Newly-Released Greenhouse Gas Emissions Report Documents Failure of State Policies to Combat Climate Change

HARTFORD, CT –  Today, the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) announced the release of the 2018 Connecticut Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Emissions Inventory report.  Much progress has been made and Acadia Center applauds DEEP for making these gains. However, this report concludes that the state needs to do more to address the climate crisis.  The 2018 GHG Inventory tracks the state’s progress toward meeting the economy-wide greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets established in the Global Warming Solutions Act (GWSA). The report is clear: Connecticut is not on track to meet its 2030 and 2050 GHG targets and is failing to meet the goals laid out in the 2008 Global Solutions Warming Act.

Acadia Center urges the state to take bolder action to reduce greenhouse emissions. The 2021 legislative session failed to achieve far-reaching climate legislation. Bills that addressed priorities identified in the inventory report as key emissions reductions policies, including support for the Transportation and Climate Initiative and mandatory reporting on building energy consumption, did not pass. Acadia Center supports both of these bills.

“Connecticut has an opportunity to turn this ship around and build back from the failed efforts to address the egregious greenhouse gas and carbon emissions that thwart the fight against climate change” said Amy McLean, Acadia Center State Director and Senior Policy Advocate.

In order to accelerate the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, Connecticut must do more to address emissions from the transportation and buildings sectors. Below, Acadia Center identifies key strategies to help Connecticut lower its transportation and buildings emissions.

Transportation
The primary culprit behind Connecticut’s climate failure is the transportation sector, which now accounts for more climate pollution than Connecticut’s electricity and residential sectors combined.

Despite the clear science on climate change and the increasing pollution from the transportation sector, Connecticut’s policymakers have failed to act with the necessary urgency to address this challenge. Time after time, practical solutions have been rejected in favor of inaction.

Fortunately, the upcoming special session offers Connecticut legislators an opportunity to be leaders on this critical issue by passing ambitious, equitable legislation to enable the state’s participation in the Transportation and Climate Initiative Program (TCI-P).

“Proactive measures to reduce transportation pollution, like TCI-P, will not only help to meet climate targets, but will create jobs, boost the economy, provide better mobility options, and improve public health,” said Jordan Stutt, Acadia Center’s Carbon Programs Director.

Buildings
Energy efficiency is the least-cost way for Connecticut to reduce emissions from buildings. With the decline of low-hanging fruit like more efficient light bulbs, the state’s efficiency programs have an opportunity to reinvest in deeper savings from whole-building retrofits—especially in low- and moderate-income homes and rentals, whose occupants have not benefited from the same access to program incentives as other homes.

Ramping up installation of weatherization measures like insulation and air sealing reduces emissions, saves money, and decreases the up-front cost of building electrification. Connecticut only insulates 0.1% of its housing stock each year, compared to Massachusetts’ 1.2% per year. Weatherizing more buildings is an indispensable strategy for achieving Connecticut’s climate targets.

It will be impossible to meaningfully reduce emissions from buildings in Connecticut without immediate, widespread building electrification. Heat pumps can provide efficient space heating, air conditioning, and water heating for any building in the state, even on the coldest winter days. The 2022-24 Conservation and Load Management Plan is the perfect opportunity for the state’s two electric utilities to embrace cold-climate heat pumps.

“The searing temperatures in the beginning of the summer and the historic rainfall and flooding that took the lives of dozens of people in the Northeast less than two weeks ago are the reality of climate change,” said Amy McLean. “It is time to address the problems with real solutions that will make a difference. The legislature, the Lamont Administration, and the voting public can work together to make it happen. The time is now.”


Media Contact:

Amy McLean, Connecticut Director and Senior Policy Advocate
amcleansalls@acadiacenter.org, 860-246-7121 x204, cell: 860 478-912521

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Acadia Center is a regionally focused non-profit organization headquartered in Rockport, Maine, working to advance a clean energy future that benefits all.

Joint Statement on Approval of TCI Ballot Question by Massachusetts Attorney General


BOSTON —
As the extreme weather across Massachusetts and beyond makes clear, we face a climate crisis that threatens our Commonwealth. Severe storms, flooding, drought and dangerous heat affect us all. This crisis demands clear action and responsible leadership.

