climate action alerts
A regional resource for Cape & Islands climate advocates
November 17, 2021
Can You Fix Smog Town?
Choose your own climate policy
By Linda Poon and Laura Bliss, Illustrations by Baptiste Virot, Bloomberg CityLab, November 16, 2021

The race to zero is on. Almost 200 countries met at the COP26 climate summit in Glasgow with varied promises to reach net-zero carbon emissions in the coming decades by moving away from fossil fuels and transforming how we move, eat and build. The collective goal is to limit the increase in global temperatures to just 1.5 degrees Celsius from pre-industrial levels, rather than the catastrophic 2.7 degrees that scientists predict.

But just how hard is it for an elected official to get to net zero, and at what cost? What steps truly make an impact? See for yourself in this Bloomberg CityLab game. Will you go down in history as the most popular carbon-neutral leader of all time, or will you
choke on a cloud of smog? Play the game.
How to make radical climate action the new normal?
A TED Talk by climate advocate and Nobel laureate Al Gore

A net-zero future is possible, but first we need to flip a mental switch to truly understand that we can stop the climate crisis if we try, says Nobel laureate Al Gore.

In this inspiring and essential talk, Gore shares examples of extreme climate events (think: fires, floods and atmospheric tsunamis), identifies the man-made systems holding us back from progress and invites us all to join the movement for climate justice: "the biggest emergent social movement in all of history," as he puts it. An unmissable tour de force on the current state of the crisis -- and the transformations that will make it possible to find a way out of it. Watch the video..
Katharine Hayhoe
“Our future is still in our hands”
On Being with Krista Tippett, October 21, 2021

Katharine Hayhoe is one of the most esteemed atmospheric scientists in the world. She’s made her mark by connecting dots between climate systems and weather patterns and the lived experience of human beings in their neighborhoods and communities.

She’s also an ambassador, if you will, between the science of climate change and the world of evangelical Christian faith and practice, which she also inhabits. To delve into that with her is to learn a great deal that refreshingly complicates the picture of what is possible and what is already happening, even across what feel like cultural fault lines. If you want to speak and walk differently on this frontier, this is a conversation for you. Listen to the podcast.
Can a Carbon-Emitting Iron Ore Tycoon Save the Planet?
Andrew Forrest made a mining fortune. Now he wants to lead a climate change revolution — and beat the fossil fuel giants along the way.
By Damien Cave, The New York Times, October 16, 2021

CLOUDBREAK, Australia — Standing at the foot of a diesel truck as large as a dinosaur, Andrew Forrest juggled the microphone and then delivered the message that he knew the miners might see as a threat to their jobs and identities.

It was time to go green. Read more.
Missed the Net Zero 2021 Virtual Conference on 10/29?
You may log in or register for the first time through November 30 to view the recorded sessions at your leisure! Click here.
COP26: What was agreed at the Glasgow climate conference?
A new global agreement - the Glasgow Climate Pact - was reached at the COP26 summit. It aims to reduce the worst impacts of climate change - but some leaders and campaigners say it does not go far enough.
BBC News, November 15, 2021

What was in the COP26 agreement? The agreement - although not legally binding - will set the global agenda on climate change for the next decade:

It was agreed countries will meet next year to pledge further cuts to emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) - a greenhouse gas which causes climate change.

This is to try to keep temperature rises within 1.5C - which scientists say is required to prevent a "climate catastrophe". Current pledges, if met, will only limit global warming to about 2.4C. Read more.
White House, intelligence agencies, Pentagon issue reports warning that climate change threatens global security
By Shane Harris and Michael Birnbaum, The Washington Post, October 21, 2021

As the United States and nations around the world struggle to blunt the effects of rising temperatures and extreme weather, sweeping assessments released Thursday by the White House, the U.S. intelligence community and the Pentagon conclude that climate change will exacerbate long-standing threats to global security.
The firms that help keep oil flowing
By Hiroko Tabuchi, The New York Times, October 13, 2021

The energy industry is under increasing pressure from environmental groups, the courts and even its own shareholders to start shifting away from fossil fuels. As it sheds some of its dirtiest assets, they’re ending up in the hands of private equity firms.

