Last year, the world’s leading climate scientists warned that we had 12 years to limit global CO2 emissions, or our planet faces a bleak future. Meanwhile, closer to home, emissions cloud our air and produce a haze over our beloved Wasatch Front.

Many people feel paralyzed, thinking they can’t do much. Most wait and hope: either hope that it won’t be as bad as all that, or hope that we’ll get an opportunity to do something.

For those of us in the second category, our opportunity is finally here.

This year, the State Legislature passed HB 411. It gives a pathway for Utah cities and towns to switch to 100% renewable energy by 2030 - that is solar, wind, and other CO2-neutral sources. Residents would be defaulted into the renewable energy program, but they could opt-out quite easily, for instance by checking a box on your utility bill. Cities including Salt Lake, Holladay, Park City, and others have already signed onto this program.

Would electricity cost more? Possible, but not likely. Most people don’t know it, but the cost of renewable energy is falling extremely fast. Solar now costs less than coal, and will likely be the cheapest source of electricity, well before 2030. That’s right: joining the environmental movement could actually save you money! (Even in the worst case, the largest expected rate increase from HB 411 would only be about 8%. But again, you can easily opt back out.)

So, what’s the catch? Before cities and other communities can join the HB 411 program, City Council has to formally opt into it. And crucially, the deadline for that is this December 31st.

A concerned citizens group, Ready for 100 Ogden, has been working hard since this summer to explain HB 411 to City Hall and convince them of its benefits. We understand they want to move deliberately, but time is running out to opt-in. It’s crucial that they hear from you.

Please reach out to your city councilperson today. Email is great, but a phone call is better. To figure out who your councilperson is, check their website: https://www.ogdencity.com/157/City-Council-Members. Also, City Council meetings are open to the public most Tuesdays at 6:00 pm. For more information about Ready for 100 or HB 411, please contact Lindsay Beebe, our coordinator, at Lindsay.beebe@sierraclub.org.

When contacting your councilperson, please be courteous and respectful, but firm. Tell them you want to see Ogden powered by the clean, beautiful energy that nature provides. Tell them you want to end pollution from fossil fuels. Tell them you want HB 411.

Trevor Jones is an engineer with experience providing structural certification letters for solar panel installations on residential and commercial buildings and a member of Ready for 100 Ogden.

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