GREENFIELD — Community environmental groups are looking to get Greenfield off fossil fuels and exclusively on renewable energy.
A resolution has been sent to City Council to fully transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy sources in the city. The resolution, sent by Greening Greenfield and Franklin County Continuing the Political Revolution, will be discussed during the full council meeting later today.
Councilor Tim Dolan and the Sustainable Greenfield Implementation Committee have provided support for the resolution ahead of the meeting.
The resolution comes as the Legislature moves to make the state run on 100 percent renewable energy, which Greening Greenfield’s Nancy Hazard said was the impetus for the request.
Most recently, the state Senate passed legislation on Friday that could get the state onto 100 percent renewable energy by 2047. The legislation is now with the House of Representatives.
“I think this is part of larger statewide goals,” Dolan said.
The state has taken other steps according to organizers, such as improving offerings from the Mass Save, a collaborative of Massachusetts utilities that provides financing for energy upgrades to income-eligible residents. (read more)
About three dozen people attended the City of Medford’s first community meeting on climate change on June 13. The meeting covered the local impacts of climate change, how the city is adapting to those impacts, and questions and concerns residents have when it comes to climate change.
Here are three major takeaways from the meeting.
Not all parts of the city will be equally impacted by climate change, and some residents are at greater risk than others. In particular, the elderly, the poor and those who are linguistically isolated are most vulnerable to the effects of climate change.
“These are the communities that tend to be affected the most, because they don’t have the information,” explained an ethnic and linguistic interpreter at the community forum.
When it comes to geographic vulnerability, South Medford is more susceptible to extreme heat because of its relatively limited tree cover. The neighborhood is also more likely to flood. (read more)
Memories of the storm last winter that flooded parts of downtown Boston are still fresh at City Hall. Now, the Walsh administration is pushing developers to make their buildings better able to withstand another watery apocalypse.
The Boston Planning & Development Agency on Thursday approved new rules to make big buildings more resilient to the effects of climate change. City officials hope the measures will help minimize flooding, keep the lights on in more buildings during power outages, and make it easier to upgrade street lights and other public works.
“We think we’ve identified a way forward that appears to be the first of its kind in the nation,” said Brian Golden, the agency’s director.
The rules are initially being tested for a two-year period and differ for projects based on size. For the largest developments — at least 1.5 million square feet — developers will need to assess installing an on-site power plant, and build one if it’s financially feasible. They will also have to consolidate all wiring for cable, Internet, and other telecom services into one underground tube, so there is less disruption to streets and sidewalks during repairs. (read more)
Salem Sate University President John Keenan recently announced the university had completely divested its fossil fuel investments.
“I am pleased to announce that the university’s investment advisors have recently sold the university’s prior holdings in Carbon 200 (fossil fuel) companies and have added investments in solar and renewable energies,” wrote Keenan in a May email to the campus community.
Divest Salem State, an environmental advocacy group of student, alumni and faculty, campaigned for full divestment over the past five years, according to Geography Department Associate Professor Noel Healy. Details of the campaign can be found here: https://divestssu.squarespace.com/.
Healy said the organization “delighted” Salem State divested holding in Carbon 200 companies.
“By divesting from fossil fuels, Salem State [trustees] are doing their part to undermine the social license of the fossil fuel industry,” said Healy. “We must shift attention to the resistance by fossil fuel companies as the most significant obstacle to limiting climate chaos.”
The news comes after the president, Salem State University Board of Trustees and a group of environmental advocates worked to revise an investment policy that would “safeguard the environment and promote sustainability.” Trustee adopted that policy in October 2016 and formerly changed in 2017.
This isn’t the most enjoyable way to welcome your colleagues from across the country. Environmental activists are pressuring Boston Mayor Marty Walsh this week, their protests timed to coincide with the US Conference of Mayors meeting in the city.
Walsh has made climate change a front-and-center issue. He pledged to set the city on a path to be “carbon neutral” by 2050. But many environmentalists say he’s moving too slowly to turn his words into action -- thus the #WalkTheTalkOnClimate hashtag that surfaced on social media.
The critics call for more stringent building rules, and to stop additional pipeline expansions. But their biggest beef seems to be with the approach the Walsh administration has taken with a green-energy buying proposal for Boston residents.
