Changing the Climate Conversation

Building Innovative Pathways, Together

Acadia Center is helping to shift public narratives and amplify voices. We build coalitions, challenge industry narratives, and propose real solutions to fight climate change and move us all toward a clean energy economy. Our Public Engagement work is oriented towards three themes:

  1. Reframe and Amplify: making important climate, energy, public health data accessible, framing it in ways that show the impact on people’s lives, and working with many to advocate for change
  2. Partner for Impact: working with partners to identify solutions with the greatest quality of life improvements
  3. Educate and Activate: creating educational materials that can empower everyone who cares about energy, consumer health and the future of their communities to learn key concepts, cut through the jargon, and advocate for the solutions they need.

All Hands On Deck

At Acadia Center we know that finding clean energy solutions is a team effort. Finding innovative pathways forward that allow all residents to benefit from lower emissions means different perspectives must come together to learn, listen and be heard. Oftentimes there are deep-seated assumptions and perceptions that can be changed with simple dialogue and sharing.

We don’t just believe that there must be “more seats at the table.” We believe that the table itself must be reimagined to be inclusive, open-minded, and willing to hear diverse opinions and possibilities.

Acadia Center strives to widen the solutions circle by drawing together people who are concerned about the future of the places where we live and work to help shape solutions that will move us all forward toward a clean energy economy. At briefings, forums, listening sessions webinars, and engaging communications, we will build on the momentum of public support and awareness of the benefits of clean energy: improved health, safer homes and lower greenhouse gases.

The Nexus of Sound, Impactful Research and Analysis

Acadia Center is a leader in preparing climate reports and other detailed analysis of clean energy and transportation solutions that show how states, provinces and the region can advance reforms to reduce emissions, including the first state climate roadmap (Climate Change Roadmap for Connecticut) in 2003; and the first regional climate roadmap (Climate Change Roadmap for New England and Eastern Canada) in 2006. We continue to prepare critical climate pathways reports that have been influential in state and regional action, such as Climate Vision 2020; EnergyVision, and EnergyVision 2030. Since our founding over twenty years ago. Acadia Center has produced thought leadership reports, many of which catalyzed groundbreaking legislative action.

Transition to Clean Energy Sources

A clean energy future depends upon generating non-polluting electricity to power our transportation systems and heat and cool our buildings. Acadia Center’s Clean Energy program targets ways to accelerate the transition in power generation from fossil fuels to clean energy like offshore wind and rooftop solar, which are essential to supplying the clean electricity that will be needed to electrify the economy. This area of focus aims to change the “rules of the game” in the electricity system – changing the incentive structure that stifles clean energy choices by favoring  incumbent fossil fuels interests, despite the  lower costs and consumer and public health benefits of renewable energy and the existential risk of climate change.

  • Our Clean Power program works to increase the percentage of renewables in our electricity mix and to change electricity market rules, evening the playing field to increase the amount of clean energy on the power grid. This program also focuses on the consumer and community sides of the energy system, by supporting policies to make local distributed energy resources such as solar, wind, storage and other clean energy technologies available and affordable.
  • Targeting the utilities that generate, distribute, and maintain the grid, our Utility Innovation program works to change the utility incentives and business model that continues to favor fossil fuel infrastructure, despite high (and rising) costs to the consumer and the climate.
  • Our Natural Gas Phaseout program is dedicated to the particular challenges of natural gas, both preventing natural gas expansion and dealing with health and safety challenges of existing infrastructure.

Buildings and Transportation

Buildings and transportation are the two largest-emitting sectors in the region and the country. While emissions from the power sector in the Northeast have been declining due to cleaner energy generation and energy efficiency, emissions from buildings and transportation remain stubbornly high. Acadia Center is shaping and implementing effective ways to reduce emissions from buildings and transportation that will offer better transportation options for all, improve building comfort and public health, and modernize our buildings and transportation systems for a stronger economic future.

Acadia Center is tackling this challenge in three key ways:

• The Building Electrification program complements our Energy Efficiency work by focusing on policies and incentives to replace fossil fuels like heating oil, natural gas and propane with modern, safe and clean electric choices such as air-source heat pumps and hot water heaters and advanced weatherization. Our work combines regional coalition-building, modeling and analysis and policies to create momentum for innovative, consumer friendly reforms to make every building a zero-emissions building.
• Our Transportation program works to advance a suite of policies across the region that will deliver cleaner, more accessible, and more affordable transportation options, from electric vehicles to public transit, to help all our communities thrive.
• Acadia Center is a regional leader in advancing Energy Efficiency reforms and investments in the Northeast, which  have produced significant consumer, climate and public health benefits by shifting utility expenditures from polluting power plants to efficiency improvements in our homes, businesses and government buildings. Our Energy Efficiency program is now focused on aligning the nearly $2 billion going into energy efficiency efforts with needed improvements in sub-standard housing, whole-building electrification, and climate goals. We advocate for forward-looking efficiency policies in state legislatures, public utility commissions, at the regional grid operator ISO-New England and through seats on state energy efficiency stakeholder bodies Acadia Center worked to create.

 

Advance Long-Term Climate Policy

Acadia Center’s Long-Term Climate Policy focus area offers pathways to meeting critical climate targets and future decarbonization goals. Meeting emissions reduction targets will be the difference between disruptive change that we can adapt to, and catastrophic change that we cannot. If we are not able to plan ahead and see how each existing policy and proposed change fits into the bigger picture, we cannot have an accurate sense of whether we are making progress, and where we are falling short. Acadia Center’s climate planning work is oriented towards finding the most effective and equitable way to reach those targets, while adjusting to political, economic, and technological shifts.

The work grouped under this area is quantitative, analytical, and tied to innovative but practical changes to the way a livable climate is valued, both as a core responsibility of various government agencies and for the many stakeholders who are engaged in shaping climate pathways.

  • Long-Term Climate Planning: our work to research, recommend and share specific pathways for states to take on their own and in cooperation with multi-state cooperation to reduce emissions. This work is supported by quantitative analysis, including many ground-breaking reports.
  • Government Agency Reform: our work to modernize government decision-making by adding climate change to the stated goals and enabling statutes of various agencies, and to make sure all agencies have a plan to hit reductions targets. This is an example of work that Acadia Center is engaged in to review and shape governmental decision-making to be responsive to climate goals and to the needs of electricity consumers, environmental justice, and public health.
  • Carbon Markets: our work on carbon-pricing mechanisms that use the market to drive change, such as the Transportation and Climate Initiative (TCI) and the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), which “put a price on carbon” by charging for pollution, one that is done with attention to the needs to address environmental justice and improve air quality for all residents and communities.