The Transportation and Climate Initiative, or TCI, will benefit residents all across Massachusetts and beyond as part of a comprehensive approach to reducing carbon emissions. TCI will help protect our environment and health while also improving vital transportation services on which we all depend.

Transportation pollution, which is responsible for over 40 percent of carbon emissions in the region, harms everyone, but particularly our most vulnerable residents in Environmental Justice communities, children and seniors. At the same time, our aging transportation infrastructure urgently needs new investment to make it more equitable, more reliable and safer.

In addition to reducing carbon emissions, TCI will generate investments in clean transportation alternatives, including those designed to reverse historical trends and advance equitable outcomes in communities that have been underserved by transportation infrastructure or disproportionately impacted by tailpipe emissions.

The ballot question proposed by TCI opponents threatens our environment, our health, and our transportation. But that’s not all. This poorly drafted, overly broad petition could threaten any policy or revenue source designed to eliminate pollution from transportation.  That includes both existing revenue sources and potential future policies which benefit families and communities most burdened by transportation pollution.

We are confident that if this petition makes it onto the ballot, Massachusetts voters will join Governor Baker, other elected officials, civic leaders and advocates in opposing this ballot question, and supporting a bipartisan, regional approach to reducing air pollution while modernizing our transportation system.

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Transportation for Massachusetts (T4MA) is a diverse coalition of more than 100 member and partner organizations with a stake in improving transportation across the Commonwealth. Our coalition advocates at the state, federal, and local levels for transportation policies that are innovative, sustainable, and environmentally friendly. We want a transportation system that strengthens our economy and our communities, while also being safer, healthier, more affordable and reliable. Learn more at t4ma.org.

Acadia Center advances bold, effective, and equitable clean energy solutions for a livable climate and a stronger, more equitable economy.forms strategic alliances and engages all stakeholders—legislators, business and community leaders, advocacy and environmental justice groups—to press for next-generation solutions and ensure long-term results. See acadiacenter.org.

MASSPIRG Education Fund is an independent, non-partisan group that works for consumers and the public interest. MASSPIRG Education Fund is part of The Public Interest Network, which operates and supports organizations committed to a shared vision of a better world and a strategic approach to getting things done. Through research, public education and outreach, we serve as counterweights to the influence of powerful special interests that threaten our health, safety or well-being. Visit masspirg.org.

The Environmental League of Massachusetts (ELM) is committed to combating climate change and protecting our land, water, and public health. By creating diverse alliances and building the power of the environmental community, we use our collective influence to ensure Massachusetts is a leader in environmental and economic sustainability. Learn more at environmentalleague.org.

Ceres is a Massachusetts-based nonprofit organization working to solve the world’s greatest sustainability challenges. Through our powerful networks and global collaborations of investors, companies and nonprofits, we drive action and inspire equitable market-based and policy solutions throughout the economy. Learn more at ceres.org.

LivableStreets envisions a world where streets are safe, vibrant public spaces that connect people to the places where they live, work, and play, and advocates for practical, people-centered transportation systems in Metro Boston that can dismantle invisible barriers that divide neighborhoods, communities, and people. See livablestreets.info.


Media Contact:

Josh Ostroff
Transportation for Massachusetts
508.654.3330

Download Statement as PDF

Acadia Center Applauds Rhode Island Senate for Passing Transportation Emissions and Mobile (TEAM) Community Act, Calls on House and Neighboring Legislatures to Follow

PROVIDENCE— Today, Rhode Island senators voted to pass S0872, the Transportation Emissions and Mobile (TEAM) Community Act, to implement the Transportation and Climate Initiative Program (TCI-P) in Rhode Island. TCI-P is a bipartisan agreement between the neighboring states of Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and Connecticut, as well as the District of Columbia, which aims to cut transportation pollution by 26% between 2022-2032. The program is expected to generate approximately $250 million over 10 years for Rhode Island to invest in equitable, less-polluting transportation options—investments that will create local jobs and deliver public health benefits of approximately $100 million annually.

“Acadia Center thanks the Rhode Island Senate for advancing this critical legislation. Rhode Island has been at the forefront of the regional and bipartisan negotiations to develop the TCI Program for years and this legislation enshrines important commitments to improve public health, combat the climate crisis, center environmental justice voices in transportation decisions, and provide better mobility options for all Rhode Islanders,” said Hank Webster, Acadia Center’s Rhode Island Director. “The Rhode Island House of Representatives now has the opportunity—and responsibility—to advance the companion bill, H6310, which will ensure that Rhode Island communities receive the investment, new jobs, and cleaner air they deserve.”

