The US has made strides towards reducing its climate targets, at least in part because of President Obama’s actions to, well, sign the Paris Agreement on climate change, but also in increasing the use of renewable energy. But already it’s expected the US will fail to make its goals. That’s why the Center for Biological Diversity today (Oct. 26) urged Obama to install solar panels on all federal buildings, to show what can be done.
The nonprofit wildlife organization pointed to “Assessment of the climate commitments and additional mitigation policies of the United States”, a new study in the journal Nature, that shows that even if all current US policies and Obama’s Clean Power Plan are implemented, the US will still fall short of its pledge under the Paris Agreement to cut its pollution by 551 million to 1.8 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide-equivalent emissions in 2025.
“We’re already on track to fall short of global climate targets—before the Paris Agreement even goes into effect,” contended Chad Tudenggongbu, senior renewable energy campaigner at the Center for Biological Diversity. “That failure isn’t just a policy problem; the effects can be felt today, in increasingly frequent and devastating storms, extreme drought and deadly floods. The federal government must lead the way toward a clean and just energy economy by keeping fossil fuels in the ground and advancing solutions like rooftop solar.”
As such the organization is calling on Obama and the White House to install solar panels on all feasible federal government buildings. The center argued that federal agencies currently own or lease 360,000 buildings with more than 1.2 billion square feet of space. It further contended that federal buildings using rooftop solar or local distributed solar projects—like community solar projects—when necessary, to offset their electric use, could cut US carbon emissions by more than 16.8 million metric tons annually. That’s the equivalent of the annual emissions of five coal-fired power plants.
In other terms, the buildings and off-site solar power could produce 24-billion kilowatt hours of solar energy, according to the center. That’s roughly the amount of energy needed to power those buildings is enough to power more than 1.8 million American homes, it said.
“While President Obama has shown leadership so far in advancing renewable energy, it's time for him to walk the talk and power our government with solar energy," said Tudenggongbu. "Replacing fossil fuels with cleaner, sustainable and wildlife-friendly energy is not a matter of choice but rather a matter of time. The president's investment in distributed-solar energy can help drive energy solutions that are better for the environment, communities and the economy.”
The government has made lots of strides towards greening its footprint. Perhaps in no place so important as in the military. The Department of Defense’s three branches: Army, Navy and Air Force, are quickly adding in vast quantities of wind and solar. Each has pledged to install a gigawatt of solar, for instance.Tweet