NextGen ads urge pledge for goal of 50% renewables by 2030

Source: Jennifer Yachnin, E&E reporter • Posted: Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Environmental activists at NextGen Climate yesterday unveiled the group’s latest step in its bid to push presidential primary contenders to embrace renewable energy policies, launching a new million-dollar ad campaign in New Hampshire and Iowa.

The political action committee, backed by California billionaire environmentalist Tom Steyer, is pushing candidates from both major parties to adopt platforms that would shift the country’s energy production to 50 percent renewable resources by 2030.

“Climate change is an urgent threat — but it is also America’s opportunity to build a clean energy economy that strengthens our country and builds the jobs of the future,” Steyer said in a statement announcing the new ad campaign. “It’s simply not enough to recognize the threat of climate change anymore — Americans are looking to our leaders for concrete solutions.”

But the new television spots, which NextGen said are part of a “seven-figure” television ad buy along with a “six-figure” digital campaign, do not target any would-be presidential candidates by name.

Instead, the 30-second television spot frames climate change as an economic issue.

“If you think storm damage is the only cost of climate change, think again,” a female narrator states over footage of flooded roadways and a bridge. “From the rising price of food to higher insurance rates for homes and businesses, the economic damage will only get worse. But with American-made clean energy, we can save money on electricity and spur innovation to create new businesses and jobs. It all starts with 50 percent clean energy by 2030. So what are we waiting for?”

The 30-second digital ad, which will target viewers in Florida, Iowa, New Hampshire and Ohio, asserts the next president should adopt the energy proposal and urges viewers to use the social media hashtag #50BY30.

“America is on the brink of something huge,” a male narrator states in the spot, which features text and simple graphics on an orange background. “The clean energy economy is taking off, generating millions of American jobs. A clean energy economy is possible and within reach. We need our next president to join the movement with a concrete plan to achieve at least 50 percent clean energy by 2030. Fifty by 30. Join us.”

To date, only former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) has proposed a similar plan, calling for a total shift to renewable energy sources by 2050, while former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said a third of the nation’s energy generation should be powered by renewable sources by 2020.