Transportation is Rhode Island’s largest source of air pollution, creating nearly 40% of total greenhouse gas emissions in the state. Harmful tailpipe pollutants like nitrogen oxides, sulfur dioxide, and particulate matter disproportionately impact the health of densely populated neighborhoods where major roadways, highways, and ports have been located. In Rhode Island, as in other states, the communities overburdened by air pollution are predominately Black, Indigenous, and/or people of color which have historically lacked representation and decision-making power in transportation planning. The TEAM Community Act and TCI-P will take an important first step to address these systemic injustices by establishing an Equity Advisory Board composed of the state’s Health Equity Zones and members of overburdened and underserved communities. The TEAM Community Act also commits a minimum of 35% of TCI-P proceeds for targeted investments that reduce pollution in local communities most impacted by transportation pollution.

Legislators in Connecticut and Massachusetts also have the opportunity to pass legislation that will guide the equitable implementation of TCI-P in their states. Legislators in Connecticut will have another chance to pass Governor Lamont’s TCI-P implementation bill through a fall special session of the Connecticut legislature. In Massachusetts, where Governor Baker already has the authority to implement TCI-P, S.2138/H.3264 would direct at least 70% of TCI-P proceeds to overburdened and underserved communities throughout the Commonwealth.

“By passing legislation to guide the equitable implementation of TCI-P, legislators in Rhode Island, Connecticut and Massachusetts have the opportunity to deliver climate action at a major scale while delivering policy solutions designed to meet local community needs,” said Jordan Stutt, Acadia Center’s Carbon Programs Director. “While an equitably designed TCI program should benefit overburdened and underserved communities, TCI-P is just one tool in the toolbox; other actions will still be necessary to deliver transportation justice. We know through polling and past ballot initiatives that Rhode Islanders overwhelmingly support investments in clean transportation and we need to make sure all communities enjoy the benefits of better, healthier mobility options.”


Media Contacts

Rhode Island:
Hank Webster, Rhode Island Director & Staff Attorney
hwebster@acadiacenter.org, 401-239-8500

Regional:
Jordan Stutt, Carbon Programs Director
jstutt@acadiacenter.org, 845-702-5217

 

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Acadia Center is a regionally focused non-profit organization headquartered in Rockport, Maine, working to advance a clean energy future that benefits all.

Acadia Center Applauds Maine’s Legislature for Putting Climate and Equity First

AUGUSTA — Today, the Maine Legislature enacted LD 1682 – An Act To Require Consideration of Climate Impacts by the Public Utilities Commission and To Incorporate Equity Considerations in Decision-making by State Agencies, empowering the Maine Public Utilities Commission (PUC) to make decisions that support greenhouse gas emission reductions as part of its primary mission. In addition, LD 1682 elevates “equity” across state government to help mitigate energy burdens on environmental justice and frontline communities and utility customers.

Daniel L. Sosland President of Acadia Center said, “With this legislation, Maine has taken a leadership role in updating the scope and mandate of the Maine PUC to be responsive to the need to address climate and equity”. “LD 1682 opens the door for state agencies to issue decisions that reflect the needs of all residents of Maine by ensuring a climate safe future and addressing equity concerns in environmental justice, frontline, rural and other vulnerable communities that are underserved or overburdened by current energy policies and systems due to geography, race, income and other factors.”

Few state agencies have more impact on more Mainers’ daily lives than the PUC. The Maine PUC regulates electric, gas, and water utilities’ rates and services and provides oversight to monopolies Central Maine Power and Versant Power, who collectively serve more than 795,000 electricity customers over 22,000 square miles from Fort Kent to Kittery. LD 1682 reforms the PUC’s mandate to require it to consider greenhouse gas reductions and compliance with Maine’s climate statute in its decision-making.

Jeff Marks, Maine Director & Senior Policy Advocate said, “State agencies like the PUC must start prioritizing climate now to help create efficient buildings and electrified transportation, powered by clean, renewable energy. LD 1682 gives the PUC the tools to do so and sets Maine on a course to do it equitably for all.” Maine’s energy economy is in transition.  The massive capital and planning necessary to transform buildings, transportation, and the electricity grid over the next three decades necessitates state government reforms to help expand heating and transportation electrification; increase clean energy generation, storage, and delivery of offshore wind, solar, and other renewables; and oversee innovative utility innovation and grid modernization.

