WASHINGTON — Atlanta lawmakers approved a measure on Monday aimed at powering the city entirely on renewable energy sources, including solar and wind, by 2035.
A resolution introduced by city council member Kwanza Hall and unanimously approved commits city government to develop a plan for transitioning all of its buildings to clean electricity sources by 2025, and for the entire city to go green a decade later.
“We know that moving to clean energy will create good jobs, clean up our air and water and lower our residents’ utility bills,” Hall, who’s also a Democratic candidate for mayor, said in a statement. “We never thought we’d be away from landline phones or desktop computers, but today we carry our smart phones around and they’re more powerful than anything we used to have. We have to set an ambitious goal or we’re never going to get there.”
Atlanta becomes the 27th U.S. city and the first in Georgia to pledge a 100-percent renewable energy goal, according to the Sierra Club.
Ted Terry, director of the Sierra Club’s Georgia Chapter, celebrated the city’s leadership in confronting climate change.
“Just days after hundreds of thousands marched for climate action across the globe, city leaders here in Atlanta are answering the call,” Terry said in a statement. “Today’s commitment will inspire bold, ambitious leadership from cities throughout the United States and pave the way for a healthier and stronger Atlanta.”
Monday’s vote comes less than a month after Hall came under fire for voicing skepticism about climate change.
“I got a question mark on the global warming thing,” he said at a forum last month, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported. “I do believe in sustainability. I’m a science-minded person and I have a science background. But stuff is in the media too much. … It’s hard for me to be convinced sometimes.”
One day after his controversial remark, Hall issued a press release spelling out his goal to make the city run on clean energy and clarifying his previous comment.
“I did not articulate where I am coming from clearly, at all,” he said. “I believe in science, and the overwhelming scientific consensus that tells us that our planet is warming and it is caused by humans burning fossil fuels. What I’m not sold on is the politicization of big issues like climate change. A lot of it is senseless propaganda, and it comes from both sides.”
Atlanta’s commitment follows a similar pledge by the city of South Lake Tahoe, California, last month.