Our journey to a sustainable future requires multiple routes

Pathways to a clean, fair transition

The public’s enthusiasm for a clean-energy transition has been demonstrated with the emergence of passionate young activists and aggressive carbon reduction goals adopted by governments, legislatures, commissions, municipalities and companies. Yet a fundamental question remains: How can we deliver that low-carbon vision at a sustainable cost while maintaining reliability in the face of extreme weather conditions? A fact-based, holistic approach that considers system-wide interdependencies is critical to implementing meaningful decarbonization strategies. Here are some routes to consider.

Electrify Selectively

When deciding to promote fuel switching, it is worth noting that not all changes yield the same carbon reduction results. For example, electrifying transportation, especially if charging is directly connected to solar, has a greater impact than replacing home heating if the electrons must be generated overnight by gas or coal. "Electrifying Everything" may be a catchy slogan but it is not a silver bullet to achieve rapid decarbonization.

Practice good urban planning

As with electrification, a single approach will not suit all locations. By taking advantage of local climate, resources, and priorities, good planning can make rural, suburban, and urban communities more livable and sustainable. One goal is to increase the stock of affordable, energy efficient housing close to jobs and accessible by clean transit.