Instead of choosing the cheapest solution in the moment, the PUC can choose the best solution for both today’s and tomorrow’s ratepayers and require utilities to provide more innovative services to address one of the greatest crises of our time. This creates the impetus for even greater reform across state government so that agency actions are no longer roadblocks to equitable climate solutions.

This legislation enjoys broad public support. The Energy, Utilities, and Technology Committee approved LD 1682 on May 28, after a public hearing with no opposing testimony and backing from the Maine Governor’s Energy Office, Governor’s Office of Policy Innovation and the Future, Maine Youth for Climate Justice, The Nature Conservancy, Island Institute, Central Maine Power, Conservation Law Foundation, Penobscot Nation, Cities of Portland & South Portland among others.

“Acadia Center thanks Rep. Vicki Doudera for sponsoring this bill, which puts the “action” in Maine’s new Climate Action Plan, and for working collaboratively and tirelessly to ensure the enactment of LD 1682,” said Jeff Marks.  We now ask that Governor Janet Mills sign the bill soon. Acadia Center looks forward to working with the Governor’s Office of Policy Innovation and the Future, state agencies, legislators, and the public to evaluate how to elevate and change the way state government considers equity in key regulatory and programmatic decisions.


Media Contacts:

Jeff Marks, Maine Director & Senior Policy Advocate
jmarks@acadiacenter.org, 207-236-6470 x304

For more information:

Jeff Marks, Maine State Director, jmarks@acadiacenter.org, 207.236.6470 ext. 304
Oliver Tully, Policy Strategist, otully@acadiacenter.org, 860.246.7121 ext.202

Hartford Activists and Health Experts Raise Concerns Over Air Pollution

HARTFORD, CT  – During a press conference in front of the Community Health Services at 1pm on Sunday, June 13th in Hartford on Albany Avenue, advocates called upon the Connecticut General Assembly to pass the Transportation and Climate Initiative during the Special Legislative Session. TCI will lower air pollution and reduce health risks, including asthma rates, among Connecticut residents, especially those in urban centers.

Researchers at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health estimate that TCI would avoid over 300 deaths per year in the North East, and prevent thousands of children from having asthma-related health illnesses. TCI would lower healthcare expenses as air pollution decreases. TCI is a unique opportunity to improve the public health of Connecticut residents, especially in communities overburdened by air pollution.

TCI will generate about $1 billion in revenue between 2023 and 2032 in Connecticut.  A minimum of 50% will be invested in communities that are overburdened by air pollution (including many environmental justice and urban communities located close to transportation corridors and power plants), or underserved by the transportation system.   An Equity and Environmental Justice Advisory Board will be formed, comprised of residents of these communities to determine the programs best suited for their needs.

Dr. Mark Mitchell, Associate Professor, George Mason University, former Director of Health for the City of Hartford:

“Air pollution sends many Hartford children to the emergency room — unable to breathe. We must adopt policies that address health disparities and tackle asthma among children. We must pass TCI to invest in clean transportation solutions such as reliable public transit, electric vehicle infrastructure, cleaner school buses, walkable and bikeable communities, and more — in order to reduce air pollution and greenhouse gases that contribute to climate change. As a public health physician, I believe that TCI is the best opportunity we have ever had to reduce our very high asthma, cancer, and learning disability rates and health disparities in Connecticut.”

Brenda Watson, Executive Director, Operation Fuel:

“Just like the Governor’s Council on Climate Change, TCI has been focused on achieving environmental justice. The beauty of this legislation is that it will address climate change, health and equity at the same time.  It dedicates 50% of the funding to overburdened communities as well as communities underserved by the transportation system. It establishes an Equity and Environmental Justice Advisory Board, composed of representatives of vulnerable communities, to recommend expenditures that would have the most benefit to these communities in reducing transportation related air pollution and providing jobs. This will improve both outdoor and indoor air pollution.”

