Jul 21

Join the Divestment Vigils at the State House

S.1225_lobby-day_6-19-2013.181910We’ve fought long and hard to make Massachusetts the first state in the nation to divest from fossil fuels, and we’ve made remarkable progress. Unfortunately, with the legislative session ending on July 31st, it’s looking unlikely that the legislature will pass the divestment bill this session. But there’s still hope: a modified version of the bill would create a commission to study divestment, potentially giving a huge boost to the bill when it is re-filed during the next legislative session.

350MA will be gathering solemnly for a rolling vigil at the State House to urge legislators to create the commission and move forward on divestment.

Register here to join us! If you can’t attend the vigil, help us build support for divestment by making calls — more details here.

WHAT: Divestment vigils at the State House
WHEN: Tue, July 22-Thu, July 2410am-4 pm
WHERE: MA State House, 24 Beacon St

Jul 17

Join Us for the People’s Climate March!

On May 21, Rolling Stone Magazine published Bill McKibben’s article, “A Call to Arms: An Invitation to Demand Action on Climate Change“.  The article announced a climate march in New York City on September 20 and 21, to coincide with the United Nations Climate Summit.  Massachusetts accepts the invitation!

The march in New York City may be the largest action ever to demand a response to the climate crisis.  In addition to being large, the march will bring focus to the climate crisis as a global issue that must be addressed in concert by all nations. The march will be especially impactful with the memory of Superstorm Sandy still in our minds and the minds of our hosts in the New York area.

Massachusetts participation in the march will be a call to:Screen Shot 2014-07-02 at 4.35.26 PM

  • The U.S. and nations of the world to act in concert and aggressively
  • The Commonwealth of Massachusetts to be an example of leadership
  • Local and global communities to care for those who suffer the impacts of climate change, including New York City refugees from SuperStorm Sandy who are still in temporary housing and all people impacted by the use of fossil fuels.

There are many details to be worked out, but you can expect a large contingent from Massachusetts to be there. The Massachusetts contingent will join with others from across the nation and around the world.  With support from you and others, this will be an event that changes the course of history.

If you’re planning to attend the march as a participant, please fill out the registration form for your region by clicking the links below. Not sure which area to register for? Click here to see a map.

Boston area: register here People's climate march meme
Cambridge area: register here
Metrowest area: register here
Cape Cod and the Islands: register here
Worcester: register here
Pioneer Valley: register here
Berkshires: register here
South Shore: register here
North Shore: register here
Lowell: register here
Rhode Island: register here

 

Plus: if you’re interested in helping with planning, logistics, and outreach, please fill out our volunteer interest form.

Jun 30

It’s Time to Ban Tar Sands!

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The horrors of the tar sands are familiar by now: poisoned water, clear-cut forests, broken treaties with First Nations peoples, and staggering levels of carbon pollution. That’s why it’s outrageous — almost unbelievable — that by 2020, 11-18% of Massachusetts’ oil could come from the tar sands. As part of the Climate Legacy Campaign, we have been calling on Governor Patrick to ban tar sands oil. On July 13th, Governor Patrick will meet with his peers at the New England Governors’ Conference. Together, they could implement a regional Clean Fuels Standard to ban tar sands oil from New England entirely. We are staging a People’s Conference to tell them to follow the will of the people and ban tar sands now!
WHAT: People’s Conference and Speak Out
WHEN: 12PM, July 13th
WHERE: Bretton Woods, New Hampshire
Register here to let us know you are coming so we can coordinate transportation!

Jun 28

Unitarian Universalist General Assembly Votes Overwhelmingly in Favor of Fossil Fuel Divestment

Unitarian Universalist Association votes overwhelmingly in favor of fossil fuel divestment at their General Assembly on June 28th, 2014.

Unitarian Universalist Association votes overwhelmingly in favor of fossil fuel divestment at their General Assembly on June 28th, 2014.

Today in Providence, Rhode Island the Unitarian Universalist General Assembly voted overwhelmingly in favor of fossil fuel divestment. The Unitarian Universalist Association is the second faith group to divest from fossil fuels on the national level in the U.S. The United Church of Christ voted to divest nationally last year.

