January 2023 Newsletter
In this Issue
  • Save the Date!
  • Virtual Statewide Climate Rally, Wed. Jan. 11, 12-1:00 PM
  • Legislative Team Prepares to Hit the Ground Running
  • MA Wind Power Faces Headwinds
  • Do You Know the Best Ways to Shrink Your Carbon Footprint?
  • MA Youth Climate Coalition Seeks Mentors
  • Third Act's Banking on Our Future Campaign
  • What We're Watching: Bill McKibben - "Brief but SPECTACULAR"
Climate Inaugural Rally
Legislative Update January 2023
Your Legislative Team Prepares to Hit the Ground Running
The ECA Mass Legislative Team has been brainstorming and reorganizing to maximize the effectiveness of our legislative advocacy in the coming year and to take on the challenge of monitoring and accelerating the Healey administration’s implementation of the Roadmap and Wind/Climate bills passed last legislative session. We have formed sector-specific work groups to focus on decarbonization of buildings, transportation, energy, natural solutions, budget issues, and the development of a Green Bank. The work groups already are laying plans to advance their goals.
The team will support the work groups by:
●    Identifying new approaches to advocacy aimed at expediting the development and implementation of climate regulations
●    Advocating for the swift establishment of state programs required to advance climate goals
●    Organizing information on relevant bills filed this session
●    Improving collaboration with our allies in the climate movement, and
●    Increasing the engagement of our general membership in legislative action
We are also sponsoring a team of master’s students from the Wagner School of Public Service at New York University to interview Massachusetts legislators and climate movement leaders to identify new means to increase our influence on legislation and to advance our collaboration with our allies.
The opportunities provided by recent state and federal legislation and the arrival of an administration that promises progressive action on climate issues should make this an exciting and rewarding time to be advocating for our climate goals.
If you have been thinking about stepping up your involvement in ECA Mass legislative action, NOW is a great time to explore the many options to get engaged. Whether you have a few hours per month or even more time, we need your help. Contact Roger Luckmann (roger.luckmann@umassmed.edu) to learn more about the opportunities.
MA Wind Power Faces Headwinds
Our state’s commitment to achieving a carbon neutral economy by 2050 absolutely depends on the emergence of a vast and efficient offshore wind industry. Massachusetts has tremendous wind capacity, along with higher consistent wind speeds – both critical to wind power – according to Susannah Hatch, leader of the New England for OffShore Wind Coalition (NE4OSW). Hatch points out that our demographics and geography mean that offshore wind will have a bigger role to play in our region than elsewhere.

While no MA offshore wind farms are currently generating power, Vineyard Wind 1’s 800MW farm will come online in 2023 and power 400,000 homes by the end of 2024. This is promising, but offshore wind also faces big hurdles. Avangrid, the parent company of Commonwealth Wind, recently petitioned the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities to withdraw from existing contracts and receive a higher price for its wind. While probably not fatal, this could create a major delay in the plan to bring Commonwealth Wind online this year to power 750,000 homes.

In addition, the New England Transmission Owners (NETO) submitted comments to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), asserting that New England’s harsh winters and the price hikes due to Russia’s war put the region’s fuel security in jeopardy, which is dependent on international LNG shipments. NETO also said it will be years before clean energy programs can reduce the region’s dependence on fossil fuels, and we need near-term solutions that can remain in place until clean energy is reliably available. NETO’s key recommendation? Expand interstate pipeline capacity for natural gas and/or increase regional LNG storage. And here’s a fun fact: $334 billion is a rough estimate of the assets held by the five companies that constitute NETO.

This is all playing against the backdrop of several factors: Massachusetts winters can be rough; the carbon polluters want to expand their infrastructure; offshore wind is in its infancy in the US; interest rates are skyrocketing; the state has a big stake in wind; climate change is accelerating. The situation is dicey.

