Category Archives: climate change

From the Mass. Climate Action Network: the Energy Omnibus Bill is in the House TODAY

[Below are detailed ideas on what to ask for in the bill, and a link to find out who your Mass. elected officials are.]

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Massachusetts has been a national leader on clean energy,  but now are at a crossroads: we are poised to invest billions of dollars to replace retiring power plants and make energy choices that will shape our future.

Comprehensive energy policy is now advancing through the state legislature. Please urge your elected officials to invest in clean energy like wind and solar, and to ban any public financing of fracked gas pipelines!

Will you contact your respresentative and senator today?

When you call, meet with, or email your Representative and Senator, here is what you can say:

“I want to urge you to strengthen clean energy provisions in the House energy bill, H4336 – an Act Relative to Energy Diversity. Please work to pass an energy bill that reduces our reliance on imported gas and harnesses our state’s abundant renewable energy resources like wind and solar. The energy bill should:

  1. Stop the “pipeline tax.” Ratepayers should not foot the bill for new fracked gas pipelines. The cost and risk to consumers and the environment are too great and the legislature has a role to play in protecting the public by banning this practice. Please amend this legislation to head off the DPU’s plan to charge electric ratepayers for gas pipelines.
  2. Be bold with offshore wind: Legislation should establish long-term contracts for at least 2,000 megawatts of offshore wind energy. The current bill calls for 1200 megawatts – a good start, but increasing this will allow our state to grow wind jobs and capture a cost-saving economy of scale.
  3. Accelerate the Renewable Portfolio Standard to increase 2% per year: Maryland, California and Hawaii have all set ambitious RPS targets. To meet cuts the scientists say we must make in our climate change causing pollution, we can and should do the same. Please increase the RPS and accelerate the growth of local renewable power and the growth of clean energy jobs.
  4. Restore low-income and community solar: To ensure all communities can access solar power, the legislature should restore compensation for low-income and community solar projects.

Thank you for your support of clean energy, and please urge your colleagues to support these provisions.”

If you don’t know who your elected official is, you can find out here. Once you are ready to call, you can call them directly or you can call the state house switchboard at (617) 722-2000. And once you call, please let me know what your Representative and Senator says. It is super helpful to helping us strategize!
[T]hanks,

Carol Oldham, Executive Director [carololdham@massclimateaction.net]
Massachusetts Climate Action Network
http://www.massclimateaction.net/

carol oldham MCAN

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.

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
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Free film screening in Salem: “Merchants of Doubt”

merchants of doubt v.6

From SAFE Advisory Board Member, Stan Franzeen:

On Friday May 6, Congressman Seth Moulton will be hosting an audience Q&A after a free screening of the film MERCHANTS OF DOUBT at the NPS Visitor Center, 2 New Liberty Street, Salem. Doors open at 6:00 pm, screening at 6:30 pm. Released in 2015, this satirically comic documentary exposes the deceptive tactics (borrowed from the tobacco industry’s playbook) that well-paid lobbyists have been using to create doubt and obscure the facts about climate science.

Salem Sound Coastwatch and SAFE (Salem Alliance for the Environment) are sponsoring in partnership with the National Park Service.

We are very excited about this unique opportunity to reach new audiences and help dispel some of the myths perpetrated by the anti-science crowd.

February Had the Most Above-Average Temperatures on Record

The atmospheric temperature of the earth broke a 150-year-old record this February…and 150 years ago is when recording the weather began.

From TIME magazine contributor Justin Worland (@justinworland) —

Here’s why that matters

Global temperatures in February were the most above average since weather record keeping began nearly 150 years ago, bringing the world the closest it has ever been to what scientists consider dangerous levels of warming, a federal government agency confirmed Thursday.

The average temperature across the globe in February reached 13.3°C (56°F), according to a report from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). That’s 1.2°C (2.2°F) higher than the average global temperature in February during the 20th century. NOAA’s findings confirm those released earlier this month by NASA and the Japan Meteorological Agency that both show February as the most unusually hot month on record.

Read more.

PHILIPPINES - CLIMATE CHANGE - DISPLACEMENT

Relief packs are distributed in a flooded district of Taguig, Phillipines on Oct. 12, 2009. Typhoon Ketsana, known in the Philippines as Tropical Storm Ondoy, devastated the region in 2009.