The campaign was led by Terri Wiggins of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Many 350 Massachusetts members contributed through voting and campaigning, including Darcy DuMont, 350 Massachusetts State Divestment Coordinator, Jean Foster of Cambridge Node, Carolyn and Rand Barthel of Worcester Node, Evan Seitz of Fossil Free Somerville, and Tim DeChristopher of Divest Harvard.

The Unitarian Universalist Association represents over 1,000 churches around the United States. The resolution encourages individual congregations to divest as well. In Massachusetts six UU congregations have divested: more than any other state. As with all divestment wins this will help other campaigns including the campaign to make Massachusetts the first state to divest from fossil fuels.

The Unitarian Universalist Association provided this press release on their website.

 

 

Jun 24

Check Out Our Newest Report!

cover imageBetter Future Project / 350 Massachusetts released a new report today showing that methane leakage increases the climate impact of natural gas consumed in Massachusetts by as much as 172%, adding dramatically to the state’s overall greenhouse gas emissions.

The new report reviews the latest scientific literature and finds that, over a 100-year timescale, methane leaks adds 34-68% to the greenhouse gas emissions from the use of natural gas. Evaluated over 20 years, methane leakage adds 86-172% to the greenhouse gas emissions from natural gas. Natural gas pipelines, plants and drilling wells leak methane, which is a much more powerful greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide when leaked directly into the atmosphere. Methane stays in the atmosphere for fewer years than does carbon dioxide, so its greenhouse gas impact is greater over 20 years than over 100 years. There is no scientific consensus as to which time period is more relevant for evaluating the potentially disastrous impacts of climate change on the planet.

The report also finds that fully accounting for methane leaks would raise overall statewide greenhouse gas emissions in Massachusetts by 10 to 25% — an amount which negates much of the state’s emissions reduction efforts over the last decade and threatens to push the state’s legally mandated 2020 emissions reduction target of 25% below 1990 levels out of reach.

Many federal and state agencies, including the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection, rely on out-dated or inaccurate estimates for methane leakage. Because Massachusetts, like many New England states, is highly dependent on natural gas, properly accounting for methane leaks has a dramatic impact on the state’s overall emissions profile.

The state’s consumption of natural gas has grown by more than 30% since 2000,  and natural gas power plants within Massachusetts provide around around 68% of all the electricity consumed in-state. Fracked gas, which is associated with higher methane emissions, makes up a rapidly increasing proportion of the region’s gas supply.

You can read the full report here. When you have a moment, be sure to congratulate the 350 Massachusetts policy team on their incredible work!

The report was co-sponsored by Toxics Action Center, Students for a Just and Stable Future and the Climate Action Liaison Coalition.

Jun 16

Tell ISO-NE: No Backroom Deals for Fossil Fuel Companies!

salem-harbor-power-plant-e1393017684979-638x425When the controversial new gas plant in Salem was first proposed, the New England grid operator told Footprint Power that they would need to open the plant by June 2016 or face steep fines. The president of Footprint Power has admitted that the company will miss the deadline and now he expects the New England grid operator, which is known as ISO-NE, to cut a deal and waive the fines. Click here to sign our letter to ISO-NE and tell them not to make a backroom deal with Footprint Power! Instead of bending over backwards for fossil fuel companies, ISO-NE should find ways to meet new electricity demand through wind, solar, geothermal, small-scale hydropower, efficiency, and conservation.

Mark your calendars: Better Future Project, 350 Massachusetts, and our partners on the North Shore are organizing a major mobilization against the Salem plant on August 17th. It won’t be easy, but we’re determined to stop this plant in its tracks.

Jun 03

Salem Gas Plant Successfully Delayed!

The CEO of Footprint Power, the owner of the proposed natural gas plant in Salem, has admitted that the plant will not be completed by June 2016. This is huge news: if the plant is not done by June 2016, the owners will face huge fines from ISO-New England, which operates the regional electric grid. The delay throws the entire future of the plant into question; it seems that Footprint still hasn’t secured all of the financing for the plant, and if they can’t guarantee that the plant will be finished on time, it will be difficult for them to find investors. Scott Silverstein, the Footprint CEO, attributes the delay to grassroots opposition, especially the legal appeals filed by our partners on the North Shore. Let’s keep the pressure on and stop this plant!

