Solar power grew at a record-breaking pace in 2016. The United States now has 42 gigawatts (GW) of solar photovoltaic (PV) energy capacity, enough to power 8.3 million homes and reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 52.3 million metric tons annually.1 Hundreds of thousands of Americans, especially in our cities, have invested in their own solar panels or solar projects in their communities and millions more are ready to join them.
To tackle the climate crisis, we need to quickly shift away from dirty fossil fuels and towards 100 percent renewable energy. The Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states are leading the way with the best regional clean air and climate protection program in the country: the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative.
America’s institutions of higher education can play a crucial role in the fight to prevent the worst impacts of global warming. Colleges and universities across the country should aggressively deploy clean energy on campus, setting a goal of getting 100 percent of their energy from clean renewable sources.
Increasingly, leaders in the United States and around the world are taking action to protect our climate from global warming. With 2016 likely to be the hottest year in human history, the need for further action is only growing more apparent, and more urgent.
Fortunately, leading states continue to prove that curbing dangerous carbon pollution can reduce the risk of global warming and benefit local communities at the same time. The Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states have dramatically reduced dangerous power plant pollution, using tools including the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, a policy that limits pollution over time and makes polluters pay for the privilege of using the sky for waste disposal. Much of the revenue is then invested in clean energy programs, which have boosted the regional economy by nearly $3 billion.