My name is Paula Clements and I am a Climate Reality Leader. The environment crisis is of grave concern for me. Globally, we are dumping 110 mil. tons of man-made global warming pollution into the atmosphere every single day. That pollution is billowing out of smokestacks and tailpipes and leaking from pipelines and compressor stations right here in the Commonwealth. The sky looks like a vast expanse but in reality, the atmosphere is a very thin shell surrounding our planet, and we are using it as an open sewer.
There are only 3 questions we need to address. MUST we change/CAN we change and most important, WILL we change – that is why we are here today.
Let me address the 1st question, Must we change?
The answer to that first question must be a resounding YES! Our continued actions to ignore the warning signs, to ignore the scientists and to continue to dump fossil fuel pollution into the atmosphere has put at risk, all of human civilization. It is happening on our watch! ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!
So that second question, Can we change, fortunately is YES. The relief we need is heaven sent, in the form of wind and sun. Our scientists, innovators and businesses have developed ways that we can harness the wind and sun and create clean renewable energy.
And finally, that third question, WILL we change? I have read many of the statements on your website and I’ve listened to speakers, many experts in their field, at the Northern VA Listening Session. We are facing a global crisis that needs a global response but that doesn’t relieve us of our own responsibility. There are already multiple States and hundreds of Cities who have committed to go 100% renewable. There are 40 cities who have already achieved it! But not one Virginia community has been able to make the commitment because there are so many obstacles for us here in the Commonwealth. We are even seeing many Corporations commit and achieve 100%. Apple, the most profitable company in history is operating on 100% Renewable energy! The conflict between the environment and the economy is a myth!
I implore you to take the advice and suggestions you obtain from the listening sessions and online comments and help Gov. Northam develop an energy plan for our Commonwealth that looks forward not back; that quickly ramps up Renewable Power, energy efficiency, Electric Vehicle infrastructure and storage capability. I recognize that the tasks ahead are large and daunting but we are surrounded by examples that a global sustainability revolution is underway. Let’s work together on an aggressive plan to reduce carbon emissions and lead the commonwealth to a 100% renewable future! THANK YOU.