New research shows the scale of those investments. Since 2010, the private equity industry has invested at least $1.1 trillion into the energy sector — double the combined market value of three of the world’s largest energy companies, Exxon, Chevron and Royal Dutch Shell. Only about 12 percent of investment in the energy sector by private equity firms went into renewable power, like solar or wind, since 2010, though those investments have grown at a faster rate.
The Commonwealth
These images show what Boston landmarks will look like underwater depending on the climate choices we make
By Sabrina Shankman, The Boston Globe, October 12, 2021

In its lifetime, Boston Common has seen grazing cattle, public hangings, and protests against slavery and wars. It has seen visits from the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and Pope John Paul II and the everyday gatherings of families and friends. And someday — depending on the choices made in the next few years — it could see the rising waters of the Charles River, as sea levels rise from climate change and swallow the historic landmark. Read more and view the images.
Collapsed roads, flooded basements, submerged cars: Flood risk growing in New England
By Hadley Barndollar, USA TODAY NETWORK, October 11, 2021
If a major flood happened tomorrow, hundreds of thousands of homes, commercial buildings, roads and critical infrastructure across New England are at risk of damage, according to a new report by the First Street Foundation. And the dangers are only expected to grow over the next 30 years. 

First Street's "Infrastructure on the Brink" report, released Oct. 11, is thought to be the first ever nationwide assessment of flooding vulnerability. The report looks at how flooding impacts society as a whole, gauging not only risk for homes and businesses, but also roads and critical infrastructure, like hospitals and power plants, and social infrastructure, like schools and churches. Read more.
Massachusetts vastly underestimates emissions from natural gas, study finds
By David Abel, The Boston Globe, October 25, 2021

The state is vastly underestimating the amount of local pollution from methane, the primary component of natural gas and among the most potent of the greenhouse gases that causes climate change, according to a significant new study.

The long-term study, released Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, found six times more methane leaking into the air around the Boston area than the most recent estimate issued three years ago by the state Department of Environmental Protection. Read more.
Municipal light plants facing clean energy requirements partner with offshore wind developer
By Colin A. Young, State House News Service, October 14, 2021

About half of the municipally-owned electric utilities in Massachusetts would be in position to buy clean power generated by the proposed Commonwealth Wind offshore energy development if other utility executives select it to be the state's third offshore wind project.

Through a "first-in-the-nation partnership" that Vineyard Wind announced Wednesday with Energy New England, 20 municipal light plants (MLPs) in Massachusetts would have the ability to annually purchase up to 146,000 megawatt-hours of the cleaner power generated by the developer's proposed Commonwealth Wind project in addition to renewable energy credits. Read more.
Baker breathes new life into offshore wind energy incentives
By Doug Fraser, Cape Cod Times, October 14, 2021
BOSTON — In his keynote address to the American Clean Power Association’s Offshore Wind Conference, Gov. Charlie Baker announced significant changes to the state’s next round of energy contract bids.
“We're ensuring that Massachusetts retains its leading edge position in the offshore wind policy debate in the US by proposing to, among other things, remove the price cap on project proposals to ensure that projects have the flexibility to incorporate storage, improve reliability, and offer greater economic development is part of their bids,” Baker told the hundreds of offshore wind energy advocates and industry people gathered in the Omni Seaport Hotel ballroom Wednesday afternoon. Read more.
Around Town / Climate Action Networks
Falmouth Climate Action Network community volunteers are hard at work promoting community education and pro-climate policy initiatives.

  • Falmouth Climate Action Network (FalCAN) volunteers are providing town elected officials with data that supports the hiring of a full-time sustainability director. The team has also researched models for positions employed in Acton, Amesbury, Brookline, Concord, Martha's Vineyard, and Natick, including roles and responsibilities, salary ranges, and climate/coastal resiliency, economic and health benefits to the community. FalCAN welcomes input from other Cape Cod towns contemplating a similar sustainability position.

FalCAN also recently hosted a free public virtual screening of the film, David Attenborough: A Life in Our Time. The highly acclaimed film highlights the urgency of the need to act on climate change, and provides a message of hope for future generations.

