As folks across America celebrate Earth Day, nearly 500 lawmakers have signed a petition calling on the President and Congress to develop a Climate Emergency Plan to accelerate the country’s transition to clean energy.
Rep. Katrina Shankland, D-Stevens Point, one of the petition’s signers, said a speedy clean energy transition will create countless new jobs for Wisconsinites, a financial benefit which will help mitigate the cost of extreme weather events.
“Wisconsin has experienced 16 extreme weather events from 2010 to 2020, and that cost billions of dollars in damages,” Shankland pointed out.
President Biden has earmarked billions of dollars to fund green energy initiatives over the next several decades.
Earlier this week Gov. Tony Evers released his own clean energy strategy which his office said is the first of its kind for the state. The Governor’s Office estimates the plan will create more than 40,000 new jobs by 2030.
Shankland noted both Biden’s and Evers’ plans are centered around environmental justice for disadvantaged communities. She noted Black residents are 40% more likely to live in places where extreme temperatures will cause more deaths.
“Part of President Biden’s broader climate plan would include at least 40% of the overall benefits from federal clean energy investments must be made to disadvantaged communities,” Shankland explained.
Among other things, the petition urged President Biden to enact the Defense Production Act to expedite the production of clean energy. Alex Cornell du Houx, president of Elected Officials to Protect America, which circulated the petition, said securing domestic, clean sources of energy is a matter of national security.
“We are, as well as Europe and most of the world, lined up to autocratic leaders like Putin for their oil and gas reserves,” Cornell du Houx stressed. “Being dependent on oil from autocratic leaders is a huge security risk.”
Earth Day was founded in 1970 by former Wisconsin Governor and Senator Gaylord Nelson.
According to the nonprofit which oversees official Earth Day events, the annual observance has spread to more than 193 countries across the planet.