The City Council endorsed a Community Choice Energy program last fall, following a number of Boston suburbs. (These programs purchase more renewable energy than what’s required in the basic utility plans that most people use today.) Now, councilors seem frustrated that the administration hasn’t moved more quickly to follow up. (read more)
As Mayor Marty Walsh of Boston hosts the annual meeting of the United States Conference of Mayors, many of the mayors bemoan federal policies that undermine local efforts to address climate change.
The mayors are to be commended for the collaboration they have just announced to buy more renewable power, but they may not know that many of them — including all in Massachusetts — already have a stunningly effective tool to accelerate the development of renewable power like solar and wind and to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The tool is a readily available mechanism for purchasing even larger amounts of renewable power. That tool is municipal aggregation, known in some communities as community-choice aggregation or community-choice energy.
Utilities like Eversource and National Grid deliver electricity, but they don’t generate it. Instead, they buy electricity for most residential and small business customers, who are known as “Basic Service” customers. (read more)
At Boston international mayors summit, John Kerry says U.S. is still in Paris climate agreement (Mass Live 6/7/18)
President Donald Trump removed the United States from the global Paris climate agreement last year, but in Boston on Thursday, former Secretary of State John Kerry says Americans are still in it.
"The short answer is, we're still in Paris because most local communities, most businesses, most states, 38 of them, are moving in that direction no matter what," Kerry said, referencing the number of states with voluntary renewable portfolio laws.
"I can tell you with confidence that while Donald Trump may have said he's out of Paris, the American people have stated as unequivocally that they are in Paris, and they're going to meet the Paris standards," Kerry added to applause.
The former secretary spoke with urgency during a panel discussion at the Boston International Mayors Climate Summit, the city's first such meeting between mayors, city officials and business leaders from around the world. A "fireside chat" in the afternoon included a discussion with John Kerry and Anne Finucane, Vice Chairman of Bank of America. (read more)
BOSTON — In this old city’s booming Seaport District, General Electric is building its new world headquarters, Amazon is bringing in thousands of new workers, and Reebok’s red delta symbol sits atop the new office it opened last year. Three tech companies are testing self-driving cars and restaurants and apartments have gone up virtually overnight.
But after bad flooding this past winter, some wonder whether it was a bright idea to invest so much in a man-made peninsula that sits barely above sea level.
“That was the first winter where we really saw waves splashing onto the boardwalk and water in the streets,” said Greg Hoffmeister, who watched the brief deluge from the third-floor Seaport office of his real estate firm. “You start to think: Is that what we’re in for, as sea levels rise?”
As they gear up to host the International Mayors Climate Summit on Thursday, municipal officials insist they’re making the proper preparations in a city that was less than 500 acres when the Puritans settled it in 1630 but now includes more than 5,000 acres of man-made landfill — one-sixth of its entire area. (read more)
Eagerly anticipated by passenger rail advocates, a study looking at the possibility of linking North and South stations should be ready for public dissemination later this month, Transportation Secretary Stephanie Pollack said Monday.
Gov. Charlie Baker has been skeptical of the proposal to build a tunnel connecting the two rail terminals used by the MBTA and Amtrak, but agreed to look into the project backed by former Govs. Michael Dukakis and Bill Weld, Congressman Seth Moulton and many others.
The Massachusetts Department of Transportation last year hired Arup USA Inc. for $1.5 million to look at the feasibility of connecting by rail the two stations that are a mile apart, located on either side of crowded and historic downtown areas.
The plan is to publicize a draft of the study by the end of June and then solicit public feedback, Pollack said.
"We did modeling. We hired consultants. All the things that we promised we were going to do. We now have that initial set of work just about done. It will be finished up in the next few weeks," Pollack told reporters. (read more)
BREWSTER -- We all love Cape Cod, but each year there is just a little less of it.
The sand bar is gradually eroding into the sea, it once stretched all the way to Georges Bank.
“Erosion is sediment transport where more is leaving than is coming in,” noted Greg Berman, a coastal processes specialist at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. “Accretion is the opposite. So on any portion of beach you want to know what sand is coming in and where it is going to make an educated coastal management decision.”
Berman explained the erosion process at a beaches and landings workshop sponsored by the Brewster Coastal Committee in late May. The group is holding several gatherings as it moves to devise a comprehensive coastal resources management plan.
Brewster’s shoreline is crumbling in some places, growing in others, and rising seas are threatening many coastal properties.
The coastal committee will hold its next workshop June 14, 6 p.m., at the Cape Cod Museum of Natural History, when preserving coastal wetlands will be the topic. The community is invited. (read more)
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