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How will Virginia Approach Climate Change?

protest signs about climate change
(Image: Getty Images)

Recently many marches and rallies took place around the globe to implore world leaders to act on climate change. Teenager and recent climate action wunderkind, Greta Thunberg, has been making a lot of news lately through her school strikes asking nations, cities, and individuals to explore the many options which could greatly decrease the amount of climate-warming carbon put into the atmosphere by human use. This is a global issue that absolutely has local impacts. So let's look at what role we here in Virginia will play moving forward. How will Virginia approach climate change? 

Governor Northam also recently announced a goal that lines up with what climate experts have been encouraging regions to set in motion. The Governor’s goal is to get  Virginia’s electrical infrastructure to go 100% renewable - meaning fossil-fuel free - by the year 2050. Currently, only  7% of our electricity comes from renewable sources which means we’ve got a whole 93% to go to make the goal over the next thirty-one years.

How do we get there? One step at a time, of course. This large goal has been broken down into a few smaller milestones and deadlines. The nearest deadline is for all state offices, like the DMV, state government offices, places like the Science Museum of Virginia, and other state organizations to have  30% of their electricity coming from renewable sources by 2022, just a few years from now! Other goals and milestones have been established to help this energy transformation possible by 2050.

In related news Dominion, the state’s largest energy provider has also just announced plans to build the largest offshore wind farm in the US featuring 220 wind turbines, able to power 650K homes at their peak output. All these individual projects, long term planning decisions, lowered costs from an increase of demand, and statewide infrastructural upgrades coming online over time would add up to our state’s electricity being provided from renewable sources by 2050.

While getting our electricity to go renewable is a great goal there are still a lot of other industries and emissions to address. For example, VA’s transportation sector - and car-centric lifestyles - is responsible for  nearly half of our state’s carbon emissions. Richmond and Miami have about the same amount of solar potential,
making solar a residential and commercial viability. Nuclear power and hydropower will likely continue to supplement our state’s energy needs moving forward.

For now, though the commonwealth will begin to work towards the process of converting the generation of electricity Virginians use to renewable sources. For the lack of a better word, all these news headlines around this topic are very power-full. 

Time to harness present-day sunshine instead of fossilized sunshine!

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