Meeting the Moment on Earth Day 2022
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Alliance to Save Energy's Blog
Meeting the Moment on Earth Day 2022
Earth Day always brings a welcome reminder to attend to the well-being our planet and all of the natural, cultural, and economic systems that it supports. But today, that reminder has become an alarm bell: we’re facing a defining moment for our planet and our energy future. Rising energy prices, renewed questions around energy security, accelerating impacts of climate change, and recognition of the inequities embedded in how underserved communities interact with the energy system all point to the need for clear vision and decisive action.
The gravity of this moment was made clear in the final installment of the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report released earlier this month. The report – released for the first time in seven years – warned that key climate investments must be made “now or never” in order to restrain global warming to 1.5˚C, as agreed upon under the Paris Climate Agreement of 2015. And we have the tools to do so, with the necessary knowledge, money, technology, and affordable clean energy already at our fingertips.
Energy efficiency technology, for example, is ready to be deployed. The IPCC report highlights energy efficiency as not only a necessary priority in enabling a clean energy transition, but one of the most technically viable, cost-effective, and publicly supported climate solutions. Despite having the potential to massively reduce carbon emissions through energy efficiency and other clean energy technologies, funding for these policies isn’t where it needs to be. According to the IPCC report, lack of political will is standing in the way of effective climate action – leaving current funding to be three to six times lower than necessary if we hope to even limit global warming to 2˚C.
As such, we’re celebrating Earth Day this year by considering its relevant theme: “Invest in Our Planet.” The benefits of investing in energy efficiency are countless. It reduces energy costs for everyday consumers: energy efficiency gains since 1980 already save Americans roughly $2,500 per person each year. It stimulates local economies: efficiency jobs are already found in 99.8% of U.S. counties. And, of course, it’s the best bet for combatting the climate crisis, as efficiency alone can account for more than 40% of the emissions cuts needed to reach Paris Climate Agreement goals. That is – if we have the political will and funding in place to do so.
We’ve powered through difficult defining moments like this before. In the 1970s, as Earth Day was first gaining traction and Congress was just beginning to consider the impacts of climate change, the nation was also suffering from a devastating oil crisis that put energy affordability and security into question. But out of that crisis came bipartisan solutions that helped protect both consumers and the planet, including the creation of the Weatherization Assistance Program, fuel economy and household appliance efficiency standards, and energy efficiency tax credits. It also led to the founding of the Department of Energy and the Alliance to Save Energy, which celebrates its 45th anniversary this year.
For over four decades, the Alliance has advanced energy efficiency policy by leading bipartisan advocacy initiatives and convening diverse coalitions to advance our sphere of influence. With continued support from our Board of Directors, Honorary Advisors, Associate members, Active Efficiency Collaborative, e-Advocates network, and more, we’ll continue to drive investments in energy efficiency and overcome the obstacles in our way to build a sustainable future. By prioritizing energy efficiency across a broad coalition, we can invest in our planet and meet this defining moment.
If you or your organization also wants to meet the moment this Earth Day, join us in promoting energy efficiency through policy and education.
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