Amy McLean, Connecticut Director & Senior Policy Advocate, Acadia Center:

“Not passing SB 884 means that Connecticut residents will continue to suffer the health effects caused carbon emissions from the transportation sector. Without this legislation Connecticut has no comprehensive tools to fight against the problem.  Whiffing on this critical climate and carbon pollution reduction legislation is a short sighted and a terrible decision. The 2021 special session is the right time to pass SB 884. The time is now….. not next year or the year after….. now.”  Acadia Center is a clean energy nonprofit that has been working on TCI across the region for over 6 years.

Charles Rothenberger, Save the Sound Climate and Energy Attorney:

“The Transportation and Climate Initiative is the most significant piece of climate legislation before the CT General Assembly in a decade and it’s strongly supported by doctors, businesses, and climate and social justice advocates. By using the health of our communities and the future of our environment as a bargaining chip, elected officials are abdicating their responsibility to protect public health, enhance the quality of life in our most challenged   communities, and meet   our state’s climate commitments. The legislature can still lead on these issues by getting TCI over the finish line this session. Let’s call a vote and pass this critical climate and public health legislation legislation…”

Lori Brown, Executive Director, CT League of Conservation Voters:

“Legislators and the Governor need to fight harder — together — for equitable solutions to climate change.  TCI has vocal support from all corners of our state because of the immense benefits and targeted investments it will bring to communities most impacted by air pollution.  We, the public, should not accept anything less from our elected leaders.”

Robert Goodrich, co-founder of R.A.C.C.E:

“In this moment, senate leadership and the governor must either change course or be put on notice that their decisions to negotiate in bad faith on responsible tax increases on corporations and wealthy individuals while using #TCI-P as a poker chip in high stakes game of all or nothing has endangered our communities by sacrificing tools for advancing racial justice, cleaner air, and transportation equity at the alter of the elite politicians in our state.”

Thomas Regan-Lefebvre, coordinator at Transport Hartford at the Center for Latino Progress:

“Members of the Legislative Assembly must listen to doctors and nurses’ expertises. TCI will improve air quality and will address transportation inequities that are hurting so many in our state. We can no longer delay tackling this health emergency: the Legislature/ Assembly must pass TCI during the special legislative session.”

Chris Phelps, Environment Connecticut State Director:

“If they are serious about fighting climate change, Connecticut’s legislators cannot leave Hartford this year without voting to cap and reduce carbon pollution from transportation”

“SB 884, implementing the Transportation Climate Initiative agreement is must-pass legislation for any politician in Hartford who is serious about fighting climate change. We cannot afford to wait to act on climate.”


Media Contacts:

Thomas Regan-Lefebvre, Transport Hartford
thomas_lefebvre@ctprf.org
(508) 863-9495

Amy McLean
amclean@acadiacenter.org
(860) 478-9125

 

 

 

 

 

Acadia Center Applauds Rhode Island Legislators for Introducing Transportation Emissions and Mobile (TEAM) Community Act

PROVIDENCE—Last week, Rhode Island legislators introduced S0872 and H6310, the Transportation Emissions and Mobile (TEAM) Community Act, to implement the Transportation and Climate Initiative Program (TCI-P) in Rhode Island. TCI-P  is a bipartisan agreement between neighboring states Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Connecticut, as well as the District of Columbia to cut transportation pollution by 26% between 2022-2032. The program is expected to generate approximately $250 million over 10 years for Rhode Island to invest in equitable, less polluting transportation options—investments that will create local jobs and deliver public health benefits of approximately $100 million annually.

“Acadia Center thanks Representative Terri Cortvriend, Senator Alana DiMario, and their colleagues in the General Assembly for introducing the TEAM Community Act to implement the TCI Program. Rhode Island has been at the forefront of the regional, bipartisan negotiations to develop the TCI Program for years and this legislation enshrines important commitments to improve public health, combat the Climate Crisis, center environmental justice voices in transportation decisions, and provide better mobility options for all,” said Hank Webster, Acadia Center’s Rhode Island Director. “This bill is a logical next step to implement the Act on Climate bill signed into law last month, which mandates greenhouse gas emission reductions over the next 30 years.”

Transportation is Rhode Island’s largest source of air pollution—representing nearly 40% of total greenhouse gas emissions. Harmful tailpipe pollutants like nitrogen oxides, sulfur dioxide, and particulate matter disproportionately impact the health of densely populated neighborhoods where major roadways, highways, and ports have been located. In Rhode Island, as in other states, the communities overburdened by air pollution are predominately Black, Indigenous, and/or people of color which have historically lacked representation and decision-making power in transportation planning. The TEAM Community Act and TCI-P will take an important first step to address these systemic injustices by establishing an Equity Advisory Board composed of the state’s Health Equity Zones and members of overburdened and underserved communities. The TEAM Community Act also commits a minimum of 35% of TCI-P proceeds for targeted investments that reduce pollution in local communities most impacted by transportation pollution.

