This is the Green New Deal. Not in concept, not in the future, but now.”
Piedfort believes these are the necessary building blocks to get there.
"I think what our bill demonstrates and what the Green New Deal is about is that there’s this renewed sense of urgency on the need to act on climate change," Piedfort said. "The way we get to the Green New Deal is by showing, over the next few years, that there’s real urgency and real demand for bold climate action. The best thing we can do is pass this bill during the Legislative session."