May 20

More Divestment: Unitarian Society of Northampton and Florence

unitarian-society-northampton-300x234The congregation of the Unitarian Society of Northampton and Florence on May 19, 2014 voted at its annual meeting to divest its endowment of fossil fuel stocks within five years. The resolution, which was supported by the board of trustees and by an overwhelming majority of the congregation in attendance, had been the focus of many meetings and discussions at the society over the past months.

The decision at Unitarian Society of Northampton and Florence comes just one day after a similar decision at First Religious Society of Newburyport.  These two congregations join other Unitarian Universalist Congregations in deciding to divest, including First Parish of Cambridge, Unitarian Universalist Society of Amherst, and First Parish in Hingham (known as “Old Ship of Hingham”). Among other faith communities that have passed divestment resolutions are United Church of Christ, which has decided to divest nationally, and the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts.

Read more about this divestment in the Hampshire Daily Gazette.

May 20

First Religious Society of Newburyport Votes to Divest

First Religious Society of NewburyportOn Sunday, May 18, First Religious Society of Newburyport voted in favor of a resolution calling for divestment of fossil fuel stocks from its holdings. The vote followed emotional discussion, but ultimately passed with the support of the the Minister, Harold Babcock, and only one vote against. The vote is a major milestone in the congregation’s year-long exploration of divestment.

First Religious Society of Newburyport joins with other Massachusetts Unitarian Universalist Congregations in deciding to divest, including First Parish of Cambridge, Unitarian Universalist Society of Amherst, and First Parish in Hingham (known as “Old Ship of Hingham”).  Among other faith communities that have passed divestment resolutions are United Church of Christ, which has decided to divest nationally, and the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts.  The nationwide body, Unitarian Universalist Association, will consider divestment at its annual convention in June in Providence RI.

First Religious Society of Newburyport now plans to share its experience with other congregations to encourage divestment.  Outreach by First Religious Society of Newburyport coincides with the formation of the North Shore Divestment Network, which has formed to support communities in their exploration of divestment.

May 16

Fossil Fuel Divestment Movement Sweeps MA as Three More Towns Vote in Favor of Divestment

framingham town meeting 2At town meetings in the last 10 days, three Massachusetts towns have approved resolutions calling for divestment from fossil fuels!  The resolutions call on the towns and the State of Massachusetts to confront the climate crisis and take a stand against fossil fuel companies by withdrawing funds from fossil fuel investments.

On the evening of Thursday, May 15, Framingham approved a divestment resolution. The vote in Framingham is especially significant because Framingham is the most populous municipality in the nation with a town-meeting form of government. Sudbury approved a divestment resolution on Wednesday, May 7, as did Concord on Tuesday, May 6. Framingham, Sudbury, and Concord join other towns that have also approved divestment resolutions: Amherst, Cambridge, Northampton, Provincetown, and Truro.

Ken Weiss, who introduced the divestment resolution at Framingham Town Meeting said, “We have a responsibility to do everything we can to confront the climate crisis. Tonight, the Town of Framingham sends a message that it is time to transition to a future beyond fossil fuels.”

“Divestment is a proven strategy that has been used effectively to solve large-scale problems when other solutions were being blocked”, said Bob Lawson, who presented the resolution in Concord, “ Vested interests are blocking climate solutions. This is not about starving the fossil fuel companies of funds; this is about mobilizing the grassroots to counter their political power.”

“The climate crisis is highly urgent, and our entire society has been thwarted by political power of the fossil fuel industry. Now we are using divestment to push back. The town of Sudbury has taken a great step, and we also call on the State of Massachusetts to divest the pension fund,” said Bob Morrison, and resident of Sudbury.

Towns are not the only ones driving the divestment movement in Massachusetts. Faith organizations, such as the United Church of Christ, Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts, and individual Unitarian Universalist congregations have also approved divestment resolutions. Massachusetts legislation, known as S.1225, proposed by Senator Downing of Pittsfield would divest the State’s pension fund.  Earlier this month, students from across the University of Massachusetts system recently met with the system president, Robert L. Caret, to discuss divestment.

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