“These commitments represent significant progress, but RI has much more work to do to develop stakeholder processes and policy solutions that meet the needs of the community,” said Jordan Stutt, Acadia Center’s Carbon Programs Director. “While an equitably-designed TCI program should benefit overburdened and underserved communities, TCI-P is just one tool in the toolbox; other actions will still be necessary to deliver transportation justice. We know through polling and past ballot initiatives that Rhode Islanders overwhelmingly support investments in clean transportation and we need to make sure all communities enjoy the benefits of better, healthier mobility options.”

Acadia Center also announced a new educational website as a free resource to the public to demonstrate the TCI-P opportunity for Rhode Island. The website, www.TCI4RI.com is a “one stop shop” of links to studies and media entries that explain the program’s design and showcase the many benefits of the TCI-P regional cap-and-invest program. It will be updated regularly with the latest information about TCI-P and feature transportation stories from around the Ocean State.

“It’s important to recognize the tremendous potential for TCI-P to really transform Rhode Island’s transportation systems for the better,” said Webster. “Acadia Center developed this website as one tool to help Rhode Islanders envision a future where people have better transportation options—healthier, convenient, more efficient, and above all, less polluting. We’re thankful for the efforts of our many partners to help develop this clearinghouse of information.”

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Acadia Center is a regionally focused non-profit organization headquartered in Rockport, Maine, working to advance a clean energy future that benefits all.


Media Contacts

Rhode Island:
Hank Webster, Rhode Island Director & Staff Attorney
hwebster@acadiacenter.org, 401-239-8500

Regional:
Jordan Stutt, Carbon Programs Director
jstutt@acadiacenter.org, 845-702-5217

Regional Clean Energy Groups from Across the Nation: Congress Must Pass 100% Clean Electricity Standard to Benefit All

BOSTON, MA – Six of the nation’s best-known groups fighting climate change at the state and regional levels today asked Congress to quickly pass President Biden’s proposal for 100% clean electricity nationwide by 2035. Such a measure, the groups say, would dramatically build on proven local successes in using clean-energy mandates to create jobs, clean the air, and fight climate change.

As a candidate, Joe Biden pledged to quickly enact legislation mandating that all the nation’s electricity be carbon-pollution free by the year 2035. That legislative vote will likely come before Congress soon – sometime this spring.

In a letter to House and Senate leaders today, the regional leaders said such a policy was “vital” in the fight against global warming while rebuilding the US economy with environmental justice. Read the letter here.

The six signatory groups are active in 27 states whose populations, collectively, exceed 155 million people.

“Clean energy will benefit everyone in the country by improving public health, supporting employment and economic benefits, and addressing long-standing pollution burdens imposed on poorer communities that disproportionately have born the burden of energy pollution. Equity must be at the center of our clean energy future,” said Daniel Sosland, president of Acadia Center, one of the signatory groups. “Northeast states have made a commitment to clean energy and are moving to reap the benefits for all citizens.  It’s time the whole country benefited from this approach and takes the action needed to assist all in this transition to cleaner energy future.”

Groups signing today’s letter to Congress are:

  • Acadia Center – Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York
  • Chesapeake Climate Action Network – Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, D.C.
  • Climate Solutions – Oregon, Washington
  • Southern Alliance for Clean Energy – Florida, Georgia, Alabama, South Carolina, North Carolina, Tennessee, Mississippi
  • Western Resource Advocates – Arizona, Colorado, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, Wyoming
  • Fresh Energy – Minnesota

Contact:
Daniel L. Sosland, 207-236-6470 x301
dsosland@acadiacenter.org

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Acadia Center is a regionally-focused, non-profit organization headquartered in Rockport, Maine, working to advance a clean energy future that benefits all.

