“When asked about whether the US should prioritize developing wind and solar energy or expanding oil, natural gas, and coal, 79 percent chose renewables. That’s considerably higher than Pew’s polls from just a few years ago. That number is partly due to strengthening support among Democrats, but it’s also the result of growth among Republicans in the last few years — 65 percent of whom chose renewables.” https://arstechnica.com/science/2020/06/us-poll-shows-broad-support-for-renewables-climate-measures/
Many political commentators on TV are talking about the need for President-Elect Joe Biden to unify Americans after four years of deliberately-created disunity by Donald Trump. Biden himself made this one of his main closing arguments down the stretch. And there’s no question that this is something desirable and desired by a majority of the country.
I see two major issues around which unity in action can be built right now. One is the pandemic. The other is renewable energy, particularly wind and solar.
I’ve been a climate activist since 2003. Over that time, I’ve consistently seen polling showing wind and solar having broad tri-partisan support, from Democrats (the most), Independents (next) and Republicans (over 50%). Looking through my email files, I found a Center for American Progress report from 2009, soon after Obama and Biden were elected President and Vice-President, which said that “76 percent of respondents agreed that ‘America’s economic future requires a transformation away from oil, gas and coal to renewable energy sources such as wind and solar.’”
A rapid acceleration of wind and solar isn’t just good for our destabilizing climate. It’s also a job creator, millions of socially-valuable, potentially union jobs. And it is also good for people’s health, reducing and ultimately removing the dirty pollution of our air, water and land that comes with fossil fuel production and burning. This is particularly good for low-income and people of color communities, which are disproportionately the location of the infrastructure of those polluting industries.
I’m a big supporter of a Green New Deal, a mix of pieces of legislation that can do great things for the people of this country, particularly those in most need of steady work at a living wage as well as those working in the fossil fuel industry who can transition into good jobs in the renewables and energy efficiency sectors. A Biden/Harris/Democratic initiative right out of the gate in January for a massive investment to accelerate the expansion of wind and solar energy would be just what we need to unite the country and point the way forward.
Ted Glick just completed a month-long Fast to Defeat Trump from October 3 to November 3. He is the author of the recently-published “Burglar for Peace: Lessons Learned in the Catholic Left’s Resistance to the Vietnam War.” More information can be found at https://tedglick.com, and he can be followed on Twitter at https://twitter.com/jtglick