Monthly Archives: May 2016

Mass High Court Upholds Climate Mandate

Conservation Law Foundation released a statement this afternoon regarding a historic decision by the state’s highest court enforcing the Global Warming Solutions Act.

The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court released its decision today in Kain et al. v. Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), affirming the State’s obligations under the 2008 Global Warming Solutions Act (GWSA) and ordering the Commonwealth to create and implement regulations to meet its carbon emission reduction mandates. In the opinion by Justice Cordy, the Court sided with Conservation Law Foundation (CLF), Massachusetts Energy Consumer Alliance, and four teenage plaintiffs in asserting that DEP failed its legal obligation to enforce the GWSA.

“This is a historic day,” said Jenny Rushlow, CLF’s lead attorney on the case. “Today our highest court declared clearly and unequivocally that our leaders can no longer sit on their hands while Massachusetts communities are put at risk from the effects of climate change. Thanks to this landmark decision, our role as a national leader in battling climate change has only been stalled but not sacrificed. Now, with action from DEP, we can get back on track and ensure that the health of our families and future generations is always a top priority.” Read more.

‘New’ nuclear reactors? Same old story

The two main obstacles to new designs for nuclear reactors are still exactly the same: cost and unforeseen technical problems:

The nuclear industry is forever reinventing itself with one brilliant ‘new’ idea after another, Amory Lovins wrote in this classic 2009 essay. But whether it’s touting the wonders of future SMRs, IFRs or LFTRs, the reality never changes: the reactors they are building right now are over time, over budget and beset by serious, entirely unforeseen technical problems.

“But on closer examination, the two kinds most often promoted – Integral Fast Reactors (IFRs) and thorium reactors – reveal no economic, environmental, or security rationale, and the thesis is unsound for any nuclear reactor.”

Read the essay in The Ecologist issue of April 12, 2016.

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This is a file from the Wikimedia Commons. Click for information from its description page.

Cape Wind goes to court again

(April 27 story in CommonWealth Magazine, in the Environment section)

Cape Wind appealed to the Supreme Judicial Court at the end of April because of the decision by a state board, the Energy Facilities Siting Board, to deny a two-year extension of transmission permits.

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Cape Wind claims that the siting board exceeded its authority and asserts the decision to deny a two-year extension of transmission permits “is based on errors of law, is made upon unlawful procedures, is unsupported by substantial evidence and lacks requisite subsidiary findings and is arbitrary and capricious, an abuse of discretion…”

Read the whole article.

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from the Cape Wind website

Letter: SSU urged to divest from fossil fuel companies

In today’s Salem News:

To the editor:

In order to limit the global temperature rise to less than 2 degrees Celsius, 80 percent of currently listed fossil fuel reserves must remain in the ground, unburnable, as stranded assets. It is unconscionable for Salem State University to continue to profit from fossil fuel companies and investments that will lock us into catastrophic climate change. More than 650 students and 110 faculty members have signed a petition asking Salem State to immediately freeze its investments in fossil fuel companies and divest its holdings completely from these companies within five years.

Until Salem State divests from fossil fuels we encourage future patrons to instead donate to the Multi-School Divestment Fund.

We have the opportunity to show leadership for our students and join more than 500 divested institutions worldwide in a time of unprecedented transition.

It is time to act.

Jessica Debski

Divest Salem State From Fossil Fuels Student Group

Link to letter.

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Salem State University (source: WikiMedia Commons)

Moulton to host Q&A at ‘Merchants of Doubt’ film

Film focuses on efforts to discredit climate change, other issues

Almost every seat was filled at the National Park Service Visitors Center last night, for a screening of the film, Merchants of Doubt (the story referred to above ran in the Salem News on May 5th). The film showed how the struggle to expose the tobacco industry’s practice of hiring “experts” to discredit the dangers of smoking is happening all over again with climate change. However, that battle took 50 years, and we don’t have the luxury of that many decades this time around, according to James Hansen and other scientists focused on the hard science of what is happening to our atmosphere.

Here is a YouTube clip of the question-and-answer session with Congressman Moulton, filmed by SAFE Advisory Board Member, Stan Franzeen. The Salem News article that ran on the 5th before the screening can be read here.

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Congressman Seth Moulton