 

Acadia Center Launches Redesigned Website

BOSTON – On January 19th, Acadia Center launched its redesigned website at acadiacenter.org

This new site amplifies Acadia Center’s work by using more visual storytelling, and elevates its human impact. Climate change and energy work can be abstract and technical, and the new site aims to make the work tangible and relevant to a much broader audience. This new approach is reflected in refreshed aesthetics, images and improved navigation, so users can easily find news and reports connected to any issue. A section called Latest highlights relevant news and blogs. The site creates an engaging experience by gently guiding users through the work in bite-size pieces, while using increased page-to-page relationships to encourage deep dives.

The new website groups Acadia Center’s work into four Areas of Focus, which encompass the many programs that the organization works on, from energy efficiency to phasing out natural gas.  It also includes dedicated pages for each Northeast state that Acadia Center works in, easily accessible in the Our Work section.

In keeping with an increased focus on public outreach, Acadia Center will begin rolling out educational materials aimed at a wide set of audiences, with the goal of reaching beyond an “in the know” audience of policy professionals and giving interested newcomers a grounding in key energy terms and concepts that they can use in advocacy. At the same time, the new website makes Acadia Center’s high-quality reports and technical analyses more easily searchable and accessible for reference, especially with a new Related Resources feature.

Lastly, more information is available in the Get Involved section of the website, where interested visitors can learn more and sign up for updates.

For any questions or comments, please contact Emma Rapperport at erapperport@acadiacenter.org.

Acadia Center applauds Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhode Island Governors for regional action to reduce tailpipe pollution.

BOSTON — Today, three states and the District of Columbia announced their plan for a regional program to cut tailpipe pollution while delivering much-needed investments in clean, equitable, and modern transportation options. Working together through the Transportation and Climate Initiative (TCI), Connecticut, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Washington, D.C. will participate in a cap-and-invest program to revitalize their transportation system and rein in pollution from vehicles, which are the country’s largest source of carbon emissions.

“Through their collaboration on TCI, Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhode Island will deliver cleaner, fairer and better transportation options for their residents and cleaner air in the most polluted communities, said Daniel Sosland, Acadia Center’s President. “These states are providing the kind of bipartisan leadership on climate change in the region that we all deserve. Acadia Center is committed to advancing a clean energy future that works for everyone, and major improvements in the transportation sector will help achieve this vision.”

The four jurisdictions participating in the program need to achieve significant emission reductions from the transportation sector to meet their ambitious climate targets. Transportation pollution accounts for 46% of the CO2 emissions across Connecticut, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Washington, D.C., more than double the contribution to climate change from any other sector. By participating in the TCI program, these jurisdictions will be able to invest hundreds of millions of dollars each year in clean transportation projects that create jobs, boost the economy, improve mobility, and slash pollution.

The collaboration between Connecticut, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Washington, D.C. represents action at a substantial scale. With a combined GDP of $1.09 trillion, the participating jurisdictions would be the world’s 15th largest economy, similar in output to Mexico. And the scale of this project is likely to grow. In a separate document released today, the four MOU signatories were joined by eight other TCI member states to assert that they are collaborating on the next steps of the cap-and-invest program’s development, suggesting that the program will expand beyond southern New England and D.C. Notably, that list includes a new TCI member, North Carolina, demonstrating the growing appeal of the TCI framework. All together, these jurisdictions would represent the world’s third largest economy.

As for the details, the TCI jurisdictions have incorporated stakeholder feedback to make the program more equitable and ambitious. Important new provisions have been added to last year’s draft MOU to ensure that overburdened and underserved communities receive at least their proportional share of TCI proceeds, that those communities are included in investment decisions and program design, and that air quality monitors will be deployed in the most polluted communities.

“These commitments represent significant progress at the regional level, but states have much more work to do to develop stakeholder processes and policy solutions that meet the needs of their communities,” said Jordan Stutt, Acadia Center’s Carbon Programs Director. “While an equitably-designed TCI program should benefit overburdened and underserved communities, TCI is just one piece of the puzzle: other action will still be necessary to deliver transportation justice.”

The MOU also charts an ambitious emission reduction trajectory. The emissions cap will decline by 30% from 2023 to 2032, consistent with recommendations Acadia Center submitted on behalf of 200 organizations in November. Reducing CO2 emissions from transportation fuels by 30% will help states achieve their climate targets while delivering critical improvements in air quality. The TCI program and additional transportation policies are key to realizing Acadia Center’s vision for a just and sustainable future.

