Georgia Needs Bold Climate Action, Congress Must Act Now

President Biden’s Build Back Better Agenda Will Reignite Georgia’s Economy While Protecting Communities from the Worst Effects of Climate Change

Clean Energy Investment Means More Jobs For Georgia. Transitioning to a 100% clean energy economy will help Georgia’s economic recovery by putting tens of thousands of people to work building clean energy sources, making buildings and homes more energy efficient, and protecting the state’s natural beauty.

  • Georgia is already a clean energy jobs leader, ranking 16th nationally in clean energy employment with 71,111 jobs. 
    • These jobs benefit rural communities — Georgia ranks 19th nationwide in rural clean energy employment. In 2020, more than 1 in 10 clean energy jobs in Georgia were in rural areas, for a  total of 8,526 rural clean energy jobs.
    • Georgia’s clean  energy sector grew 29.6% in the  second half of 2020, exceeding the state’s overall job growth rate and showing the resiliency of the industry. 
  • Georgia’s offshore wind potential remains untapped, with a recent report finding Georgia could provide 112% of its 2019 electricity usage with offshore wind alone.
  • Georgia ranks among the top 10 states nationwide in solar power capacity. Investments in clean energy manufacturing would turbocharge the state’s already strong solar industry, which benefits from an abundance of flat land and plenty of sunshine. 
  • Federal clean energy stimulus investments totaling $99.2 billion could generate 21,912 jobs in Georgia per year over a 5 year period.
    • Georgia is among the top 10 states in terms of jobs created by potential investments in grid modernization and energy efficiency. 

Georgians Are On The Front Lines Of The Climate Crisis. Dangerous extreme weather has become increasingly common throughout Georgia as rising sea levels, hurricanes, wildfires, and droughts threaten Georgians’ lives and livelihoods. 

  • From 2010 to 2020, Georgia experienced 46 extreme weather events, costing the state up to $20 billion in damages. 
  • In the last decade, Georgia experienced 11 tropical storms and hurricanes that each caused $1 billion or more in damages. In 2020, damage from Tropical Storm Zeta in Georgia alone topped more than $22 million
  • Thanks to climate change, hurricanes impacting southern states, including Georgia, are set to become more frequent and more intense with greater amounts of precipitation.
  • In Georgia, prolonged drought conditions raise the risk of wildfires and climate change is increasing the severity, frequency, and extent of wildfires. 
  • Atlanta is the 19th fastest warming city in the United States, and the city is upto 16 degrees hotter compared to rural areas. 
    • People of color are even more vulnerable to extreme heat, as 
    • Urban heat islands, which experience much higher temperatures due heating-trapping concrete, put communities of color at higher risk.  This also leads to higher energy costs, increased air pollution, and more heat-related illnesses and deaths.
  • As climate change increases the frequency and severity of heavy downpours, meaning Georgians are increasingly at risk from inland flooding. 
    • There are currently more than 570,000 people living in areas at an elevated risk of inland flooding in Georgia.
    • In August 2021, heavy rains from Tropical Storm Fred caused flooding across metro Atlanta.

The Climate Crisis And Toxic Pollution Disproportionately Affect People Of Color. Black, Brown, and Indigenous communities are hit hardest by extreme weather and impacted by decades of legacy pollution. Investing in clean energy in these communities is essential to end environmental injustice and ensure new opportunities for frontline and fenceline communities.

  • The effects of ozone pollution disproportionately impact minority communities in Georgia – a 2012 report found that in Metro Atlanta, low-pollution blocks have an average minority population of 25.4%, while the average minority population of the high-pollution blocks is nearly double at 44.2%
  • 14 out of Georgia’s 22 EPA superfund sites are in cities where the majority of the population is Black.

Climate Change Threatens Georgia. Inaction Is Not Only Expensive, It’s Not An Option. Studies show Georgia will suffer severely from the effects of climate change. Georgians’’ health, safety, and economic vitality are all at risk.

  • Georgians’ are paying the price of climate inaction — climate change will cost Georgia $34.2 billion a year by the year 2100. 
    • Climate change is projected to cause a 11.59% loss in crop yields in Georgia, including a 44% loss in oil crops (soy, rapeseed, palm, and sunflower). 
    • In 2018, Hurricane Michael destroyed between $2.3 billion and $2.8 billion of crops in Georgia, including $800 million in cotton losses. 
    • The changing climate threatens the 130 million pounds of peaches produced by the state annually, which is worth more than $30 million. 

Georgians Want Bold Solutions. Regardless of political affiliation, Georgians overwhelmingly support strong investments in clean energy. Scientists’ warnings are playing out in Georgians’ backyards, and they need Congress to dramatically reduce emissions and halt the worst of the climate crisis. 

  • An overwhelming majority of registered voters in Georgia support investment in clean energy jobs (79%), and want Congressional action on climate change (76%)
    • This support is even higher among registered voters in  Georgia’s 6th and 7th congressional districts:
      • 80% of registered voters in Georgia’s 7th District support clean energy investments. 
      • 76% of registered voters in Georgia’s 7th District want Congress to take action to address climate change. 
      • 84% of registered voters in Georgia’s 6th District support clean energy investments. 
      • 82% of registered voters in Georgia’s 6th District want Congress to take action to address climate change.