June 2022 Newsletter - Corrected
In this Issue
  • ECA Mass Volunteers Needed
  • Save the Date!
  • Massachusetts Climate Bills: Help Continue Our Advocacy!
  • Update on Federal Legislation & Executive Action - It's Now or Never
  • Focus on Forest Protection
  • Green Banks: Financing Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation
  • Metropolitan Area Planning Council's Heat Week
  • Larry Rosenberg Lecture Series Announced
  • What We're Reading: Under a White Sky: The Nature of the Future by Elizabeth Kolbert
ECA Mass Volunteers Needed:
Renew Your Energy and Recharge Our Work!
ECA Massachusetts is a 100% volunteer organization. We punch above our weight by taking advantage of the myriad talents and skills that we, as elders, have accumulated over lifetimes of work and child-rearing. And, of course, many of us as retirees have more time to devote to the causes we feel passionate about!
There are always opportunities for you to share your passion and skills by volunteering at Elders Climate Action. As we try to expand our work to meet the urgent needs of the moment, several opportunities – listed by the relevant work team – stand out. Please contact the team leader if any of these opportunities interest you!
Action Planning Team (contact: Seth Evans)
  1. Develop and manage a phone tree
  2. Set up letters to legislators in the Action Network App
  3. Monitor actions proposed by our allies to identify those we may want to join
Legislative Team (contact: Tina Grosowsky or Roger Luckmann)
  1. Attend hearings and information sessions on legislation, regulation, and policy development and report back to the team on key takeaways. These sessions may be called by legislators, regulators, other government officials, utilities and other private sector entities, our allies, and others.
  2. Assist with legislative collaboration with other organizations in MA
  3. Assist with communication with legislators
  4. Assist with tracking proposed regulations
Membership Team (contact: Maiyim Baron)
  1. Reach out to welcome new members by phone
  2. Help organize in-person local gatherings
  3. Work with Education Team to organize film-viewing parties, book groups, etc.
Education Team (contact: Seth Evans)
  1. Outreach to various civic and educational organizations regarding our availability to make climate change presentations
  2. Receive training to make presentations/lead seminars (“What Can One Person Do?,” “Can We Stop Climate Change?”)
Research Team (contact: Arnie Epstein)
  1. Complete specific research assignments to assist in the development of presentations
  2. Work on making PowerPoint presentations more effective by improving text, formatting, and aesthetics
Communications Team (contact: Rick Lent)
  1. Prepare handouts on chapter actions. Graphic design/layout experience helpful
  2. Newsletter editing: Work with newsletter editor as needed to edit and sometimes write stories for the newsletter (experience with Constant Contact a plus)
  3. Improve our Facebook activity by adding videos, posts and links to other sites
  4. Write letters to the editor of various newspapers or support others in doing the same
  5. Website support: Help with redesign of the site, improving overall ease of use, engagement, and visibility to search engines
Massachusetts Climate Bills:
Help Continue Our Advocacy!
Roger Luckmann and ECA Mass Legislative Team
The fate of a possible second climate bill from this state legislative session is now in the hands of a conference committee charged with working out the differences between:
  • A House bill focused on promoting wind energy and a
  • Senate version of that bill, which includes measures addressing emissions in the transportation and building sectors as well as in the energy sector.
Senator Barrett and Representative Roy are leading the committee. Barrett has gone on record saying it will not be an easy negotiation. Roy is very committed to wind energy and will be advocating for more wind investment and incentives, while Barrett pushes to reduce resources allocated to wind in favor of advancing solar and decarbonization of buildings and transportation.  
Our Legislative Team is advocating for a bill that includes all of the elements in the Senate bill and more robust wind legislation than is contained in the Senate’s watered-down wind provisions. We are also focused on a few measures that may not receive the attention they need.
In a letter to House and Senate leadership and the chairs of the Telecommunication, Utilities and Energy Committee (TUE) we, along with our allies from the League of Women Voters and Climate Action Now of Western Mass advocated for:
  • Developing and implementing large building performance standards.
  • Optimizing Mass Save and more funding to accelerate retrofitting residential buildings.
  • Programs and incentives for municipal leaders to decarbonize local buildings.
  • A Green Bank to offer low-interest loans to building owners for retrofitting buildings.
  • Preparing the workforce needed to electrify existing buildings.
  • Allowing municipalities to mandate that new and rehabbed buildings be all-electric.
We sent out three Action Alerts to ECA Mass activists in the last two weeks advocating for several key measures in the Senate and House climate bills. More than 70 ECA Mass members generated almost 500 emails to legislative leaders and to their own legislators. We also are continuing to urge legislators to favorably report out several bills that remain in TUE (see here for a list of the bills) including the Green Bank bill and a bill to give environmental justice communities a voice in the siting of energy facilities.
Two forest bills we have been supporting have been rolled into a bill (H.4787) that is now in House Ways and Means. According to representatives of Save Massachusetts Forests and RESTORE: The North Woods, “This bill will ensure that the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) reviews their policies on land under their care every five years. The review will include making forest reserves permanent, expanding the reserves, and codifying committees to oversee forest management. There would also be emphasis on transparency and public participation, and the Landscape Designation process, now voluntary, would be required.” (See article on forest bills below in this newsletter.)

