In recent years, the transportation sector has surpassed power plants as the largest source of carbon dioxide emissions in the US. Learn more about this shift and how you can help curb emissions.
Our climate change program manager participated in a Project Drawdown conference this weekend, an opportunity to share resources and strategies for creating climate solutions. Not familiar with Project Drawdown? Learn all about it here.
Supporting Rural Communities
Rural areas of Massachusetts can face different challenges than the rest of the state, from declining populations to limited fiscal resources. To help address these issues, a state Commission created the Rural Policy Plan, on which Mass Audubon provided input.
According to the first comprehensive review of bird population trends in decades, 29% of US birds have disappeared since 1970. Learn more about the issue and some Mass Audubon programs you can support to be part of the solution.
The Value of Nature in Narragansett Bay
This new report and website explore the $14 billion value of nature-based economic sectors in the Narragansett Bay Watershed. Mass Audubon partnered with the University of Rhode Island Coastal Institute and others on this project, which aims to inform future decision-making in the region.
The state has announced $8 million in funding for the latest round of Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness (MVP) Program grants. This funding will help communities plan for climate impacts and implement priority adaptation projects. Learn more about MVP and how to apply for this funding.
Are You a Community Preservation Leader?
Our Community Preservation Coalition Steering Committee is expanding! As the CPA program has grown over the years, the Steering Committee hopes to grow along with it by including wide-ranging representation from member communities. Learn more.
Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey is co-leading a lawsuit over federal Endangered Species Act (ESA) rollbacks. The ESA is needed more than ever in the face of climate change and habitat loss, and as Mass Audubon notes in the press release, reducing its protections now would be a big mistake.
The state is reviewing its Solar Massachusetts Renewable Target program, which provides financial incentives for solar energy projects. We submitted comments expressing strong support for solar energy, but recommending it be located away from ecologically- and socially-valuable land.
State Funding Awarded for Land Protection
The state has awarded $12.9 million in grants to protect land and natural resources, create and restore parks, and increase climate resilience. This funding will help communities conserve 1,191 acres of land.
The climate of Massachusetts is
already changing – and with it our natural lands, waters, and
wildlife. These changes are affecting our health, the nature we love, and the
natural resources on which we depend.
We still have time to correct our course and align the Commonwealth’s climate strategy with the best scientific data available, but we have to act quickly. S.2005/H.2802 will do this by ensuring the policies we put in place lower our greenhouse gas emissions while creating a flourishing clean energy economy.
Some of these goals include:
Setting deadlines for market-based compliance, like carbon pricing, by 2022
Increasing the number of state-owned electric vehicles
Incentivizing electric vehicle purchases for residents
Increasing access to solar panels
Setting minimum standards for energy storage on our grid network
Increasing offshore wind
Improving access to clean energy programs for environmental justice populations
Thousands gathered for the Global Climate Strike in Boston last Friday, where the crowd heard from youth activists and political leaders. Mass Audubon sanctuaries joined strikes statewide and beyond, including in Lexington, Northampton, Providence, Worcester, and Wellesley. Kudos to climate change program manager Alexandra Vecchio for organizing Mass Audubon’s partnership in this event, and to all who attended.
Mass Audubon is an event partner and speaker at next month’s American Wind Energy Association Offshore WINDPOWER Conference in Boston. Momentum for offshore wind in the US is building, and this year’s event will feature sessions on ensuring its long-term success and reducing costs.
Speaking Up for Local Bird Species
Local bird populations are declining across Massachusetts, largely due to climate change and habitat loss.WBUR’s Morning Edition takes a closer look at these changes in a discussion with Mass Audubon’s Joan Walsh.
September 24-30th is Climate Preparedness Week,
a movement dedicated to learning, service, and actions that better prepare our
communities for extreme weather events.