Email for more information on these and other initiatives.
Energy & The Built Environment
Take time to act on behalf of Offshore Wind!
The Mayflower Wind project needs our support!

On November 1, the US Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) initiated a 30-day public comment period to scope out what issues to consider in the federal regulatory review of Mayflower Wind’s Construction and Operations Plan (COP).

BOEM has published its Notice of Intent in the Federal Register, and will hold its last virtual scoping meeting on Thursday, November 19 where oral comments can be delivered up to 5:00 pm. Written comments may be delivered through the month of November up to December 1. Learn more about the pubic comment period here.

BOEM’s online portal, where written comments can be filed, is here: (Search for Docket No. BOEM-2021-0062, click on the
o“Comment Now!” button to the right of the document link, enter your comment and information, and then click “Submit.”) For more information about the BOEM process, please visit
Offshore wind is the present and future of green energy. If you are able, please offer a support comment to be included in the BOEM record, which will help ensure that the project receives a favorable and timely review. Download a Q&A about the project with Faith Communities Environmental Network co-chair Susan Starkey and Mayflower Wind community liaison officer Kelsey Perry.  
Education & Events
Boston Globe Climate Week
November 15 – 19
Virtual, free

Following the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) in Glasgow, Scotland, The Boston Globe hosts a series of events focusing on climate change and its impact on our region. Sign up below to explore the realities of climate change in New England, featuring thought leadership on how to implement a more sustainable future for the region. Globe journalists will interview climate leaders and noted experts like Bill McKibben in solutions-based and action-focused discussions. Learn more.
Cape Cod Commission's Climate Ambassador Program

The Climate Ambassador Program is an initiative to educate, engage and empower young people on Cape Cod to work together to combat climate change. The Program is intended for students in grades 9-12 who would like to develop a better understanding of climate change, learn how to communicate effectively about climate, and learn what actions can be taken individually and collectively to bring about change.

Selected students will participate in virtual meetings, where they will learn about and discuss a variety of climate-related subjects, including local and global climate causes and impacts, carbon reduction strategies, resiliency planning, and equity considerations. Students will have a chance to show off their creativity with a small project demonstrating how they can have a personal impact on climate change at home or in their school communities. Learn more.
How to Talk about Climate Change (Even During a Pandemic)
A Coastal Training Program Webinar* presented by the Waquoit Bay Coastal Training Program
November 30, 2021
10:30am - 12:00 Noon

Do you want to gain confidence in talking about climate change issues? Join us to learn about strategic framing - a research-based approach to communication that engages audiences in thinking productively about how they can participate in creating or supporting climate change solutions. Today discussion about climate change is all around us. Yet, the depth and complexity of the topic can sometimes make communicating about it challenging.
Whether in a professional setting or at the kitchen table we could all benefit from learning expert tips on how to do this better. Learn more.
*Professional Development Credits are available upon request.
Confused by climate change jargon? A quick guide to 7 common terms
By Wändi Bruine de Bruin, PhD, Ideas.Ted.Com, November 12, 2021 

With major UN climate conference COP26 underway, you’ve probably been seeing a lot of jargon tossed around — terms like “mitigation”, “carbon neutral” and “sustainable development”. And this language can be overwhelming and confusing.

“It sounds like you’re talking over people,” one person said of the terminology during a recent study that colleagues and I conducted through the USC Dornsife Public Exchange. Because climate reports are often written at a scientific level, we thought it would be helpful to clarify some of the vocabulary. Read more.
Waste & Recycling
Methane is a major focus on the Hill, at the EPA and in Glasgow
By Maxine Joselow with research by Alexandra Ellerbeck, The Washington Post, October 22, 2021

For decades, policymakers have been laser-focused on reducing emissions of carbon dioxide, the most abundant planet-warming gas in the Earth’s atmosphere.