It is critical that we keep the pressure on our legislators over the next few weeks if we hope to get the strong, comprehensive climate bill we need. Our message may not change much from week to week, but legislative targets and emphasis will change, based on specific needs for advocacy at the time.

Look for more Action Alerts in the weeks to come, and please take a few minutes to respond to each one. Many thanks to all who have contacted legislators after receiving an alert. Your actions do make a difference!

If you are interested in doing more than responding to alerts, contact Roger Luckmann at [email protected].

Update on Federal Legislation & Executive Actions
It's Now or Never
Seth Evans

With mid-term elections in November and summer recess looming just six weeks away, the window for Congressional lawmakers to enact major Federal green energy incentives to combat climate change is closing fast. And, once again, the major stumbling block to enactment will be the senator from W. Virginia, Joe Manchin, whose vote will be needed to advance any bill through the budget reconciliation process, and who continues to insist that any new spending package not contribute to budget deficits. 
Manchin already nixed the comprehensive Build Back Better spending package at the close of 2021. Still, there are intensive discussions underway now between Senate Democrats, President Biden and Manchin about a smaller package that would likely include limits on Medicare drug prices, a partial rollback of the Trump tax cuts, and a package of incentives for clean energy. This could still result in the largest investment in clean energy in history – up to $555 billion in tax credits and subsidies!  We will likely know in the next 6-8 weeks whether these negotiations will bear fruit.
In the meanwhile, ECA is supporting the campaign by Evergreen Action, asking you to call your senators right now and let them know that they must pass climate investments this spring! This is incredibly important. It's now or never on federal climate action, and we need YOU to speak up.
If you have friends in West Virginia, Arizona, or other purple states, please urge them to call too!

President Biden, to his great credit, is showing a new willingness to accelerate the pace of renewable energy development even without Congressional approval. On June 6, the President invoked the Defense Production Act to increase US manufacturing of solar panels, heat pumps, and other essential elements of renewable energy infrastructure. He also waived tariffs for two years on solar panel imports, forestalling a supply chain crisis which had threatened to severely curtail new solar development.
Other executive actions could – theoretically – contribute to major climate change mitigation. This includes EPA’s employing the Clean Air Act to limit greenhouse gas emissions. But if a case coming before the Supreme Court this month (West Virginia v. EPA) is decided against the EPA, it would severely undermine the federal government's ability to fight the climate crisis while putting all varieties of regulatory actions related to clean air and water – beyond those explicitly written into legislation – in jeopardy. This could mean that instead of agencies having the power to develop rules, Congress would have to vote on every action that each federal agency takes.

Ultra-conservatives and right wing libertarians have been working for decades to effect this radical change. To understand the role of conservative shadow campaigns in creating this dire threat to environmental and climate change regulation, please watch this video. And be prepared to act if the Supreme Court rules against the EPA later this month!

