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 09

Gov. Patrick Calls for a Future Free of Fossil Fuels

Last Friday, after months of campaigning, Better Future Project / 350 Massachusetts and our partners at Students for a Just and Stable Future sat down with Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick to discuss his remarkable climate record and our call for him to further build upon it by banning the worst, building only the best, and beginning to price the rest. 

We decided to focus our energies on Governor Patrick because he has been such a strong leader on climate change, having made clean energy and climate action a cornerstone of his administration and having led the nation with policies around energy efficiency and clean energy.

Once again, just a week after our meeting, Governor Patrick has stepped up to the plate on climate change: while speaking today at the commencement ceremony of the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, he referenced “heat waves, coastal flooding, intense precipitation and more extreme storms” and invoked a “future free of fossil fuels.”  Excitingly, he also called for Massachusetts to “finally end all reliance on conventional coal generation” within the next four years. 
gov patrick speech meme 3

 We honor leaders who take bold action in difficult times. By calling for a clean energy future that moves beyond all fossil fuel usage, Governor Patrick has shown himself to be a leader willing to take on the crisis of climate change — starting with an end to coal. It’s clear that our efforts to advance the conversation around climate change in Massachusetts are already paying off.

And with our support, Governor Patrick is not just changing the conversation around climate change, but translating that talk into action. Among other things, the Governor announced a new Clean Energy Standard, which would favor efficiency and zero-emissions energy sources like solar and wind over fossil fuels, and put an end to “high-emissions sources” like coal.

We are still in conversations with the Governor’s office about the rest of our platform, but I hope you share my enthusiasm for this major step forward to a clean energy future.

Many groups and people share this victory: environment and public health groups and frontline communities, among others, have pushed for changes like this for years. But I believe that our grassroots movement-building was instrumental in making this possible. When you unite people across the state around a common purpose and a clear strategy, you can accomplish great things.

So take some time to grab a drink with a friend, jump in the air, or just pat yourself on the back. Remember this feeling: we will need this reminder about the power of grassroots organizing when the odds are against us and the situation looks grim. For today, let’s celebrate!

Onward and upward,

Craig S. Altemose

Better Future Project Executive Director

P.S.: We just put this meme on Facebook announcing the news. Share it far and wide!

May 02

Update from Our Meeting with Gov. Patrick!

Craig Altemose, Carolyn Barthel and Christian Roselund from 350MA / Better Future Project and Alli Welton and Ben Thompson from Students for a Just and Stable Future just met with Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick to discuss the Climate Legacy campaign platform!

Here’s a message from Craig about the meeting:

“ Along with 350MA volunteer leaders and our partners at Students for a Just and Stable Future, I just met with Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick about our Climate Legacy Campaign platform: Ban the Worst (coal, tar sands, and fracking), Build Only the Best (no new fossil fuel infrastructure in the state), and Begin to Price the Rest (create an inclusive process to evaluate a carbon tax for the state).

This meeting was only possible because of the relentless engagement of volunteer leaders who protested coal at Shut Down Brayton Point and championed wind at the Energy Exodus, who built up strong nodes across the state, who made countless phone calls and wrote countless e-mails to the Governor’s office, and who helped us show 400 beautiful faces in opposition to the proposed Salem Gas Plant.

Governor Patrick was receptive to some of our ideas and skeptical of others. But he clearly recognized the power of our grassroots movement, and there seemed to be a shared commitment from both sides to move forward on areas of agreement and make the best of the Governor’s remaining time in office.

There will be much to be excited about; at the same time, we should expect that we will not achieve everything we set out to achieve in the campaign through this meeting. But that does not mean we will be giving up on anything, either.

We have been told to expect another meeting with the Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs within the next week and are going to begin moving forward on areas of agreement on the inside as we continue to build public support for our work on the outside.

Among other things, we’ll need to keep a close eye – and a willingness to act – on Salem, where construction is expect to start soon on the proposed gas plant.

We could not have made it this far – and we will make it no farther – without you. Over 50 organizations have signed on to our letter to endorse the Climate Legacy Campaign.

We’re hoping to have that number increase to 100 by the time we meet next with the Governor. Please sign on organizations or have them sign up through this form. (If you’d like to endorse the campaign as an individual, sign here. If you’d like to endorse the campaign as a faith leader, sign here.)

And thanks, everyone — we’re making history!

Craig”

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