Climate change is already impacting
towns and cities across Massachusetts, from hotter summers and rising sea
levels to more frequent severe weather events and inland flooding. Meanwhile,
recent extreme storms like the devastating Hurricane Dorian are reminders that
extreme weather events are only getting worse globally. So while we continue
working toward reducing emissions and preventing the worst future climate
change scenarios, we also need to get serious about preparing for the
inevitable impacts we’ll continue to see.
Need more reasons to get
involved? Many climate preparedness strategies, especially those that take
advantage of nature
based solutions, also have co-benefits of improving public health and
preserving natural resources.
Climate Preparedness Week is a
great introduction to getting more involved in your local community while helping
build climate resilience, and we know that connected communities are more
resilient communities. We have a lot of work to do, but each person’s decisions
add up. What starts with individual action can turn into collective action in a
neighborhood, community, state, or even country.
Here’s another way you can help stop the recent federal Endangered Species Act rollbacks! Join our Coalition in asking your congressperson and senators to pass legislation restoring the ESA.
Offshore Wind Update
This week, the state will release public bids received for their second-round procurement of up to 800 MW of offshore wind energy. The final selection, to be made by the end of the year, should bring the state to its goal of 1,600 MW.
The state Department of Energy Resources (DOER) is looking for input on their SMART solar program. Following their initial review of the existing program, DOER is holding stakeholder meetings to share their results and collect feedback.
New Local Leadership at EPA
Welcome to Dennis Deziel, EPA’s new Regional Administrator for New England. Dennis brings over 20 years of federal government experience to the position, and we look forward to working with him.
This summer is an unusually high-risk year for the mosquito-borne disease Eastern Equine Encephalitis, or EEE. While you’re enjoying the outdoors in these waning days of summer, be sure to take precautions. Learn more and see the most recent risk map.
The federal Endangered Species Act is one of America’s most successful conservation laws, and it’s under threat. The Trump Administration has finalized changes that will significantly weaken protection for vulnerable species, but you can help fight them.
Rallying Support for Vineyard Wind
Vineyard Wind would be the first US industrial offshore wind project and has the potential to power more than 400,000 homes. Earlier this month, the project was delayed by the Interior Department. At a press event with our colleagues on Cape Cod, we spoke out about this unnecessary delay.
In addition to her pledge to take action on Endangered Species Act rollbacks, Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healy and ten other state attorneys general have opposed an EPA proposal that risks exposing endangered species to harmful pesticides.
Cities are especially vulnerable to the rising temperatures that come with climate change, thanks to factors like the heat island effect. Find out why and discover one simple thing you can do to help.
State Budget Success
Governor Baker signed the FY20 budget last week, which included funding for Mass Audubon’s Trailside Museum and a permanent increase for the CPA Trust Fund. Thanks to everyone who contacted their legislators and Governor Baker about supporting these programs!
Massachusetts is seeking Regional Coordinators for the Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness (MVP) program. The positions will support communities through the MVP process and help them advance climate resilience projects. Think you’d be a good fit? Learn more & apply >
The heatwaves we’ve been experiencing this summer are a good
excuse to get to the beach, but they’re also a reminder that we’re already
starting to experience the impacts of climate change. One of Mass Audubon’s top
climate change mitigation priorities is the responsible
development and use of offshore wind, which could bring more than 4
gigawatts of clean, renewable energy to Massachusetts.
Offshore wind is a critical component to US emissions reduction and has the potential to create thousands of jobs. But we need to make sure the industry grows responsibly, and set clear guidelines for minimizing environmental impacts.
Harnessing the Wind: How to Advance Wind Power Offshore, is a new resource produced by the Natural Resources Defense Council in collaboration with Mass Audubon and other partner groups. This guide outlines how we can tap into US offshore wind potential in a way that’s also protective of ocean life, and identifies the top challenges, along with proposed actions, toward accomplishing that goal.
Whether it’s placing projects outside of sensitive habitat
areas or reducing underwater noise, taking these measures up-front will ensure
the offshore wind industry continues to grow in a way that works for wildlife,
people, and the planet.