Focus on Forest Protection
Maiyim Baron
The forest protection bills which ECA Mass and other climate groups have supported to save and restore our Massachusetts forests were combined, redrafted, renamed and were reported out of the Joint Committee on Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture (ENRA) on May 16 and sent to House Ways and Means as a new bill - H.4784.
Our top priority bill, H.912, sponsored by Representative Michael Finn, was redrafted by ENRA and sent to House Ways and Means. Six other bills were incorporated into the redraft: H.1002 (our other second priority bill sponsored by Representative Lindsay Sabadosa) and H.856, S.557, S.558, S.561, S.562. 
These other six bills are now incorporated into the new bill - H.4784
What is in this new bill?
First, in our negotiations, we asked that the Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) Landscape Designation process be made permanent. This was done. 
In its first review of policies, DCR would have to report to the Legislature its findings on a number of questions that we wanted to be considered. Then every five years, DCR would be required review its policies. This would include that DCR address many of our concerns, which were included in the bills, such as making reserves permanent, expanding reserves, codifying committees to oversee forest management and updating the Landscapes Designations. There is also an emphasis on transparency and public participation.
Second, there would be a DCR moratorium on forest management activity, potentially until June 30, 2023, which would be the deadline for the completion of the first review.
Unfortunately, none of this affects the Fish and Game wildlife management areas that we asked for in H.1002, another of our second priority bills.
What can you do to help H.4784 make it over the finish line?
1- Ask your representative to contact House Ways and Means to support H.4784. Find your representative here to call or email.         
Subject: Ensure the passage of H.4784 
Dear Representative _____,  
[Add your personal introduction, then:] Please contact House Ways and Means to ensure the passage H.4784. This bill will ensure that the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) reviews their policies on land under their care every five years. The review will include making forest reserves permanent, expanding the reserves, and codifying committees to oversee forest management. There would also be emphasis on transparency and public participation, and the Landscape Designation process, now voluntary, would be required.
[Add other thoughts of yours here.]
Your Name
Your Town 
2- Ask the MA House Ways and Means Committee to ensure passage of H.4787. Our climate allies at ORMA set up this easy one-click Action Network link: Click here to email letters to all the committee members.
Our actions NOW can get this bill passed, so don’t wait! Take a minute to protect Massachusetts forests and help fight climate change!
Green Banks: Financing Climate Change
Mitigation and Adaptation
Sherry Morgan
One of the guest speakers for our June 14 chapter meeting - see Save the Date, above - is Rep. Paul Mark (D-2nd, Berkshire), who is currently Vice-Chair of the House Telecommunications, Utilities and Energy Committee (TUE). Rep. Mark is sponsor of the Green Bank bill, H.3340, to attract private capital for loans that would provide much-needed funding to achieve the goals of the Global Warming Solutions Act.

What are green banks?
Green banks are mission-driven institutions that use innovative financing to accelerate the transition to clean energy and fight climate change. Mission-driven means that their sole focus is addressing climate change. The American Green Bank Consortium notes that there are 21 green banks currently in the U.S., 12 state-level banks, 3 at the city/county level and 6 others in tribal or other areas.

How do they work?
Green banks work with financial institutions, contractors, and existing government programs to help consumers, municipalities, and businesses find funding for their green energy and/or energy efficiency projects. Green banks start with a modest investment of public funds and use a range of financing tools to attract private capital to address climate change. Green banks offer low-cost loans and reinvest funds from loan repayment to sustain their operations.

Green banks are flexible in that they look at existing programs within a state and work to fill in the gaps. They also continually work to fine-tune their programs and add new programs or approaches when merited. As an example, the Connecticut Green Bank found that they were not reaching many environmental justice communities with their solar financing programs and developed an approach to resolve this problem.

How successful are green banks in the U.S.? The annual report of the American Green Bank consortium reports that 2020 was the most successful year ever for green banks and the green bank model in the U.S. Despite significant uncertainties and challenges created by the Covid-19 pandemic, Green Banks achieved the following in 2020:
  • Green banks drove a record amount of clean energy investment in 2020, mobilizing $1.69 billion of total investment with $442 million of green bank funds.
  • In total, this brings cumulative green bank investment to $7 billion using $1.9 billion green bank funds.

