Expert Series

Climate Change in New England

Our April Deep Dialogue featured a presentation and Q&A with guest speaker Dr. Stephen Young, professor of remote sensing and environmental sustainability at Salem State University. Dr Young focused on his recent publication “Overall warming with reduced seasonality: temperature change in New England, USA, 1900 – 2020”, and discussed the current and impending effects of continued warming in New England. His presentation included photographs of climate change impacts on the North Shore. 

If you missed this informative Deep Dialogue, or want to watch the video again, the recording is here. The slides from the presentation are here.

Why we need lifestyle change to fight climate change

Climate change is often seen as a challenge that can be met by technological solutions like renewable energy. While these are necessary parts of the solution, they may not be sufficient, especially in a world where more and more people seek to consume more materials and energy. Yet changes in lifestyles to reduce our carbon footprints is a difficult topic for policy makers and activists.

At our March Deep Dialogue, we heard about the challenge of changing lifestyles from Newton climate activist and scientist, Philip J. Vergragt PhD, who has spent years researching “sustainable consumption” and “sustainable lifestyles.” His presentation explored if and how our wellbeing can be maintained – and improved – while reducing our “consumption carbon footprint.” Watch the presentation video, with the Q&A and informative discussion here, and access the presentation slides here. You can also reach Philip directly. His email is pvergragt@outlook.com.

Deep Dialogue – 1/24/22
Fresh Water and Climate Change

Did you know that only 2.5% of water on Earth is fresh water? And only a small portion of that fresh water is available, at the surface in lakes and rivers, and in groundwater, to sustain human, plant and animal life. Floods, drought and extreme weather are much in the news, as climate change exacerbates our water problems.  

At our January conversation series, Betty Krikorian of the ECA Mass Research Team took us on a deep dive into Fresh Water and Climate Change, with a fascinating presentation that helped us understand the increasing threats to our precious fresh water resources. She explored water management and its potential for climate change mitigation, highlighting the water challenges in three very different geographical regions of the United States. Watch the presentation video, with the Q&A and lively discussion here, and access the presentation slides here.

Deep Dialogue – 12/20/21
The Role of MA Public Forests in Addressing the Climate Emergency

Massachusetts has 1 million acres of public forests, which play a critical role in removing and storing carbon, and helping to achieve the net-zero climate goals of the Massachusetts Next Generation Roadmap Law. So why does the Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) persist in commercial logging of our public forests, destroying thousands of acres and intentionally targeting the largest mature trees, while violating numerous laws and regulations? How would pending forest legislation (H.912 and H. 1002) change outdated laws and make DCR accountable to the public, protect our trees and wildlife, and address the climate crisis? What can you do to support passage of these important bills?

ECA Mass Legislative Team member and Forest Bill Manager, Glen Ayers, answered these questions and much more, analyzing the past 10 years of DCR logging in state parks and forests, and the changes we need to meet our climate goals. His eye-opening presentation is essential viewing for everyone who cares about forests and climate.

You can watch a video of Glen’s presentation, with all the Q&A and discussion, here. Glen’s presentation slides, with dozens of useful links to legislation and regulations, scientific research, and many other resources, are available here.

Deep Dialogue – 11/30/21
Net Zero and Carbon Dioxide Removal

The IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) determined we must keep global warming below 1.5 degrees Centigrade to avoid some of the worst impacts of climate change.  To do this our CO2 emissions must be “net zero” by 2050.

Arnie Epstein of our Research Team discussed what net zero means and why the target is net zero and not simply zero emissions.  Why net zero entails removing CO2 from the atmosphere and why this is needed regardless of how successful we are in reducing worldwide emissions.  The amount of CO2 removal required is covered along with the approaches and outlook for achieving it.  Finally, we discussed the moral hazard represented by CO2 removal and ways to avoid becoming over reliant and not acting with the urgency needed to reduce CO2 emissions.

The video of this deep dialogue, including a lively discussion, is below. The slides from the presentation are here.

Deep Dialogue – 10/25/21
Natural Solutions: A Path to Mitigate both Climate Change and Biodiversity Loss

It has become clear that climate change and biodiversity loss present equal threats to human existence and a habitable planet. These interrelated crises need to be acted on simultaneously to avoid worsening them both. 

Amy Meltzer of our Research Team gives an introduction to the biodiversity crisis, and discusses the crucial role of land based ecosystems in both carbon sequestration and biodiversity support. She shows how actions informed by an understanding of ecological relationships can improve carbon sequestration and increase climate resilience, while lessening the threat of species extinction. She discusses actions that can be taken through policy at all levels of government, and by individuals and community groups. You will find resource slides at the end of the slide show. The slides from the presentation are here.

Deep Dialogue – 9/27/21
Hydrogen and the Clean Energy Transition

We’ve all heard of hydrogen, but did you know there’s green hydrogen (and blue, turquoise, and grey hydrogen)? Did you know that hydrogen may be one of the energy sources to help address the climate crisis and get us to net-zero carbon emissions? Our September ECA Mass Deep Dialogue conversation series focused on the potential role of hydrogen in the clean energy transformation.

We heard from hydrogen expert Brad Bradshaw, president of the Hydrogen Energy Center, a non-profit organization that conducts research and provides educational forums on the application of hydrogen. He explained how the various types of hydrogen are produced, stored, and transported, and emerging applications for renewable hydrogen – and the key role it can play in decarbonizing our economy, particularly in “difficult to electrify” sectors. Brad brought clarity to a complicated and controversial subject, and graciously stayed on for an extended Q&A session after his presentation. If you missed this interesting Deep Dialogue, or want to watch the video again, you can access the recording here. The slides from the presentation are here.

Deep Dialogue – 6/28/21
Nuclear Energy

In environmental discussions Nuclear Energy is often as welcome as a skunk at a picnic. Do we really need it?  Isn’t solar, wind, and storage enough?  What about safety in a world full of malfeasance and incompetence? Don’t waste products lasting millions of years make it a nonstarter? Are the next-generation reactors an improvement? Paul Reisberg of our Research Team took us on a deep dive into Nuclear Energy and its future.

Paul dives into this important and controversial topic along with questions and perspectives from the Deep Dialogue participants. The slides from the presentation are here.

Deep Dialogue – 5/24/21
Forest Protection

Our May 24 Deep Dialogue featured a presentation and Q&A with guests Michael Kellett of RESTORE The North Woods and Janet Sinclair of Concerned Citizens of Franklin County, co-authors of two complementary forest bills we support, H.912 (An Act Relative to Forest Protection) and H.1002 (An Act Relative to Increased Protection of Wildlife Management Areas).That legislation would designate most public lands as parks and reserves that are off-limits to commercial logging and other resource development, protecting almost 9% of the state’s land base.

Deep Dialogue – 4/26/21
Federal Climate Policy

Michael Sales, one of the founding members of ECA Mass, facilitated a Deep Dialogue discussion on April 26, giving us an overview of national climate initiatives and the people in Washington DC who are moving these proposals forward. Guest Anna Lenhart, Senior Legislative Assistant to US Rep. Lori Trahan (Mass 3rd Congressional District), shared her perspectives. (Michael’s introductory remarks, and the discussion with Anna Lenhart, were not recorded.) But you can watch the video of Michael’s illustrated presentation, and the lively Q&A that followed.

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