We are "Walking The Climate Walk While Chewing The COVID-19 Gum"
Welcome to our first monthly Cape Ann Climate Coalition newsletter. We hope these will keep us in touch with each other and help us keep "walking the Climate Walk". Most Coalition Action groups are continuing their work during COVID-19 using Zoom video conferencing, and their progress is reported below.
Cape Ann Climate Coalition Organizing Committee LIsa Smith, Alice Morris, Marcia Hart, Greg Federspiel, Candace Wheeler, Doug Parsons, Susan Hoague, Tom Mikus, Dick Prouty, Susan Quateman
The Renewables group is continuing in its effort to boost the share of renewable energy in our region’s electricity market, by organizing as many North Shore communities as possible to participate in a regional aggregation of electricity purchasing with the highest feasible proportion of renewable electricity in its purchase contract. As a result of the multi-community organizing meeting on Jan. 28, the Renewables group was encouraged to apply for an MAPC technical assistance grant by MAPC’s Clean Energy Director, Cammy Peterson, to help the communities explore the feasibility of one or more regional contracts, and support them in their local approval processes. Cammy confirmed by a memo on April 17 that this grant was approved, and that MAPC is now developing their recommendations for next steps. Meanwhile, Beverly energy activists Wayne Miller and Cindy Keegan are advocating for that City to begin discussions on aggregation, either on its own or as part of a regional consortium. Wayne is reaching out to the communities that are already participating in the Renewables group and to additional communities that may be interested in joining a regional contract. Rather than an “all-or-nothing” approach, the Renewables group will have a flexible strategy, which could include forming smaller sub-groups of communities based on readiness to proceed with Dept. of Public Utilities approval and a joint aggregation contract. We anticipate a multi-community meeting with MAPC as soon as possible, with continued input from the Green Energy Consumers Alliance and Good Energy LLC, organizations that have worked with other successful regional aggregation projects in Massachusetts.
Energy Efficiency: While not a true subgroup in that there are no active meetings, Greg Federspiel continues to monitor efforts to bolster the International Building Code that is used in all Massachusetts cities and towns. The goods news is that a grass-roots efforts from municipalities across and country has resulted in recommendations to update the code come 2022 to include higher energy efficiency standards that all new construction would be required to follow.
The Carbon Capture and Sequestration group is monitoring the Town of Rockport's approval process for the tree policy that our members helped develop. Understandably, this policy is not a priority for the Town during the COVID-19 emergency.
Vision, Policy, and Legislature has four workgroups
Managed Retreat has decided to focus on getting up to speed on the state of the art of MR globally and in other US communities. It decided that going too early with too much challenging information to the public at large could be damaging to the prospects of actually adopting Cape Ann municipal policies in this area. Jayne Knott recommends the Georgetown Climate Center as the best website for information and policies on MR.
Divestment from Carbon Subsidies: Denny Dart is readying a webinar which could be shown this spring as part of the TownGreen2025 Climate Forum options to replace the 4.18.20 physical Climate Forum event. To deepen the policy side of the team on this topic, Dick will be reaching out to Arjuna Capital, one of whose principals, Natasha Lamb, lives in Manchester, MA.
The Waste Innovation Collaborative is studying models of how to make the next generation of the three waste treatment plants on Cape Ann (Essex is served by Gloucester) into innovative models of treating waste of all types, including plastics, and reduce the CO2 off-gas in the process. Vladimir Novotsky, a recently retired professor from Northeastern U., has a newly published text on this topic that the group is studying. They will also be studying other plants in the US and Europe that are more advanced than the Cape Ann existing plants and see what ideas have application to Cape Ann.
Legislature Group is developing a policy of listing all sustainability legislation on one page, with links to the full test of the legislation. In this time of Covid-19 they will be sending emails to the Climate Coalition participants, with options for signing letters or other actions that advance the legislation prospects in ways the full VPL workgroup agrees are valuable. The first such letter advocating for a 60% GHG reduction for 2030 was sent to the Secretary of DEE on April 10 and received 48 signatures from the greater Climate Coalition and friends.
The Community Building / Education Group (CBE) is producing a series of informative and motivational videos about local people taking action addressing the climate crisis called “Everything We Do Matters”. The short videos will be posted on the Cape Ann Climate Coalition’s and TownGreen2025’s Facebook pages, YouTube page, and will be compiled to air on a half-hour television program series to begin airing on 1623 Studios Channel 12 on April 27. The program will air on Channel 12 on Mondays, Fridays, and Sundays at 1:30 am and 8:30 pm; Wednesdays at 1:30 am; and Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Sundays at 7:30 AM and 2:30 pm. See the preview at the bottom of this post!
The Cape Ann Climate Coalition Facebook page is new and we will be posting local climate information for you and to share with your friends. Please "Like" and "Share" this to help expand exposure and support for climate actions now. To celebrate Earth Day, Wednesday, April 22, videos of local young women reading Greta Thunberg’s speeches will be posted on Cape Ann Climate Coalition Facebook page. https://www.facebook.com/Cape-Ann-Climate-Coalition-100636041618619/
Care of Creation has had to stop their successful climate change seminars due to COVIS-19 but are looking forward to reconvening soon.
Do One Thing
Switch to 100% Green Electricity
Can’t do solar and still haven’t switched to a green energy provider? Then now’s the time!
By converting to green electricity you support the phase-out of fossil fuel, help to accelerate the move to renewable sources, and directly reduce CO2 emissions.
Gloucester residents: Choose the “Gloucester Premium Local Green" option which includes 100% local renewable energy by going to www. gloucester-cea.com. Although this options is slightly more expensive ( $70-$100 per year) it is a tax deduction. Think of it as a charitable gift to the world.
Join a Community Solar farm: Community Solar is an easy way to go solar using energy from a local solar farm instead of requiring panels to be installed on your roof. Energy is produced at an off-site solar farm and homeowners purchase credits which offset some or all of their existing electric bill. By MA law, this option has to be 10% less than the National Grid base price. (e.g.Relay Power, Clearway, Bluewave, Nexamp)
Sign up with an electrical supplier that sells locally produced renewable energy. There are many to choose from. (GreenEnergy Consumers, or go to www.epa.gov/greenpower/locate-green-power-)