City Council President Calls for Community Choice Energy

On January 24, City Council President Michelle Wu and Councilor Matt O’Malley introduced an order for a hearing on Community Choice Energy, which would make renewable electricity available to all Bostonians. Here is Wu’s statement.

At today’s 12PM Boston City Council meeting, we’ll be taking up a hearing order that I’m filing in partnership with Councilor Matt O’Malley on Community Choice Energy. Also called “community choice aggregation” or “municipal aggregation,” this refers to a state law that gives MA cities and towns the ability to determine our own energy future. The law lays out a process for the City of Boston to choose to power our city as a whole with renewable energy resources such as solar and wind. Community choice energy is the fastest way that Boston can get on the path to being a 100% renewable energy city. Read more about the process here: http://www.massclimateaction.org/community_aggregation.

Just last week, we saw the swearing in of a new President who denies climate change and plans to install climate change deniers to lead our federal environmental agencies. Yesterday, he issued executive orders attempting to move forward with the Dakota Access and Keystone XL pipelines, which threaten water supplies, indigenous communities, and our environment. 2017 also could very well turn out to be the FOURTH consecutive year with record high average global temperatures (https://www.nytimes.com/…/earth-highest-temperature-record.…). It will take swift and bold action on the local level, trying our hardest to prevent global temperatures from reaching a catastrophic tipping point. Cities across the Commonwealth, nation, and globe have been leading by getting on the path to 100% renewable energy. It is time for Boston to get on board. Please follow our progress and JOIN US as the Council works on this legislation. Attend our future hearings to testify, or watch online and email in testimony. Give feedback directly to your City Councilors. Attend future working group meetings. As we’ve seen in recent weeks, changing the energy market won’t happen with a top-down approach; it will only happen with your support and action.

Fighting climate change and protecting our environment is about equity and social justice, standing together to prevent disastrous impacts that will fall disproportionately on vulnerable communities. There are many other opportunities in Boston and Massachusetts to get involved! Just a few that I’ve encountered (feel free to suggest others in the comments section and I’ll update):
–Join your local chapter of 350 Mass. Here is the link: http://350mass.betterfutureproject.org. Their advocacy training for this Saturday is full, but sign up and express your interest for a future training.
–Follow these pages on Facebook & show up to their meetings: West Roxbury Saves Energy Mothers Out Front – Mobilizing for a Livable Climate, Roslindale Affinity Group, Boston Climate Action Network, Stop the West Roxbury Lateral Pipeline, Mass Sierra Club, Clean Water Action Massachusetts, Boston Node of 350 Mass, Mass Power Forward, Environmental League of Massachusetts (ELM), Mass Energy Consumers Alliance.
–Buy 100% New England Wind to power your home. Learn how this works: https://www.massenergy.org/renewable-energy/whatistheswitch. My family switched over to this in 2016.
–Support Boston’s proposed plastic bag reduction ordinance (http://meetingrecords.cityofboston.gov/sirepub/view.aspx…) by reaching out to your Councilors and asking them to vote yes. Until then, use fewer bags. Even one fewer bag in landfills or littering the streets of Boston makes a difference.
–Tell your local elected officials that you support more investment in lower emissions transportation infrastructure, such as bicycles, buses, and trains. Come to our City Council transportation briefings, Feb 2nd on Transit Signal Priority and March 2nd on Parking Management.
–If you are purchasing a new car, consider your Drive Green options. Some helpful research: https://www.massenergy.org/drivegreen
–There are lots of rivers in greater Boston – the Charles, the Neponset, the Mystic. Join your local riverwatershed non-profit mailing lists and join annual river cleanups, fundraising events, etc. Charles River Watershed Association The Charles River Conservancy Mystic River Watershed Association Neponset River Watershed Association
–Look for ways to support efforts against the Keystone XL and Dakota Access Pipeline. Groups will be organizing drives for supplies to be sent to protestors who will camp
–Stand with local college student groups demanding that colleges divest their endowments away from fossil fuels.

 

Push back on Trump’s climate denier

Donald Trump’s transition team for the Environmental Protection Agency is headed by climate denier Myron Ebell. Funded by Marathon Petroleum and Koch Industries, Ebell could kill Obama’s Clean Power Plan, the Paris climate agreement, and all the land, water, and air protections the EPA provides.

But just before Thanksgiving, Trump announced that he might rethink his views on climate change and might not pull out of the Paris agreement. Our task now is to push him in that direction. Here’s how.

