Watauga Commissioners Adopt 100% Clean Energy & Green Jobs Resolution in Historic Vote

Published Thursday, January 19, 2017 at 11:26 am

On Tuesday, the Watauga County Board of Commissioners adopted by a unanimous, bipartisan vote of 5-0 a resolution calling for 100% clean energy and green jobs for the State of North Carolina and the United States by the year 2050 for the purpose of avoiding climate catastrophe.

watauga_county_seal_0The vote is historic because Watauga County becomes the first county in both North Carolina and in the United States officially calling for a 100% clean energy for all energy sectors goal for their state and the United States. Achieving this goal would result in the total phase out of fossil fuels by 2050. The Watauga County Board of Commissioners consists of three Democrats and two Republicans. The Town of Boone passed the same resolution last December.

The resolution was inspired, in part, by the research of the world-renowned renewable energy expert Dr. Mark Z. Jacobson, Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Director of the Atmosphere/Energy Program at Stanford University. Jacobson cofounded the group The Solutions Projecthttp://thesolutionsproject.org/ which advocates for 100% clean renewable energy.

The use of fossil fuels by society is the primary cause of climate change according to leading scientific, academic and governmental organizations, including the National Academy of Science, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Department of Defense, United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and numerous other authorities. Climate change leads to rising sea levels through the melting of the glaciers and an increase in the severity and frequency of flooding, wildfires, droughts, heatwaves, infectious diseases among other disastrous impacts that can lead to death and dire economic impacts if not stopped. Human-induced climate change can only be stopped by phasing out fossil fuels, which cause greenhouse gas emissions such as carbon dioxide and methane. These emissions trap heat in the Earth’s atmosphere and oceans according to an overwhelming scientific consensus.

In December 2015, nearly 200 nations, including the United States, signed a climate agreement in Paris, France to phase out all fossil fuels and to keep the global temperature increase since the 19th Century to well below 2 degrees Celsius and to pursue efforts to keep it below 1.5 degrees Celsius. North Carolina is second in the nation in solar capacity behind California and also has the biggest potential for offshore wind energy on the Eastern Seaboard.

This resolution has been endorsed by the North Carolina Climate Solutions Coalition (NCCSC), a group dedicated to fight climate change and support clean energy, which consists of the following organizations: Climate Voices US, Justice Action Mobilization Network, Hip Hop Caucus, The Climate Times, Sustainable Sandhills, The Canary Coalition, Beyond Extreme Energy, Divestment Student Network, BREDL, NC Power Forward, Temple Emanuel Environmental Movement, Appalachian Voices, and the Long Branch Environmental Education Center. The Coalition is led by Boone resident Dr. Harvard Ayers, Professor Emeritus of Anthropology at Appalachian State University. Dr. Ayers presented the Resolution to the Watauga County Board of Commissioners.

The Advisory Committee for the North Carolina Climate Solutions Coalition includes internationally recognized scientists and author/activist: Dr. Michael Mann, Distinguished Professor of Atmospheric Science, Penn State University; Dr. Robert Howarth, David R. Atkinson Professor of Ecology and Environmental Biology, Cornell University; Dr. George Woodwell, Founder and Director Emeritus of the Woods Hole Research Center; Dr. Mark Z. Jacobson, Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Director of the Atmosphere/Energy Program, Stanford University; Bill McKibben, author, climate activist, Schumann Distinguished Scholar at Middlebury College, Founder of 350.org; and Dr. Richard Gray, Professor of Physics, Appalachian State University.

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