Electrifying the Senate
June 15, 2021
First, the bad news: in spite of the pandemic calming of fossil fuel use – remember a year ago, when there was no traffic? – our climate emissions are now as high as they have ever been in human history. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced this past week that the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere reached 419 parts per million this month, its highest level in four million years. We’re adding 40 billion metric tons of CO2 pollution to the atmosphere per year, and we’ve got to stop.
How? As we’ve pointed out, we don’t need a miracle, we just need to #electrifyeverything. The good news is that our plan is getting traction in Washington, DC. This week, Senator Martin Heinrich (D-NM) wrote a guest essay in the New York Times arguing that to slow global warming, we need to electrify our economy and power it with renewable energy. He gave several shout-outs to Rewiring America and our plans to electrify the nation.
"[Rewiring America] has calculated that we must replace or install one billion machines. More than half of those would replace the ones we now have in our homes that burn fossil fuels.... What if we build those electric appliances in America?" wrote Senator Heinrich.
Senator Heinrich also endorsed our plan for electrification. "Rewiring America’s road map will create, among other things, as many as 25 million new, good-paying jobs at the peak of this effort to switch to clean energy," he wrote.
Senator Heinrich has also introduced the Electrifying America’s Future resolution in the Senate, which calls on Congress to pass legislation that accelerates the electrification of U.S. households, buildings, and businesses, modernizes the nation's electricity grid, and furthers the decarbonization of electricity generation by 2035. You can sign on to show your support.
This resolution is co-sponsored by U.S. Senators Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Alex Padilla (D-Calif.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Ed Markey (D-Mass.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Jacky Rosen (D-Nev.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.) and Angus King (I-Maine).
While we wait on Congress to put real policy and funding behind solutions (which we are proposing!), we can all take action.
It’s important to focus on your home, community, and business in electrifying everything. We know that over 42% of our energy-related carbon emissions come from decisions we make at our kitchen tables. In order to combat the highest levels of carbon emissions in human history, we each have to do our part. That means that the next time you need to replace a fossil fuel-burning machine, it should be with an electric one, backed by clean energy. We don’t need to invent new technology or change our lifestyles. But we do need the federal government to help reduce these upfront costs for modern electrical appliances so that they are the most affordable and convenient machines to purchase and have installed at the time of replacement. That’s why we have a plan for that, starting with appliance rebates.
Finally, a picture paints a thousand words, but in the best seven minutes of video you may see today, our co-founder Saul Griffith helps us picture the one billion machines we need to build and replace – and the millions of jobs that will create – in a recent talk for Verge Electrify. Take a look, and plug in. Our future depends on it.