Just Transition to Clean Energy

The year 2020 was a year of crises: a pandemic, economic turmoil, social upheaval. And running through it all, there was the climate crisis. Climate impacts, from devastating wildfires and hurricanes to record-breaking temperatures and droughts, are accelerating, and we are in a critical decade for lowering carbon emissions. The COVID-19 pandemic and racial justice concerns may have overshadowed the climate crisis in the news much of last year, but the climate crisis will continue its march as the 21st century’s most dangerous and intractable threat. Hence, SGI members continue to engage companies to address the risks and opportunities of the warming planet.

Over recent years, SGI has worked with regional electric and gas utilities to commit to carbon emission cuts. Those cuts in emissions often mean shuttering coal-fired plants and eliminating jobs. SGI’s 2020 conference,”Just Transition to Clean Energy,” brought together utility executives, a labor leader, a consumer advocate, and two climate experts to deepen our reflection. The power sector is a major contributor of greenhouse gases in this country and a critical enabler to the decarbonization of the transportation, residential and industrial sectors. However, the speed and equity of this decarbonization is dependent on integrating the concerns of all the key stakeholders. This requires consideration of vulnerable workers and a variety of affected communities when addressing the challenge of stranded assets and ensuring that the investments in low-carbon strategies and technologies create an inclusive, sustainable economy.

On October 12, 2020 Seventh Generation Interfaith Coalition for Responsible Investment (SGI-CRI) hosted its annual conference, virtually.

This year’s theme was Just Transition to Clean Energy. We had a lively discussion with a diverse group of experts:   

  • Tom Content, Executive Director, Citizens Utility Board (moderator)  
  • Vonda Brunsting, Program Manager, Just Transition Project, Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government 
  • Christina Herman, Program Director on Climate and Environment, Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility 
  • Cari Anne Renlund, Vice President and General Counsel, MGE 
  • Peggy Kelsey, Executive Vice President, WEC Energy Group  
  • Bob Stone, Assistant Business Manager, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 2150 

SGI is also a signatory to the Statement of Investor Commitment to Support a Just Transition on Climate Change. SGI will continue its work to accelerate into a future that preserves our cherished environment and strengthens our economy for subsequent generations.

Additionally, Sister Ruth Geraets of the Sisters of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Aberdeen, SD received the 2020 Fr. Mike Crosby Award. (For more on Sr. Ruth please see this.)

We are so very grateful for our conference sponsors. Click here to see the event program.

To see the 2019 event, please visit here.