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Video: MA Gov Deval Patrick Calls for 'Future Free of Fossil Fuels'

In a speech Friday at the UMass Amherst Commencement Address, Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick called for a "future free of fossil fuels."

Where it says Massachusetts, imagine inserting the word "Virginia" — or any other state — and imagine Gov. Terry McAuliffe — or any other governor — saying them. Because that's what it's going to take to deal with the #1 threat to humanity and to the ecosystems on which the planet's life (including our own) depends; collective action across this country.

Here in Virginia, we should start by ditching any thought of offshore drilling for fossil fuels, and replace that with a crash program of offshore wind turbine installation. We should also move away from coal as rapidly as possible, harnessing the enormous potential of energy efficiency, as well as solar power on rooftops, schools, government facilities, putting a price on carbon, etc, etc. Of course, doing all this will require our "leaders" to take on powerful forces like Dominion Virginia Power and the coal companies, but as uncomfortable as that might make them politically, that's exactly what they absolutely must do.

The history books and future generations will rightfully judge today's "leaders" harshly if they fail to act. Leaders like Gov. Deval Patrick, on the contrary, should and likely will be hailed as heroes and visionaries. Thank you to Gov. Patrick for his leadership in this crucial area; now what about all the governors of all the states?

"...we cannot continue to consume so much of the world's energy and take so little responsibility for the impact of that consumption on the lives of others, and the life of the planet itself."

"We knew that if we harnessed Massachusetts-grown energy sources, reduced our energy consumption and protected our natural resources, we could strengthen both the environment and our economy."

"Working with other states through the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, we have lowered carbon emissions throughout the region and demonstrated that a market based cap-and-trade approach works...our economy is not just unharmed but stronger."

"We must redouble our efforts to get our electricity from clean power sources like wind, solar and hydropower, including by changing the laws that effectively limit the production, affordability and use by homeowners and businesses of clean alternative sources, and passing the hydro/wind bill now pending in the Legislature."

"And we should double down on energy efficiency"

"In fact, the time has come to set a new standard that ensures that, at every point in time, at every moment, we are getting the cleanest energy possible. It means energy efficiency first. It means zero-emission electricity next - solar, wind, and hydro."

"What's the best? The best is a future free of fossil fuels. It's an economy driven by homegrown, independent sources of renewable energy, cutting edge technology, and hyper-efficient cars and buildings. It's a future within our grasp. We don't have to wait for disaster: the Stone Age didn't end because we ran out of stone, but because humankind imagined a better way and then reached for it."

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