PHILIPPINES: GROUND ZERO FOR CLIMATE DISASTER/image: Veejay Villafranca
Relief packs are distributed in a flooded district of Taguig, Phillipines on Oct. 12, 2009. Typhoon Ketsana, known in the Philippines as Tropical Storm Ondoy, devastated the region in 2009 (1 of 29 images).

NYT Opinion: Planet on the Ballot

Comment from SAFE Co-Chair, Jeffrey Barz-Snell: “It appears that the goal of drastically reducing emissions is within reach, but the wrong leader could still get in the way of saving the planet.”

From NYT Op-Ed Columnist, Paul Krugman on Feb. 29, 2016:

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We now have a pretty good idea who will be on the ballot in November: Hillary Clinton, almost surely (after the South Carolina blowout, prediction markets give her a 96 percent probability of securing her party’s nomination), and Donald Trump, with high likelihood (currently 80 percent probability on the markets). But even if there’s a stunning upset in what’s left of the primaries, we already know very well what will be at stake — namely, the fate of the planet.

Why do I say this?

Obviously, the partisan divide on environmental policy has been growing ever wider. Just eight years ago the G.O.P. nominated John McCain, whose platform included a call for a “cap and trade” system — that is, a system that restricts emissions, but allows pollution permits to be bought and sold — to limit greenhouse gases. Since then, however, denial of climate science and opposition to anything that might avert catastrophe have become essential pillars of Republican identity. So the choice in 2016 is starker than ever before.

Yet that partisan divide would not, in itself, be enough to make this a truly crucial year. After all, electing a pro-environment president wouldn’t make much difference if he or (much more likely) she weren’t in a position to steer us away from the precipice. And the truth is that given Republican retrogression and the G.O.P.’s near-lock on the House of Representatives, even a blowout Democratic victory this year probably wouldn’t create a political environment in which anything like Mr. McCain’s 2008 proposal could pass Congress.

But here’s the thing: the next president won’t need to pass comprehensive legislation, or indeed any legislation, to take a big step toward saving the planet. Dramatic progress in energy technology has put us in a position where executive action — action that relies on existing law — can achieve great things. All we need is an executive willing to take that action, and a Supreme Court that won’t stand in its way.

And this year’s election will determine whether those conditions hold.

Many people, including some who should know better, still seem oddly oblivious to the ongoing revolution in renewable energy. Recently Bill Gates declared, as he has a number of times over the past few years, that we need an “energy miracle” — some kind of amazing technological breakthrough — to contain climate change. But we’ve already had that miracle: the cost of electricity generated by wind and sun has dropped dramatically, while costs of storage, crucial to making renewables fully competitive with conventional energy, are plunging as we speak.

The result is that we’re only a few years from a world in which carbon-neutral sources of energy could replace much of our consumption of fossil fuels at quite modest cost. True, Republicans still robotically repeat that any attempt to limit emissions would “destroy the economy.” But at this point such assertions are absurd. As both a technical matter and an economic one, drastic reductions in emissions would, in fact, be quite easy to achieve. All it would take to push us across the line would be moderately pro-environment policies.

As a card-carrying economist, I am obliged to say that it would be best if these policies took the form of a comprehensive system like cap and trade or carbon taxes, which would provide incentives to reduce emissions all across the economy. But something like the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan, which would use flexible regulations imposed by the Environmental Protection Agency on major emitters, should be enough to get us a long way toward the goal.

And as I said, no new legislation would be needed, just a president willing to act and a Supreme Court that won’t stand in that president’s way, sacrificing the planet in the name of conservative ideology. What’s more, the Paris agreement from last year means that if the U.S. moves forward on climate action, much of the world will follow our lead.

I don’t know about you, but this situation makes me very nervous. As long as the prospect of effective action on climate seemed remote, sheer despair kept me, and I’m sure many others, comfortably numb — you knew nothing was going to happen, so you just soldiered on. Now, however, salvation is clearly within our grasp, but it remains all too possible that we’ll manage to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. And this is by far the most important issue there is; it, er, trumps even such things as health care, financial reform, and inequality.

So I’m going to be hanging on by my fingernails all through this election. No doubt there will be plenty of entertainment along the way, given the freak show taking place on one side of the aisle. But I won’t forget that the stakes this time around are deadly serious. And neither should you.