  • Write a letter to the editor of your local paper — or better, a paper in a purple or red state. Here are New Hampshire’s two biggest papers, the Concord Monitor and the Manchester Union Leader. Two sample letters are below — you can choose ideas you want to write your own.
  • Call your senators and congressperson. Ask them to speak with moderate Republicans and pull together a bipartisan call to Trump: no climate deniers — keep the EPA and climate work moving forward.
  • Call, text, tweet… your family and friends in purple and red states. Ask them to call their congresscritters, write local newspapers, and talk to their friends about saving the climate right now.

By doing these things we can head off the worst and build a mass constituency for climate action in the long term.

Okay, here are the letters. Please rewrite them with your own words and thoughts, and let us know what results you get!

Letter 1: conservative, pro-business appeal

To the editor:

Myron Ebell  is leading the Trump administration’s transition team for the Environmental Protection Agency. His organization’s mission statement is “dispelling the myths of global warming.”

This is bad policy for our economy and our standing in the world.

Climate change is real. It poses a significant and immediate threat to humans everywhere. This has become universal consensus. Russian and Chinese governments are among those who acknowledge climate change, and are committed to international efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

At this point in history, to oppose the scientific consensus on climate change would be a source of national embarrassment. It would erode our standing as a technologically innovative nation, and limit our access to global markets that plan to regulate greenhouse gas emissions.

Ebell has also said that the US should back out of the Paris climate agreement. Besides violating international law, this would be catastrophic diplomatically. France has threatened export taxes, and statements from other nations have been equally severe; a rift is forming between us and the rest of the world.

Over 300 U.S. businesses have signed a statement calling on Trump to support the Paris agreement including General Mills, eBay, Intel, and other Fortune 500 companies. China, the heir apparent in the race to develop innovative renewable energy technology, has remained committed despite Ebell’s rhetoric.

Denying climate change is a bad deal for the US. We encourage readers to demand that the US remain committed to the Paris agreement and the global fight against climate change.

Letter 2: Anti-pollution, pro-environment appeal

To the editor:

Decades of environmental progress are being threatened by the Trump administration’s transition team. Myron Ebell, who’s responsible for the future of the Environmental Protection Agency, is funded by mega-polluters like Marathon Energy and the Koch Brothers, and he’s pushed to undo EPA regulations that protect our health every day.

The EPA does crucial work. The EPA enforces laws that keep the food, air and water we consume safe, protects endangered species, and funds scientific discoveries that support business and keep us healthy.

Over its 40+ year history, the EPA has made incredible advances for America. Not long ago, dumping toxic waste into waterways was standard practice. In just 10 years of regulating CFC chemicals, we have slowed the depletion of the ozone layer. When BP spilled 5 million barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico, experts in science and technology were equipped with the resources needed to clean it up.

This is hard work. Because its mission often runs contrary to short-term business interests, the EPA is constantly subjected forces that seek to impede its ability to do that hard work.

When the EPA is unable to fulfill its mission, the result is injustice. We need only to ask the citizens of Flint, still struggling to find clean water, to know how dire the implications can be.

Myron Ebell, head of the EPA transition team, is not a scientist, and has included repeal of environmental and pollution regulations among his goals. He is an irresponsible steward of our planet, without the scientific expertise Americans expect of someone with his responsibilities.

Regardless of party, we have an obligation to leave this world better than we found it. Americans should demand that our nation remains the right side of history on important issues like climate change and environmental regulation.

e.

Why we don’t need new gas supply pipelines

The Jan. 23 Globe ran a summary of Governor Baker’s energy plans that omitted some essential facts about new gas pipelines.

NO-PIPELINE-Greenfyre-FarmBaker wants us to pay billions of dollars for massive new gas pipelines across Massachusetts. These will supply more gas on the coldest and hottest days when demand is highest, supplies run short, and the price of gas spikes.

But last year, during an exceptionally severe winter, the price of gas didn’t spike. Why? Because we stockpiled liquified natural gas, using offshore terminals built a decade ago and scarcely used since. It makes more sense to use existing, under-utilitized infrastructure than build costly, redundant new pipelines.

Our utility companies, which plan to profit from the proposed pipelines, could also hold down demand by agreeing with their customers to cut energy use during peak periods. Massachusetts is far behind other states in managing peak demand. As a consequence, 40 percent of our generating capacity lies idle 90 percent of the time. It’s just there for those very cold or hot days. We customers are paying for those idle plants, and it’s another reason our electric rates are as high as they are.

