Eileen Ryan and the Beyond Plastics crew can give you a thorough education on the horrifying pervasiveness of plastic around the globe, and how the government supports the petrochemical industry which produces plastics. She’ll convince you that there is NO WAY to recycle ourselves out of the plastics problem, since most of it ISN’T: less than 6% of plastics produced were recycled in 2021. Beyond Plastics says to STOP “Wish-cycling” and focus on upstream solutions: stop making so much of the plastics we do, and work to support legislation to make the change to re-usable and refillable containers. And yes, it does relate to the Climate Crisis, and ECA Mass will be supporting several bills in our Statehouse dealing with plastic solutions.
Monthly Chapter Meetings
The ECA Mass February chapter meeting consisted of three presentations.
The first short presentation was by Seth Evans about the Third Act Day of Action against big banks on 3.21.23.
The main presentation was given by Michael Meehan, Communication and Outreach Director of the Northeast Clean Energy Council (NECEC). Michael’s slides are saved.
NECEC is the premier voice of businesses building a world-class clean energy hub in the Northeast. NECEC includes the Northeast Clean Energy Council (a nonprofit business member organization), and NECEC Institute (a nonprofit focused on industry research, innovation, policy development, and communications initiatives). NECEC brings together business leaders and key stakeholders to engage in influential policy discussions and business initiatives while building connections that propel the clean energy industry forward. The slides from the presentation are here.
The final presentation by Roger Luckmann was a Legislative team update on legislation and implementation.
The video from the chapter meeting is here.
ECA Mass chapter meeting – 1/10/23 – Building Electrification Accelerator (BEA) and Specialized Energy Code
The BEA is a growing community of municipal leaders and advocates in Massachusetts committed to a Commonwealth of sustainable, resilient, and healthy buildings, affordable and attainable for all. The BEA’s mission is to accelerate equitable building decarbonization in Massachusetts via municipal action. To further this mission, the BEA convenes municipal teams, catalyzes successful local policies and programs, and coordinates state-level action with allies.
The BEA’s work began in 2020 around the fossil fuel prohibition warrant articles starting with Brookline and Arlington. Subsequently a dozen more municipalities passed similar articles and home rule petitions, leading to the 10-town pilot section of the Drive Climate Act signed by Governor Baker in August. The BEA’s efforts have since expanded to prioritize collaborative projects retrofitting low-income housing, with a focus on environmental justice communities. The slides for the BEA presentation are here.
Next came a presentation by Arnie Epstein, Chair of the Stow Green Advisory Committee and facilitator of the ECA Mass research team. Arnie provided an overview of the new building codes and the work being done in Stow to adopt the Specialized Energy Code at town meeting. The slides for the presentation on Specialized Energy Code are here.
Watch the video here.
At the December ECA Mass chapter meeting Representative Joan Meschino reviewed the legislative climate victories of the last year and expressed optimism about another climate bill this coming legislative sessions that could address urgent issues related to decarbonizing buildings, phasing out natural gas and other concerns. The ECA Mass Legislative Team reported on their work on optimizing the management of the many tasks required to support legislative advocacy and their new undertaking to monitor and push forward implementation of the Roadmap and Wind/Climate bills.
Watch the video here.
At the November chapter meeting we welcomed Larry Chretien, who for the past 23 years has been Executive Director of Green Energy Consumers Alliance, a non-profit based in Boston and Providence that harnesses the power of consumers to speed the transition to a low-carbon future. He highlighted the major energy and climate policy implications of the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) – plus how the IRA can help with the switch to electric cars, heat pumps, and solar, including new incentives you should be aware of.
The Senator and majority leader, reviewed the progress made in the last session on addressing climate change. She stressed the challenge with old approach to climate change, and instead of prohibitions and disincentives to change the focus to incentives. The Committee on Global Warming she chairs will look harder at the future role of gas and how to provide more support to retrofitting buildings. She also highlighted a variety of other priorities including promoting more urban trees and lessening light pollution. When asked about her advice to advocates, her reply is to help educate consumers on the incentives available to car buyers, home owners and others. She stressed that its not too late to save our climate. We must keep working. Finally, she also answered a variety of questions on climate programs and next steps from our members.
In the second half of the meeting, we heard from Paul Dryfoos of Elders for Sounds Democracy discussing 12 actions we could do now to promote a free and fair election.
The video for the chapter meeting is here.
The September chapter meeting guests were Megan Hertzog and Liz Anderson both lawyers in the Environment and Energy Division of the Massachusetts Attorney General. After reassuring us that they will remain in their positions after the November elections they answered many questions about the role of the Attorney General regarding the Roadmap Law and the new Clean Energy and Off-Shore Wind law as well as oversight of environmental regulations and consumer protections.
Representatives Dr. Tami Gouveia and Paul Mark join us for a legislative update on the climate bill now in the conference committee and bills still in the Telecommunications, Utilities and Energy committee. Watch the video of the meeting here or click on the image below.
Did you know heating and hot water for buildings in Massachusetts are responsible for over 25% of statewide greenhouse gas emissions and for a typical home, heating and hot water represent 75% of total energy use? This is the major challenge we face in achieving net zero emissions by 2050 as well as a 50% emissions reduction by 2030.
At our chapter meeting we heard from Bob Zogg, a founder of the HeatSmart Alliance and Joel Boucher, HVAC design engineer for Boucher Energy Systems to learn about real world solutions for “greening our homes” with heat pumps. We began with a presentation from Bob followed by a lively and informative panel discussion and Q&A. The slides for the presentation are here.
For more information, you can reach Bob Zogg at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the HeatSmart Alliance website at https://dev.heatsmartalliance.org/. Boucher Energy Systems website is https://boucherenergy.com/ or call 508-473-6648 (note: Boucher Energy Systems does not serve Boston and some surrounding communities).
Roger Luckmann brought us up to date with unfolding state climate legislation with a focus on the Senate climate bill introduced last week – An Act Driving Climate Policy Forward (S.2819)
The video of the “green heating” presentation and panel discussion along with the legislative update are here.
ECA Mass chapter meeting – 3/8/22 – Representative Roy, House Chair Telecommunications, Utilities and Energy Committee (TUE). Offshore wind legislation and the outlook for climate legislation.
Representative Roy provided us with an overview of the offshore wind bill (H.4524) passed by the house last week. Massachusetts has the largest offshore wind potential of any state in the country which will be key to making the state more energy independent. We also heard about the outlook for other initiatives this session including support for electric vehicles and building retrofits to all-electric heating.
Following the presentation, Rep. Roy answered several questions on a range of topics which provided additional clarity on the outlook for climate legislation this session and moving forward.
The video of Rep. Roy’s meeting at our ECA Mass chapter meeting is here.