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 Acadia Center is a regionally-focused, non-profit organization headquartered in Rockport, Maine, working to advance a clean energy future that benefits all.


Media Contacts

Massachusetts and Regional:
Jordan Stutt, Carbon Programs Director
jstutt@acadiacenter.org, 845-702- 5217

Connecticut:
Amy McLean Salls, Connecticut Director and Senior Policy Advocate
amcleansalls@acadiacenter.org, 860-246-7121 x204

Rhode Island:
Hank Webster, Rhode Island Director and Staff Attorney
hwebster@acadiacenter.org, 401-276-0600 x402

Maine:
Jeff Marks, Maine Director & Senior Policy Advocate
jmarks@acadiacenter.org, 207-236-6470 x304

Northeast States Again Rank High in 2020 State Energy Efficiency Scorecard, but Massachusetts’ Fall to Second Place Highlights Need for Continued Improvement

Rockport, ME – Massachusetts has lost its energy efficiency crown to California, after 9 years on top of the national rankings for efficiency, according to rankings released by the nonpartisan American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE). As they have for the past decade, Northeast states performed well in the 2020 State Energy Efficiency Scorecard, with Massachusetts, Vermont, Rhode Island, and New York filling out the top 5 spots, respectively. Connecticut ranked #7, Maine at #16, and New Hampshire at #18, a slight improvement from the 2019 Scorecard, which ranked New Hampshire at #20.

“Investing in energy efficiency is the best way to reduce the energy burdens faced by consumers in the Northeast,” said Daniel Sosland, Acadia Center’s President. “The region’s continued strong showing in the national rankings is due to the last decade of successful efficiency policies and programs in these states – helping the Northeast lower carbon pollution while providing over $49 billion in economic and public health benefits, region-wide.”

“Massachusetts’ falling to #2 highlights the need to not rest on past success, but instead keep innovating to ensure that the programs are helping to deliver clean, healthy buildings in our poorest neighborhoods, too,” Sosland continued.

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a profound effect on state budgets and policy agendas across the country and has forced hundreds of thousands of people in the clean energy sector out of wo rk, especially energy efficiency contractors. The pandemic has slowed progress on new energy efficiency legislation, and yet, existing efficiency policies and appliance standards continued to help reduce energy use and emissions and save consumers money.

The ACEEE rankings, released annually, are based on scoring in categories including state government initiatives, building efficiency policies, utility and public benefits programs, transportation policies, and appliance standards. The Northeast’s success in the rankings is largely the result of a policy championed by Acadia Center that requires programs to pursue all energy efficiency that is cost-effective, rather than defining a prescribed level of funding, and to involve stakeholders in developing efficiency plans. ACEEE awarded Massachusetts and Rhode Island a near-perfect score in the utility program category, praising the programs for being the largest contributor to state greenhouse gas emissions reduction goals. And both Massachusetts and New York have begun to incorporate fuel-neutral savings goals that better align efficiency programs with electrification.

“Over the last ten years, Massachusetts’ strong customer-funded efficiency programs have grown the economy while lowering electric and gas bills and cutting emissions – and they’ll continue to do so.  Massachusetts lost its first-place rank largely because it has not adopted appliance efficiency standards – an area heavily weighted under the scoring rubric,” said Amy Boyd, Director of Policy at Acadia Center and a member of the Massachusetts Energy Efficiency Advisory Council. “Massachusetts should adopt appliance standards, but also take this shift in rankings as a wake-up call that even though our utility efficiency programs are among the best in the nation, they’re not perfect. We need to ensure that all communities and customers can access the efficiency programs and include climate as one of the program’s explicit statutory goals.”

The Northeast is a national leader in energy efficiency, but states can and must do more. Acadia Center is working with states in the Northeast to keep energy efficiency funding high, serve low- and moderate-income communities better, and align energy efficiency programs more closely with climate targets.

Most importantly, many households in the Northeast—particularly those living in older buildings in environmental justice communities—suffer from excessive indoor air pollution, unhealthy temperature swings, and other inadequate living conditions. The communities most impacted by this substandard housing disproportionately consist of people of color. These buildings also emit more climate pollutants than better-weatherized housing. Existing efficiency programs must embrace this chance to marry traditional energy savings with crucially important equity and climate goals. Acadia Center is working with a wide range of partner organizations on policy changes that will enable efficiency programs to seize this opportunity.