The Northeast’s New Year’s Resolution – Get Serious about Climate Change

January is a great time to start fresh. Whether it’s signing up for a new gym membership or cutting back on social media, the New Year is an opportunity to envision a better future and eliminate bad habits. And the Northeast has one that can’t be ignored for another year: an ongoing, dangerous reliance on fossil fuels. In 2020, Acadia Center’s resolution is to help the region break up with dirty energy. The latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) served up a harsh reality check: the world has until just 2030 to act to avoid the
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Clearing the Path for Clean Heating

With the winter solstice just around the corner, the Northeast’s heating season is in full swing and greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) from buildings are at their seasonal high. About 85% of homes in New England and New York rely on fossil fuels for heating, and this consumption accounts for about 30% of total regional GHGs. Fossil fuel use for heating also poses health and safety dangers like carbon monoxide poisoning and risk of explosion. The average home in the Northeast spends $1,000-$2,600 on heating fuel every winter, and because the Northeast imports all of its fossil fuels, this money flows
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Climate Justice for Providence

Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza had powerful words about the role equity must play in climate work when the city released its Climate Justice Plan in late October. “Despite being one of the three pillars of sustainability, equity is often an afterthought when it comes to climate action planning,” Elorza wrote in the plan’s introduction. “In creating this plan, we chose to lead with equity and partnered with those who are most impacted by the climate crisis and other environmental injustices.” Acadia Center is proud to have supported Providence and its Racial and Environmental Justice Committee (REJC) in developing a plan
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Make the Next Decade Count

Last month, young people around the world marched to demand action from decision makers. They echoed what thousands of the world’s climate scientists have concluded: only a short period of time remains — 10 years, from now until 2030 — for the world to reduce climate pollution by at least 45% from 2010 levels and shift to clean energy systems so the globe can avoid the worst impacts of a warming planet. For twenty years, Acadia Center has been accelerating strong state, local, and regional action to address climate pollution. Now, it will draw from its strengths in analysis, thought leadership, relationship building, and informed advocacy to meet these urgent climate deadlines and implement a refined strategy it calls Make the Next Decade Count TM. Make the Next Decade Count seeks to bring greater attention to the
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Amendment to Transportation Bond Bill Could Support Modern Transportation Options and Carbon-Neutral Buildings

Governor Baker and many transportation advocates, including Acadia Center’s Jordan Stutt, went to Beacon Hill today to testify on the Governor’s proposed multi-year $18-billion transportation bond bill. The bill addresses a wide range of transportation funding needs—everything from financing for bridges to funds for bus shelters. One of the issues addressed by the bill is the Transportation & Climate Initiative (TCI), a cap-and-invest program under development that could generate hundreds of millions of dollars each year for clean transportation investment. Governor Baker’s bill would authorize up to 50% of TCI proceeds to support public transit. Acadia Center testified in support
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Rhode Island Legislature Punts on Climate: Smart Siting Legislation Languishes

Several state legislatures in the Northeast have gone big on climate in recent weeks. New York passed a sweeping climate plan pledging to reach 100% carbon-free electricity by 2040 and net zero greenhouse gas emissions, across the whole economy, by 2050. Maine enacted legislation that doubles the amount of renewable electricity in its Renewable Portfolio Standard to 80% by 2030 and 100% by 2050. Connecticut authorized a massive boost to offshore wind—the construction of up to 2,000 megawatts. Not Rhode Island. Legislators in Rhode Island ended their six-month session late last month without passing any climate legislation at all. Several
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Offshore Wind Makes Big Moves Across the Northeast Region

Two years ago, Acadia Center’s EnergyVision 2030 examined the energy mix needed to achieve the Northeast’s 2030 decarbonization goals and determined that at least 13% of the region’s electricity needs could be served by the development of 9.5 GW of offshore wind. In New England and New York, Acadia Center has advocated for ambitious state procurement goals and these states have recently made incredible progress. Over the last three years, Northeast states have raised their collective 2035 offshore wind goals from 1.6 GW to 14.6 GW, and they may exceed the EnergyVision 2030 target if several of the projects are
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Rhode Island Must Prioritize Solar Siting in 2019

Solar energy is growing in the Northeast, but the urgency of climate change means that states need to accelerate the transition to clean energy sources. In Rhode Island, siting challenges that have arisen in the past few years show that the state can’t do this without a plan. In a landscape patchworked with forest, farmland, and open space, policies and incentives must prioritize solar projects in areas with compatible land uses. On March 14, the House held a hearing for H5789, a solar siting bill that aims to address these challenges. The bill represents months of collaboration between conservation groups,
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Maine’s Biggest Utility Must Change to Make Way for Clean Energy

Maine is at a crossroads in its climate and energy future. For the state to move forward and embrace a consumer-friendly, low-polluting clean energy future, its biggest utility, Central Maine Power (CMP), must dramatically change the way it does business and do much more to support consumer and community access to solar, wind, building weatherization, and clean technologies like electric vehicles and heat pumps. Up to this point, CMP has frequently blocked these measures. It is time for CMP to change. As a whole, Maine has struggled to make progress toward a clean energy future, falling behind its New England
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A Regional Affair: Offshore Wind in Massachusetts Clears Hurdle in Rhode Island

Rhode Island has given its regulatory approval for the first large-scale wind farm to be built in the United States. This approval is a significant step forward for the project. Last year, Massachusetts selected a developer, Vineyard Wind, to build a wind farm for it in federal waters off the coast of Massachusetts and Rhode Island. Because Rhode Island fishermen operate in those waters, that state also had the opportunity to decide whether the project fits within its laws and interests. In its testimony on this question before Rhode Island’s Coastal Resources Management Council (CRMC), Acadia Center reiterated the importance
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