Friends, this world needs you now more than ever.
Like so many of you, we’re in shock and despair over the election results and what a Trump presidency might mean for our climate, clean air and water, all those who were made to feel unwelcome or unsafe by his campaign rhetoric, and our children’s future. But as we try to get our bearings, one clear insight keeps coming back to us: the work we’re all doing to move America beyond coal to clean energy is now more important than it has ever been.
It’s clear we won’t have a friend of clean energy and climate action in the White House, but that hasn’t stopped us before.
For the past decade plus, we’ve had the incredible honor of leading a campaign that has transformed how we make electricity in America using local, grassroots people power, and it started during the Bush years. Between 2002 and 2013, our grassroots rebellion stopped 184 new coal plants that were on the drawing board nationwide, during the fossil-fuel-loving George W. Bush administration. We succeeded by building powerful alliances that persuaded local decision makers in red and blue states, urban and rural, that coal was a bad bet.
It’s these thousands of local decisions every year that add up to determine where we get our electricity in America ― not the person sitting in the Oval Office.
We’ve shaped those decisions by building partnerships, friendships, and local leadership. Those are ties that can’t be broken by this Trump win, and in fact we must deepen and strengthen them, now more than ever. The fate of our climate and our communities are inextricably hitched together. As we move from coal to clean energy, we can also build a movement for justice that works to protect our most vulnerable neighbors and leave no one behind, serving as a rebuke and an antidote to the Trump agenda.
Here’s the thing ― the remaining coal fired power plants that are our biggest source of climate pollution have names and addresses, we’ve figured out how to shut them down, and those decisions aren’t made in Washington, D.C. They’re made in red states and blue states, big cities and rural areas, and we’ve been winning in all those places because we’ve been making a persuasive case that spending billions to prop up filthy, aging coal plants isn’t a good decision for our health or our economy when we’ve got a great alternative at the ready ― clean, safe, job-creating renewable energy. We’ve won retirement of 45 percent of U.S. coal plants so far, with an equal amount of renewable energy coming online nationwide, and we’re not slowing down.
Make no mistake about it ― having a climate denier in the White House is a nightmare, a real and present danger to our planet and our future, as our seas and our temperatures continue to rise. Our work just got a lot harder, but we can do hard work. We know how to play defense, and we’ll be fighting the backsliding of our progress on the federal level to close coal loopholes in our clean air and water standards. And instead of looking to Washington for leadership, we’ll be increasing momentum from the bottom up, working in communities, utility commissions, city councils, and state houses.
Simply put, we aren’t going backwards. Despite his empty campaign promises, Trump can’t bring coal back ― we aren’t building any new coal plants in the US, coal has fallen from providing half our power a decade ago to a record low of one-third today, and the remaining plants are facing unrelenting pressure from grassroots advocates and unrelenting competition from ever-cheaper wind and solar.
Plus, this progress is changing the world. In fact, we just reached a historic milestone ― renewable energy has surpassed coal as the biggest source of global electricity capacity. The people and the market are moving this nation beyond coal to clean energy, and Donald Trump can’t reverse that tide.
So friends, this world needs you ― and we need each other ― now more than ever. Our work is more important than ever. Our resilient, nimble, evolving, winning, open-source, grassroots campaign to move this country from coal to clean energy is more important than ever. Our climate and communities get a little safer with very coal plant that comes down and every solar or wind project that goes up, regardless of who is in the White House.
Do not give up. Do not give up. Do not give up. The stakes are far too high for that. Take some time to mourn, hug your loved ones, and then roll up your sleeves. If you haven’t joined us before, please do. And if you’re already with us, hang in there, so that we can all look our kids in the eye and let them know we still have a fighting chance.