Not anymore. Methane emissions are set to become a defining issue on Capitol Hill, at the Environmental Protection Agency and at an upcoming United Nations climate summit in Scotland next week. Read more.
Plastic industry pollution to overtake coal in US by 2030, report says
Supply chain for plastic production is rife with carbon emissions.
By Tim De Chant, ArsTechnica, October 24, 2021

Plastic pollution usually conjures images of grocery bags blowing in the wind or nurdles lodged in a seabird’s stomach. But soon, plastic pollution may take on another meaning, as a new report forecasts that the industry’s greenhouse gas emissions in the US will outpace those of coal by the end of the decade. Read more.
Investing, Finance, The Economy
White House Issues Roadmap for Creating a Climate-Resilient Economy
ABA Banking Journal, October 15, 2021

The White House issued a 40-page report yesterday titled, “A Roadmap to Build a Climate-Resilient Economy.” It lays out, in broad terms, the Biden administration’s view that the health of the U.S. economy is intrinsically linked to climate change and that climate change poses a systemic risk to both the economy and the financial system.

The report argues that the federal government has an important role to play in setting a floor for voluntary, regulatory and public management action to protect the country’s fiscal well-being. In taking this action, the government will be guided by five primary principles: safeguarding the financial system; protecting the government’s fiscal health; protecting vulnerable and disadvantaged communities; mobilizing public and private financing for decarbonization; and demonstrating global leadership. Read more
Big Banks Haven't Quit Fossil Fuel, With $4 Trillion Since Paris
JPMorgan, Citigroup and Bank of America have earned the most fees from the oil, gas and coal industries.
By Tasneem Hanfi Brogger and Alastair Marsh, Bloomberg Green, October 25, 2021, 
As executives from JPMorgan Chase & Co., Citigroup Inc., Deutsche Bank AG and other lenders prepare for the most important UN climate summit in six years, their companies continue to help provide almost as much money for fossil fuels as for green projects. Read more.
Can we make beer that is easier on the earth?
By Laura Parker, Senior Reporter, National Geographic, October 19, 2021

From start to finish, brewing beer is environmentally unfriendly. A single eight-ounce glass of beer takes about 20 gallons of water to produce. The brewing process requires large amounts of electricity—to heat hot water and steam and then for refrigeration.

Then there’s glass and aluminum for containers and plastic and cardboard for packaging.
But don’t despair. Read more.
Faith in Action
UU Falmouth and St. Barnabas Church concludes remarkable 8-part Cape Cod Climate Emergency and Eco-Justice Seminar Series
Running monthly from March through November, last session focuses on youth and climate activism

UU Falmouth’s Whole Life Learning and Social and Environmental Action Committees recently concluded its months-long Cape Cod Climate Emergency and Eco-Justice Seminar series. The series was co-sponsored and led with St. Barnabas Church in collaboration with the Cape Cod Climate Change Collaborative's Faith Communities Environmental Network. An enormous body of work organized by citizen volunteers, the series is remarkable in its breadth, scope and professionalism.

The Zoom webinar sessions, open and free to the public, were designed to share knowledge and best practices around topics ranging from reducing one's carbon footprint at home, to eating for the planet, to eco-just investing and how to make renewable energy changes at home. Running from March to November, the sessions included:

  1. Introduction to Climate Emergency & Eco-Justice
  2. Climate and Eco-Justice Progress and Opportunity
  3. Deciding Where You Can Make the Biggest Difference
  4. Shifting to Renewable Energy at Home and on the Road
  5. Changing Habits for Earth- Consumption, Eating, and Disposing
  6. Eco-Just Financial Investing
  7. Bringing Back Native and Natural Outdoor Space
  8. Kids and Youth for Climate: For Children, Youth, their Families and Empowerers

For more information about this series, contact Lew Stern at or 617-759-7060.


We are an all-volunteer 501(c)(3) organization whose mission is to reach carbon neutrality or net zero on Cape Cod and the Islands of Massachusetts by enhancing communication, collaboration, and activism among organizations, programs, and individuals committed to mitigating the climate crisis. We depend upon the generosity of our stakeholders to conduct our work. All donations are tax deductible as allowed by law.
The Climate Action Alerts newsletter is curated and crafted by Fran Schofield. If you've got a climate story from your home, school, workplace, town or organization, please be in touch! And don't forget to share this action alert with your friends and suggest they subscribe here.