4 months ago | Jan 07, 2014
By: Dorothy Barnett, Executive Director
As I write my first blog of the New Year I’m reminded of how important the work we are doing is for future generations. When I say WE I actually mean CEP staff, board, partners, funders and supporters (current and former).
To meet our mission of reducing emissions in the Heartland, we have spent the last seven years focusing on policies and programs that will increase the use of renewable energy and energy efficiency.
Initially I saw renewable energy as a way to revitalize rural Kansas and the Heartland states. My work was focused on economic prosperity for landowners and communities hosting wind farms. In many ways that holds true today, however, the landscape has changed for me personally and for the Heartland physically.
Personally, I’m a first-time Nana to an amazing little boy, Sawyer Jack. Until he showed up, it wasn’t always easy to connect "future generations” so clearly. My own three grown daughters will likely have fresh air, ample water and affordable clean energy. While they will feel some affects of a changing climate, I wonder what Sawyer will face in the next 80 years?
The Heartland is already seeing the effects of climate change
marked by drought and extreme weather events. Even as agriculture sees higher yields due to a longer growing season, it’s likely to see an increase in pests (due to warmer winters and earlier springs), increase in weed species and decreases in soil moisture and water availability.
2014 will be a historical year for the climate change conversation and according to a new survey
from the University of Stanford:
- A surprising majority of Americans across the political and geographical board are hungry for action on climate change.
- A new analysis of 21 scientific surveys reflecting public opinions in 46 states showed that a large majority of Americans now believe that global warming is manmade and that the government should reign in greenhouse gas emissions—especially at power plants.
- "Majorities in every state surveyed said the government should limit greenhouse gas emissions” and "in particular, by power plants.”
Someone is listening. The Environmental Protection Agency will set limits on the amount of greenhouse gas emissions power plants can emit. Targets will be set for each state in a draft rule due this June.
Several states (and their administrations) are proactively working with stakeholders to determine how they will position themselves to create economic opportunities for energy efficiency and renewable energy.
I hope Governor Brownback and his team will follow the example set by our neighboring states be a part of the solution for Sawyer Jack and the rest of our future generations.
Happy New Year!