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Advocacy on Climate and Sustainability

OPC Climate Change Mission

OPC promotes climate change solutions through legal and legislative advocacy, education, and empowerment of consumers in all eight wards. OPC works to ensure the District meets its ambitious goals of reducing carbon emissions—climate change pollution—50% by 2032 and 100% by 2050 in a just, equitable, affordable, and resilient manner.

Climate Action at OPC

The Climate Action Section spearheads OPC’s advocacy on behalf of District gas, electric and water consumers to combat climate change and become resilient to it. OPC educates and empowers consumers regarding climate change issues facing the District. OPC supports achieving the District’s ambitious goals of reducing carbon emissions—climate change pollution—50% by 2032 and 100% by 2050 in a just, affordable, and resilient manner. Climate change is already harming District residents bringing hotter summers, increased flooding, and more severe storms. As the statutory representative of District ratepayers OPC advocates for consumer-focused climate change solutions before governmental and private-sector organizations including the District, the Public Service Commission, DC Water, PJM Interconnection LLC, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (“FERC”), the federal government, neighboring states and regional entities.

Climate Change Impacts: What District Consumers Should Know

  • What is climate change?
    Climate change is a long-term change in the average weather patterns that define Earth’s local, regional and global climates. Human activities, particularly fossil fuel burning, increase heat-trapping greenhouse gas levels in Earth’s atmosphere, raising Earth’s average surface temperature.
  • Has DC’s climate already changed?
    Yes. The District is already experiencing climate change including hotter summers, more severe weather events, and increased flooding. July 2020 was the third-hottest month on record, and the top ten hottest have all been since 1990. Water levels along the Potomac and Anacostia Rivers have increased 11 inches in the past 90 years due to a combination of sea level rise and subsidence. As a result, nuisance flooding in riverfront areas has already increased by more than 300%.
  • How will DC’s climate continue to change?
    Climate change will bring even hotter summers, more severe weather events, and increased flooding. By 2080, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers conservatively predicts up to 3.4 feet of additional sea level rise in the District. The average summer high temperature in the District used to be 87°F. By the 2080s, it is projected to increase to between 93°F and 97°F.

How to Address Climate Change

We can all do our part to combat climate change. Here are some key steps you can take:

  • Support District goals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions – Help advance the District’s climate change goals including to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the District 100% by 2050. Participate in government planning exercises to help do that.
  • Reduce energy use – Check out DC Sustainable Energy Utility tips to reduce energy use including adjust your thermostat, dust vent covers and fan blades, and use an advanced power strip.
  • Conserve water – Check out DC Water’s tips to conserve water including check your plumbing for leaks, turn off the water while brushing your teeth, and plant native plants

Hot Button Issue: Electrification

In order for the District to meet its goal of reducing carbon emissions 100% by 2050, the District will have to drastically reduce its fossil fuel use. One potential way to do that is called “electrification.” In short, electrification is switching a fossil fuel use such as a stove, boiler, car or bus to one that runs on electricity. As the District’s electricity increasingly comes from “green” sources like solar panels and other renewable resources, the electricity used by those electric appliances and vehicles become closer to fossil-fuel free. OPC is working to ensure that District consumers’ needs are served in the development and execution of electrification plans. For example, in the DC Public Service Commission (“PSC”) proceeding regarding Pepco’s proposed transportation electrification program (FC1130) OPC is working to ensure this program equitably benefits ratepayers in all eight wards. OPC is also participating in DOEE’s transportation electrification roadmap to ensure the voice of consumers is included.

You can learn more about the District’s draft electrification plans here and look out for additional ways to weigh in on them here.