The Maine Climate Council: What You Need to Know Webinar

May 27, 2020, 12:00 – 1:30 p.m. Despite the public health crisis, the Maine Climate Council has continued its important work developing a climate action plan for Maine. The Climate Council’s six working groups have been meeting virtually over the last few months to develop their recommendations to reduce Maine’s greenhouse gas emissions at least 80% by 2050, a target set it Maine law. Please join Acadia Center and our partners for a Zoom webinar to hear from Maine Climate Council working group members about strategies they are developing to help Maine meet its climate goals and how you can
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Implications for a Downward Trend in Emissions

Numerous news stories have documented how the pandemic and resulting economic crisis have reduced air pollution around the world , bringing emissions down globally by 17%. As Americans have been forced to shelter in place to stop the spread of COVID-19, the air around us has become noticeably cleaner and climate pollution has fallen. While no one would seek to lower emissions in this way, a recent article in the Boston Globe explored the extent of the pandemic-induced pollution reduction while highlighting opportunities to rebuild a cleaner, more equitable economy. “[E]missions from cars, trucks, and airplanes have declined in metropolitan
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Shifting to An Online Work World

In an unprecedented time of change and uncertainty, the suspension of many functions of government and imposition of social distancing has resulted in a surprising amount of creative and effective interactions among stakeholders, government agencies, and coalitions. Moving to online, virtual meetings has presented opportunities to interact with new audiences and deepen relationships with stakeholders. Acadia Center’s experience with online collaboration across its offices has prepared the organization well for this transition to virtual public hearings and stakeholder processes. The crisis has reinforced our commitment to advance effective, equitable reform solutions across the region and has prompted our staff to
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Home Electric meter in plastic case showing watthours used

The Public Utilities Commission and Why it Must be Reformed

State Public Utility Commissions (PUCs) regulate the rates and services of public utilities that provide electricity, gas, sewage, or water. These governing bodies formed to provide oversight to utilities to whom they have granted monopoly markets. Generally, the mission of PUCs is to approximate the prices of a competitive market, which requires balancing the needs of consumers and the utility. Traditionally, PUCs are charged to keep rates low, ensure reliable supply, and allow utilities the opportunity to earn a profit on their business. To make swift progress on climate goals, we must change the way PUCs respond to clean energy
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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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