Clean Energy Atlanta: A Vision for a 100% Clean Energy Future The adjustments can be made both on the extent of progress, as well as changes in technology and energy use and accessibility. Some expected outcomes of the transition are improved public health, equitable growth of job opportunities and access to clean energy, and a positive broad impact of a clean energy economy on all of Georgia as well as Atlanta. The limited initiatives already in place are described in the plan, and strategic plan options for achieving these goals, as well as their potential consequences, are laid out. Options and steps for accomplishing goals will be proposed to the city by an advisory board and its working groups, made of board members and city employees. Not included in the document are details of “the many challenges that must be met,” left instead to our common sense and informed imaginations. They appear daunting, but not insurmountable, and will be considered in future postings.

MEANWHILE, Congressional Representative AOC submitted a House Resolution aimed at creating a Green New Deal with a 10 year timeline for meeting its goals, reflecting the findings and recommendations of the 2018 U.S. Fourth National Climate Assessment (view a brief ​HERE​). The goals of the resolution are both extensive and radical, not only demanding net-zero greenhouse gas emissions within 10 years but further requiring a just transition that would thoroughly transform our over-consuming economy, our relationship with our stressed and abused environment, the way politically marginalized people are treated, our deficient infrastructure, the exploited labor force, our desperate need for expanded access to quality healthcare, and more. Without mincing words, the document calls for a total mobilization to save civilization- but transformed as the sustainable, flourishing, equitable, creative, compassionate culture that is stirring and ready to burst into bloom.

So yes, what we need is a whole, new, system- not the tweaked business-as-usual. In ten to fifteen years. Or be facing a whole, new, mess, the beginnings of which are fast upon us. Let us step out of our privileged bubbles and behold: Georgia crops wiped out by Hurricane Michael, farmers desperately waiting for federal assistance hung up in Congress; upper Mississippi agriculture doomed by historic flooding; accelerating global migration seeking security and sustenance; growing international tension and conflict as nations struggle for answers and responses. You know the list.

It seems reasonable to conclude, then, that if the Clean Energy Atlanta plan is to be accomplished in any meaningful and effective way, it will in large part look like a local version of the Green New Deal. A sustainable system will have to be a just system, addressing our problems of health care, transportation, economic and housing equity, food and waste management, education, effective self-government, and yes, energy. With all that in mind, we add our voice to that of Mayor Keisha Bottom’s, who unequivocally states in the CEA plan that it is a “social contract to protect the health and welfare of its citizenry,” and that for it to succeed, “we call upon the people of Atlanta to join us in the clean energy movement.” How do we do that? Many are already moving in that direction, and future postings will share and explore what IS being done, what COULD be done, what SHOULD be done. For now, consider bringing your ideas and opinions to Manuel’s Tavern at 7 pm, Friday, May 31st. We’ll be screening Paris to Pittsburgh and discussing what should be in that social contract, and how to move toward clean energy. Join us.