In the wake of President Obama’s final State of the Union address, our country has had the opportunity to reflect upon the tremendous strides toward combating climate change that the United States has made over these past seven years. From increased fuel efficiency standards on automobiles to the historic UN climate deal reached in Paris, America has made significant progress—both at home and abroad—to ensure that the state of our union remains strong.
But our union will never truly be secure until we tackle climate change, which threatens our economy, our health, and our national security. That’s why NextGen Climate is calling for America to be powered with more than 50 percent clean energy by 2030, putting us on the path to a completely clean energy economy by 2050. It’s up to the American people to ensure that our next president is prepared—on day one—to help solve this crisis by accelerating our country’s transition to a clean energy future.
We know that transitioning to clean energy is an economic growth opportunity for our country creating jobs, lowering energy costs for families and businesses, and driving our country’s economic growth. In fact, according to a recent report from ICF International, this transition will create up to 2 million jobs by 2050 and increase disposable incomes by as much as $650 per household.
At the same time, the cost of climate inaction would be disastrous. Leading researchers predict that inaction on climate change will lower America’s GDP by 5 percent through 2050 and 36 percent by the end of this century—dramatically expanding income inequality as these impacts disproportionately affect low-income households.
As President Obama begins his final year in office and the race for his successor is underway, one thing is clear—addressing climate change is essential to ensuring America remains strong and secure, our economy continues to lead the world, our society becomes more just, and our children have access to brighter, better future.
There is too much at stake to ignore the greatest challenge our country faces.