The utilities could take other steps to cut demand. The gas utilities could repair their leaky distribution pipes instead of wasting enough gas to heat 200,000 homes in greater Boston alone. They could put more money into weatherization programs instead of trying to cut them back. And most important, they could support more solar and wind power instead of trying to limit new solar projects. Our electrical generation is more dependent on gas than almost any other state’s. The price spikes are telling us that we are too dependent, and if we want cheap reliable energy, we should diversify our energy sources and cut our usage. After all, the cheapest electricity is the electricity you don’t use.

After the Paris Talks: The Way Forward

Thanks to our western Mass. friends in Climate Action Now for this roundup on the Paris climate talks and this inspiring recommitment for 2016!

Something important happened in Paris. The leaders of countries across the world publicly admitted that we are facing unprecedented, human- caused climate catastrophe. Our world leaders had no choice given both the irrefutable evidence that climate change is upon us and the unstoppable power of the growing global movement for climate justice.

Much of the media coverage has been enthusiastic and celebratory. For alternative perspectives please check out the resources below which include critical analysis of the Paris Agreement. These resources address both the limitations of the agreement and the significance of the growing climate justice movement.

Our global system is stressed by climate change, economic inequality, racial oppression, mighty corporations and a war machine that devours fossil fuels. Can the ecological emergency be the catalyst that unites us in a common quest to create a more just and livable world? Can we heed the urgency of the call to keep 80% of our fossil fuels in the ground, to rapidly scale up renewables, and to escalate our fight for climate justice?

Climate Action Now will continue to grapple with these questions even as we remain focused on our local campaigns in collaboration with our partner organizations. We welcome everyone to join us as we organize for climate justice in Springfield, mobilize to defeat the Kinder Morgan Pipeline, work for divestment from fossil fuels, a fair price on carbon and public policies that support rapid expansion of renewable energy and the jobs these investments create.

We recommit in this new year to the nurturing of our relationships with each other and with the land that we love; the creative expression of our climate hopes, fears and dreams; the deepening of our intergenerational bonds; and the expansion of our acts of solidarity and resistance.

Go here to see The hard truth about Paris from 350.org

Go to Democracy Now and click on Paris Climate Summit 2015

Peoples Test on Climate

Naomi Klein, Bill McKibben Knock Paris Climate Deal
Too little, too late. Redouble the fight, say two leading activists.

Seven Wrinkles in the Paris Climate Deal

Claim no easy victories. Paris was a failure, but a climate justice movement is rising

Teens and Teachers for climate literacy

Bill Moomaw will deliver the keynote address at the third annual Youth Climate Action Network Global Climate Change Summit on Saturday, May 9th at MIT.

Students in grades 7-12 as well as to the educators of students in grades 7-12 are invited to attend the Summit for free. The Summit is organized and hosted by the Boston Latin School Youth CAN in partnership with the Technology and Culture Forum at MIT.

The Summit provides a full day of workshops, speakers, and activites focused on global climate change and sustainable living. All students who register (online) will be entered into a drawing for great door prizes such as iPods, gift certificates, and more. Breakfast and Lunch are also provided free.

When/Where: Saturday, May 9th at MIT in the Stata Center (32 Vassar Street, Cambridge, MA – Kendall Square T stop on the Red Line) Summit runs from 8:30am – 4:30pm.

Space at the 2009 Summit is limited, so register online early, and make sure to sign up soon for the particular workshops that you hope to attend!

The exceptional list of presenters includes City Councillor John Connolly, Boston Latin School Headmaster Lynne Mooney-Teta, Patricia Weinmann of the Technology and Culture Forum at MIT, Andrew Schuyler of Northeast Biofuels Collaborative, Jen Filiault of Clean Power Now, Liz Soper of the National Wildlife Federation, Lilah Glick of Cambridge Energy Alliance, Mary Essary of the Foresight Project, Liz Duff of Mass Audubon, Paul Shoemaker of the Boston Public Health Commission, and many more. Workshops include topics such as Green Jobs, Green Design, Climate Change and the Food We Eat, The Science of Climate Change, Sustainability in Our Everyday Lives, Filming a Climate Change PSA and many more. The summit will also offer workshops specifically aimed at educators who want to teach about climate change in their classroom.

Enjoy activities such as: street theater, film screenings, decorating climate T-shirts, making climate art with a local artist, sculpting with sudsy putty, making an event mural, filming participant pledges at the You Tube booth, and participating in the 2009 Summit 350 action!