ECA Massachusetts is part of the NE4OSW Coalition. Its 37 member organizations from Massachusetts represent environmental NGOs, labor unions, academics, and businesses. This regional alliance plays a crucial role in advocating for progressive wind policy and the education of the public needed to bring offshore wind online ASAP and in the education of the public.
In general, the Coalition agrees that the spike in inflation and interest rates support increasing the prices to be paid for wind energy. The price may go up, but wind will be cheaper than carbon-based energy in any scenario, once the externalities of carbon are factored into the equation. While it is aligned with governmental policy makers, the Coalition is like a David facing the Goliath of carbon-based energy providers. ECA is backing David.
-- Michael Sales
Do You Know the Best Ways to
Shrink Your Carbon Footprint?
I don’t think you can care about the planet and climate without also wondering about personal behaviors that may contribute to these troubles. For years I have avoided disposable plastic ball point pens, simply because I knew they would exist for millennia in some landfill. I recycle my running shoes. I drive an EV. I am a vegetarian who grows much of his own food. But which of these actions, and others like them, make a difference? And which ones make the biggest difference?
A recent New York Times opinion piece (Dec 15, 2022) explored this topic, and I recommend you take their survey. The article makes a strong case for fighting misconceptions that have been intentionally promoted by some business interests. For example, recycling has long been championed by plastic (and petrochemical) manufacturers; the article points out that the fossil fuel industry has spent billions on advertisements telling people to recycle. However, a large proportion of plastic items can’t be reused or remanufactured and so end up in landfills. Many Americans also confuse the benefits of recycling (less pollution) with the potential to address climate change.
Which of the findings stood out to me? Does growing my own food or driving an EV or refusing plastic containers really make a difference? The article focuses on a dozen common actions familiar to us all.
Biggest impact:
·        Living car free
·        Using renewable electricity
·        Avoiding a long flight
·        Eating a vegan diet
Moderate impact:
·        Installing heat pumps
·        Eating a vegetarian diet
·        Eating organic food
Small impact:
·        Buying fewer things
·        Lowering the room temperature
·        Using energy-efficient appliances
·        Car-pooling
·        Recycling
I hope that through my actions I may make some small difference or at least be a good example for my grandchildren. However, I also know that my biggest impact on the future climate comes through my participation in an advocacy group like ECA Massachusetts. Remember Margaret Mead’s advice: “Never underestimate the power of a small group of committed people to change the world. In fact, it is the only thing that ever has.”

-- Rick Lent 
MA Youth Climate Coalition Seeks Mentors
For February Lobby Week
Third Act's Banking on our Future Campaign
Elders Climate Action is ALL IN on encouraging our members to TAKE MONEY OUT of financial institutions that finance fossil fuel infrastructure. That’s why we will be supporting Third Act’s Banking on our Future campaign this winter. 
Without the trillions of dollars of financing from the nation’s biggest banks, the Fossil Fuel industry could not continue to build fracking wells, gas terminals, and pipelines at a time when rapid decarbonization is required. We, as older Americans who possess a relatively large share of the nation’s savings and retirement accounts, can help change the banks’ behavior, but we must act in unison, and with clear purpose.
Third Act is organizing a campaign to get the largest culprits – Chase, Citibank, Bank of America, and Wells Fargo – to stop the money pipeline. First, individuals write letters to tell their banks to stop the loans to the fossil fuel industry. If they don’t, we will remove our funds from those institutions on March 21, 2023, to make the loudest statement possible! 
To learn more about the campaign, and to access letter templates to send to your bank, and a toolkit of other actions you can take, please visit the campaign website: https://thirdact.org/our-work/banking-on-our-future/
What We're Watching
Bill McKibben
"Brief but SPECTACULAR" on PBS New Hour

You won't want to miss McKibben's "brief but spectacular" video about Third Act and fighting for the climate and our democracy. Only four minutes. 
This Newsletter is Published for Members and Friends of the
Elders Climate Action - Massachusetts Chapter
ECA Massachusetts is a chapter of the national Elders Climate Action. We are a movement of elders committed to making our voices heard... to change our nation's policies while there is still time to avoid catastrophic changes in the Earth's climate. Visit the ECA Massachusetts website, event calendar, and Facebook page to learn more about our chapter's activities and climate news. JOIN ECA MASSACHUSETTS AND STAY CONNECTED! Subscribe to our monthly newsletter, and for more active participation, sign up to receive Action Alerts and meeting announcements. Fill out our subscription form.