Professor Jacobson's Plan for 53 Cities and Towns

In a new study entitled "Sustainable Cities and Society" Professor Mark Jacobson of the has presented a detailed plan to replace fossil-fueled energy with 100% clean and renewable Wind, Water, and Sunlight (WWS) in all sectors of the energy economy.

A few years ago, FaCT endorsed Jacobson's plan for each of the 50 states to convert to WWS.  Subsequently, the state of New York and California adopted significant parts of Jacobson's plan.

Now, in a new study, Jacobson zeroes in on 53 cities and towns in the U.S. , Canada, and Mexico to show how those localities can convert to 80% WWS by 2030 and 100% WWS energy by 2050. 

This is the Abstract of the study:

Towns and cities worldwide emit significant pollution and are also increasingly affected by pollution’s health and climate impacts. Local decision makers can alleviate these impacts by transitioning the energy they control to 100% clean, renewable energy and energy efficiency. This study develops roadmaps to transition 53 towns and cities in the United States, Canada, and Mexico to 100% wind, water, and sunlight (WWS) in all energy sectors by no later than 2050, with at least 80% by 2030. The roadmaps call for electrifying transportation and industrial heat; using electricity, solar heat, or geothermal heat for water and air heating in buildings; storing electricity, cold, heat, and hydrogen; and providing all electricity and heat with WWS. This full transition in the 53 towns and cities examined may reduce 2050 air pollution premature mortality by up to 7000 (1700-16,000)/yr, reduce global climate costs in 2050 by $393 (221–836) billion/yr (2015 USD), save each person ∼$133/yr in energy costs, and create ∼93,000 more permanent, full-time jobs than lost. 

The complete study can be found at:

The Social and Environmental Impacts of Mountaintop Coal Removal

by Dr. Randi Pokladnik

Harry Caudill wrote of the plight of coal miners in his book, Night Comes to the Cumberlands. He said, “Coal has always cursed the land in which it lies. When men begin to wrest it from the earth it leaves a legacy of foul streams, hideous slag heaps and polluted air. It peoples this transformed land with blind and crippled men and with widows and orphans. It is an extractive industry which takes all away and restores nothing. It mars but never beautifies. It corrupts but never purifies.”

On the few occasions that we visited West Virginia, I often wondered why people seemed so poor. On one trip down to Racine, WV our church sent several truckloads of food and clothing. I was surprised when a local woman asked my aunt how to cook a grapefruit. She had never seen one.

The coal fields of Appalachia and the people who live in those areas are caught in a circle of poverty. For decades, local, state and federal politicians have refused to break the stranglehold that fossil fuels have on the region, by investing in green jobs.

This mindset continues as oil and gas move into the region bringing with them more social and environmental issues. Today, McDowell County remains one of the poorest counties in the United States yet it exported more coal than almost any other county in the United States.

Kayford Mountain sits in the middle of mountaintop coal removal. Until his death in 2012, Larry Gibson made it his mission to show the world the devastation surrounding his family home on Kayford Mountain. Each fall a prayer vigil is held on top of the mountain. People are taken to a spot where they can safely look over the ridge to see an actual MTR coal site. I was able to take my husband to see the site in person. Looking at the vast acreage of carnage left behind by MTR makes a profound impact on most people. I challenge anyone seeing this to waste energy again.

As a descendant of Appalachian coal miners, and an energy user, I often consider my complicity in the deaths of mountains and men. We are all used to having electricity at our disposal but very seldom do we consider the costs both socially and environmentally of that energy source.

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