Acadia Center knows that building a cleaner, low emissions future today is consistent with the steps needed to advance a stronger economic future. Almost all of the most effective tools for reducing greenhouse gas emissions will help consumers save money and bolster local, state and regional economies.
One of Acadia Center’s breakthrough studies, Energy Efficiency: Engine of Economic Growth, uses a widely regarded economic model that shows how using energy efficiently provides billions of dollars in consumer benefits and economic value. Measures like weatherizing, insulating and upgrading equipment save home and business owners money on their bills. Those savings then get invested in the local economy instead of being paid out to energy and fuel suppliers.
The successful Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) is another example of a policy that works with the power of the markets to bring results. Acadia Center’s RGGI Auction Tracker and economic benefits of RGGI reports are trusted resources that have been invaluable to advocates and policymakers who work to uphold and strengthen the RGGI program. The RGGI Auction Tracker tallies up the hundreds of millions in savings that consumers earn because auction proceeds go to efficiency and clean energy projects. Other RGGI reports show that greenhouse gas emissions can come down at the same time that the economy grows — a powerful demonstration using hard, real world examples that reducing emissions goes hand in hand with economic growth.
Acadia Center’s EnergyVision framework for a new energy system demonstrates multiple consumer and economic benefits from a clean energy future. These analyses show that electrifying vehicles is a major step toward our mid-century climate goals, and, much more immediately, drivers save fuel and money when switching to a electric vehicle over a gasoline-powered model. Investing in local, community energy options gives consumers more control over their energy use and invests in lower cost, more local and cleaner choices.
Acadia Center believes that tackling misperceptions about clean energy economics and environmental benefits with sound information and hard data – matched with ambitious reforms — can reframe debates and change minds in the process of building a clean and environmentally sustainable future.
Healthy environment and strong community go hand-in-hand. Policies that cut carbon emissions also give people better access to clean air and water, safe and secure energy supplies, and connections to the resources they need and the places they want to be.
Acadia Center is proud that initiatives make our homes and businesses healthier and safer places to live and work. One target was black carbon pollution from diesel buses in urban neighborhoods. Acadia Center’s team collaborated with community groups to do air quality testing, publicize the results, and call upon leadership to clean up the air, especially in hard-hit neighborhoods. Bus fleets in three states advanced their clean-up timelines, including all school buses in Massachusetts. Now Acadia Center is leading research, analysis and advocacy to power vehicles with alternatives like electricity from renewable sources.
Other innovative approaches include integrating health and safety improvements, such as lead paint removal, with weatherization and heating equipment upgrades. Acadia Center reaches out to and partners with community and public health groups to support clean energy and climate change policies. Acadia Center’s EnergyVision framework shows how communities can be cleaner and more livable by embracing municipal reforms to support local clean energy infrastructure like electric vehicle charging stations; development of solar, community wind and combined heat and power and targeted investments in energy efficiency that improve building quality and reduce energy costs.
Climate change is a crucial and urgent challenge. Acadia Center advances policy levers and other tools to reduce emissions of carbon pollution and mitigate the worst effects of fossil fuel dependence. Our solutions are designed to produce near term benefits while building sustainable, longer term improvements.
Some examples of Acadia Center’s model policy initiatives, and their long-term impact, include:
Energy efficiency is often the cleanest, lowest-cost resource for powering homes and businesses, but for a long time it has been underused, undervalued and dismissed as an uncertain part of the energy system. Acadia Center advocated policies that call for states to invest in all cost-effective available energy efficiency investments that are cheaper than buying power from powerplants. Acadia Center also pressed for changes in state energy planning so there is a focused voice for efficiency and distributed clean energy options —stakeholder councils that bring energy consumer sectors and other stakeholders together to execute funding, monitoring and implementation of efficiency programs. Now Acadia Center’s state models have risen to the highest rankings in the nation for savings and investment levels and are winning recognition as effective policy designs.
Ambitious, Innovative Maps to the Future
In the mix of negative news about our collective ability to address the climate challenge, Acadia Center is demonstrating the ability to achieve real emissions reductions while advancing a cleaner future.
Acadia Center was an early voice that recognized that reducing harmful emissions that contribute to global warming is a task that states and regions – not only the federal government – could and should confront head on. Acadia Center’s Connecticut Climate Change Roadmap was a first-of-its-kind resource that directly tackled the large scale need to reduce emissions by 80% by 2050, and researched and mapped the strategies to bring the state to meeting greenhouse gas reduction targets. The Roadmap covered multiple sectors and presented viable policy models with information that quantified the potential benefits and impacts. Building on that success, the Connecticut Roadmap was replicated by other states in all parts of the country. Acadia Center’s Climate Change Roadmap for New England and Eastern Canada reached across jurisdictions and outlined replicable solutions to hit state and regional emissions targets.
Acadia Center continues this ambitious and viable approach to impact the big decisions happening today that will shape the energy system of tomorrow. That means assessing the potential for the region to use cleaner, affordable alternatives to tar-sands-derived oil or natural gas. In its EnergyVision framework, Acadia Center paints the pathway to reaching 80% greenhouse gas emissions reductions by 2050 through reforms in four intersecting areas of the energy system.