Environment

A Louisville Metro Council committee plans to debate a resolution that would support 100 percent renewable energy for the city by 2030, and the entire community by 2035.

The clean energy resolution is on the Metro Council’s agenda for new business on Thursday and is scheduled to be heard in the Committee on Sustainability and Parks in the coming weeks.

On a rainy Saturday earlier this month, about a hundred demonstrators gathered on the steps of Louisville Metro Hall to deliver the resolution to the Metro Council.

The “Rise for Climate, Jobs and Justice” rally was one of hundreds of rallies held around the world calling on cities to do more to address climate change and its impacts.

“We’ve been saying for decades now that we’ve got to take action, we’ve got to take action,” said Mark Steiner, co-organizer for the rally. “We are starting to feel some of the ramifications of not having acted and so it’s pretty clear that we’ve got to change course.”

Reaching the goal of 100 percent renewable energy for the community is a daunting task considering the city still receives about 99 percent of its electricity from coal and natural gas.

But Steiner said there are 80 other cities in the U.S. that have adopted this goal and cities in Texas, Kansas and Vermont that have already achieved it.

“We may not be able to change what happened, but we can certainly do important work to see that we mitigate climate change and extreme weather in the future and renewable energies will be an important part of that,” Steiner said.

There is a growing body of research demonstrating that time is of the essence and the world has not done enough to prevent further warming.

Duke University Climate Scientist Drew Shindell says the world’s governments are not even close to meeting Paris Climate Agreement commitments to prevent 2.7 degrees of warming.

Shindell has authored a United Nations report on the dangers of surpassing this limit. His report is expected to be presented in South Korea next month, according to the Guardian.

Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer has pledged to support the Paris Climate Agreement and the Mayor’s Climate Compact to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The Louisville Metro Sustainability plan developed in 2013 called on the city to increase its use of renewable energy technologies by 50 percent by 2025.

Metro Council President David James is sponsoring the resolution, which he said will go before the Parks and Sustainability Committee for debate.

“Most all of us recognize that climate change is an issue and that we need to do our part to try and protect our planet for kids and grand kids,” James said.

 

This story has been updated. 

Ryan Van Velzer is WFPL's Energy and Environment Reporter.