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Programming Note: The Climate XChange Policy Roundup will be taking a week off, look for our next edition in your inbox on October 8th, 2019.
BEACON HILL HAPPENINGS
– A Climate Strike For the Books: Last Friday over 7,000 climate protesters converged on Boston City Hall plaza to draw attention to the existential threat posed by climate change. Speakers included the youth organizers of the strike, members of the Sunrise Movement, former EPA head Gina McCarthy, City Councilor Michelle Wu, Mayor Marty Walsh, and climate justice activist Reverend Mariama White-Hammond. Before marching to the statehouse, speakers demanded that (among other things) the state enact a number of climate policies, including bills focusing on 100% renewable energy and carbon pricing. A number of the speakers called on Governor Baker specifically to take bold action on climate change, including by denying the construction of the controversial Weymouth compressor station.
Despite the Strike’s focus on state action, few members of the Massachusetts legislature seemed to be in attendance. Those in the crowd included Representatives Tommy Vitolo (Brookline), Maria Robinson (Framingham), Tami Gouveia (Acton), and Mike Connolly (Cambridge). Others passed on Boston’s strike to participate in local strikes organized in their districts, including Senators Rebecca Rausch (Needham) and Michael Barrett (Lexington).
[Saw a state legislator at a strike who wasn’t on this list? Email me at email@example.com]
– Clean Energy Hearing Today: As this newsletter is publishing, the Joint Energy Committee is holding its first hearing of the fall in Statehouse Room 437. The committee will hear testimony on 28 bills focused on ‘Renewables & Grid Modernization.’ Learn more about these bills in last weeks Roundup here.
– “Pacheco, climate change committee chair, laments lack of action on climate bills” (Katie Lannan, SHNS via Taunton Daily Gazette): “Days after young protestors poured into the State House to demand that lawmakers address the changing climate, the chairman of the Senate Global Warming and Climate Change Committee invoked that demonstration as he, too, urged his colleagues to act quickly.”
– “House bill would restrict commercial logging in Massachusetts forests” (Larry Parnass, The Berkshire Eagle): “Arguments for and against a bill that would restrict logging in Massachusetts state forests will be heard Tuesday in Boston by a panel led by a Berkshire County lawmaker.”
– “Climate and transportation activists are carrying a 9-foot-tall Charlie Baker puppet around Massachusetts. Here’s why.” (Christopher Gavin, Boston.com): “With the impacts of climate change looming larger year after year, local activists are literally looking to make a big statement around Massachusetts this week.”
– “Healey, Markey Criticize Plan To Roll Back California’s Emissions Standards” (Barbara Moran, WBUR’s Earthwhile): “Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey and U.S. Sen. Edward Markey are protesting the Trump administration’s plan to revoke an Obama-era waiver allowing California to set its own standards for automobile fuel economy and emissions. Thirteen other states, including Massachusetts, have adopted California’s rules.”
ALL POLICY IS LOCAL
– “Climate changes: Towns grapple with rising groundwater, dying trees” (Jacquelyn Voghel and Scott Merzbach): “Climate change comes at a high cost — both in terms of impact on the planet, and the price tag on resources that communities need to combat these effects. In small towns like Granby, the expenses related to mitigating the consequences of climate change pose a particularly challenging obstacle.”
– “Global warming climate strike takes UMass by storm” (Meghan Sorensen, Massachusetts Daily Collegian): “On Friday, Sept. 20, students at the University of Massachusetts walked out of their classes to join the millions of people around the world protesting climate change and calling for stronger climate action from their prospective governments.”
– “Local group calling on Gov. Baker to address climate change” (Elysia Rodriguez, Boston 25 News): “A day after global climate strikes, a group is spending a week going from town to town demanding Governor Charlie Baker make climate change a priority. On Sunday, the group called ‘350 Massachusetts’ focused on the MBTA, taking a nine-foot cardboard cutout of the governor on the T. ”
– “Hilltowns getting state hand to deal with climate challenges” (Fran Ryan, Daily Hampshire Gazette): “A combination of small-town budgets, limited municipal personnel, aging infrastructure and their remote locations make it difficult for rural towns to mitigate damage and adapt to the effects of more frequently severe weather.”
OUR LOCAL ENVIRONMENT
– “Car Pollution In Boston Area Neighborhoods Poses Health Risk To Residents, New Research Finds” (Craig LeMoult, WGBH): “New research from a number of Boston-area universities shows transportation-related air pollution may be even more harmful than previously understood, leaving some of society’s most vulnerable at greater risk for heart attack and stroke.”
– “At the edge of the warming world” (The Boston Globe): “To the millions of us who visit Cape Cod once or twice a summer, the effects of climate change can seem subtle, if we see them at all…”
– “MIT Media Lab Dumped Chemicals In Excess Of Legal Limit, Keeping Regulators In The Dark” (Lisa Song and Max Larkin, WBUR): “Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Media Lab have dumped wastewater underground in apparent violation of a state regulation, according to documents and interviews, potentially endangering local waterways in and near the town of Middleton.”
PRICE THAT CARBON
– “Webinar Recap: Why Businesses are Backing Carbon Pricing” (Ruby Wincele, Climate XChange): Read the recap, and watch the recording, of the Climate XChange’s most recent webinar which focused on why businesses are increasingly backing carbon pricing efforts.
THE GREEN ECONOMY, STUPID
– “U.S. Rooftop Solar Dips Below $3 a Watt for First Time: Chart” (Nic Querolo, Bloomberg News): “The average cost for U.S. homeowners to install rooftop solar systems fell below $3 per watt for the first time ever this year, according to a report from EnergySage Inc.”
– “Enviro $ behind Markey: labor unions back Kennedy” (Michael P. Norton, SHNS via SouthCoast Today): “Environmental activists are assembling a $5 million effort to support Sen. Edward Markey’s reelection bid, while organized labor factions were quick to line up behind Rep. Joseph Kennedy III after he formally joined the Senate race on Saturday… Environment Massachusetts announced late Friday that it is reaching out to groups and individuals in Massachusetts to urge them to make donations to an independent expenditure campaign. The goal is to amass $5 million and the Environment America Action Fund has pledged $1 million.”
Environment Massachusetts wasn’t alone endorsing Senator Markey. Sunrise Boston, 350 Mass Action, the Massachusetts Sierra Club, and the Environmental League of Massachusetts Action Fund all also jointly announced support for the incumbent Senator and Green New Deal co-sponsor.
BEYOND THE BAY STATE
– “New rule shifts development in Maine’s prized North Woods” (David Abel, Boston Globe): “A state rule change that took effect this summer could open as much as 1 million acres of the North Woods and Maine’s other unincorporated territories to new development. The consequences, they say, will be wilds that are less wild, increased carbon emissions, a loss of animal life… and the fragmentation of the largest forested area east of the Mississippi River….”
Missed the last CXC Roundup? Here are the top local climate headlines from last week:
- Climate XChange Launches its 2019 Tesla Raffle
- “Massachusetts Catholic leaders call for climate change action”
- EV’s, Green Communities Programs Targeted in Gov’s Supplemental Budget