What organizations assist green banks?
The Coalition for Green Capital and the American Green Bank Consortium provide assistance in developing and supporting green banks. They host an annual forum, share best practices, provide technical assistance, work to find investors and produce annual reports. These organizations also have supported introduction of a bill into the U.S. Congress. 
Where can I find more information? The annual Green Bank Industry Report for 2020 is a good place to start, in addition to checking the web page of the Connecticut Green Bank.

Metropolitan Area Planning Council's
Heat Week
Tina Grosowsky
In the Greater Boston region, we're experiencing more frequent and intense heat waves, as well as rising temperatures due to climate change. Scientists predict we could experience up to 40 days over 90 degrees by 2030. 

This critical issue must continue to be elevated across the region for members of the public, policy makers, and decision-makers. Community-centered planning and decision-making will be critical to protecting the most vulnerable this - and every future - summer. 
The Metropolitan Area Planning Council (MAPC) hosted its second annual Heat Week May 23-27! Here are some of their heat-related projects and resources:

Larry Rosenberg Lecture Series Announced
On May 2, we lost Larry Rosenberg, a dear friend and esteemed colleague who had contributed extensively to building Elders Climate Action Massachusetts. To honor Larry’s life and work, our Deep Dialogue, held on May 23, focused on the presentation which Larry was working on up until the day he passed: “The Climate Crisis: Impending Catastrophe and Possible Responses.”

The meeting began with remembrances of Larry from five people who knew him well and were inspired by his activism. Some of these friends hail from 350 Mass, the other climate organization to which Larry was devoted. Then, a group of ECA members shared presenting Larry’s paper, which can be seen as a slide show as they speak. The paper is an overview of the current state of the climate crisis, the expected consequences of it, and the many ways we can address it. The paper covers both accepted and controversial means of fighting climate change, and urges us to keep all options open, as our time for reducing catastrophic harm has grown so short. See the video of the Deep Dialogue meeting and Larry’s paper here.

Now, ECA Massachusetts and friends from 350 Mass will be organizing a lecture series to preserve and build upon Larry’s galvanizing work combating climate change. The series will bring important climate scientists, writers, organizers, and policy leaders to address activists from ECA, 350 Mass, and other climate groups. As we expect to pay the lecturers honoraria, we are creating a fund, in Larry’s name, to cover the direct expenses. For information about how to contribute to this fund, please link here.
What We're Reading
Under a White Sky: The Nature of the Future
By Elizabeth Kolbert (Crown, 2021 hardcover, 2022 paperback)
Elizabeth Kolbert, Pulitzer Prize–winning author of The Sixth Extinction, takes us on her travels to investigate human impacts on our planet, from effects we have already made to ongoing attempts to fix what’s broken. She introduces us to what has sometimes gone wrong and to some of the complexities in addressing planetary crises.

The main themes for Kolbert are “control of nature” and “artificial” versus “natural” selection. Humans have for centuries believed they could improve their lives by controlling nature. When plans fail, the solutions tend to involve more control of nature. How is this working? Can problems be can be solved by the same thinking that created them?
Will we live under a white sky? Kolbert details the Tambora volcano eruption in 1815, which sent ash and fine particles into the atmosphere, blocking out the sun and its warmth. For many it was a year without summer. Crops failed and people starved.
Some solar geoengineering proponents are now advocating a similar project to send aerosols 12 miles above the earth. This allegedly will cool the earth while also changing the color of the sky from blue to white. A climate scientist at Rutgers listed dozens of concerns about geoengineering. Number 1 is whether it would disrupt rainfall patterns causing drought in Africa and Asia. Number 28 is “Do humans have the right to do this?”
Kolbert relates many other stories of human interventions, including some that went awry and resulted in renewed attempts to solve the old problem as well as newly-created problems. Some examples: 
The Chicago River was reversed 120 years ago and now flushes Chicago’s waste towards St. Louis. This project altered the hydrology of two-thirds of the United States by connecting the Great Lakes to the Mississippi River. Asian carp were introduced to the Mississippi and now threaten to enter the Great Lakes where they will destroy fishing. Hearing a loud cry to fix this problem, authorities now electrocute fish in the river.
Kolbert takes us down the Mississippi to New Orleans to review the Army Corps of Engineers Mississippi River projects, where they boasted “We harnessed it, straightened it, regularized it, shackled it.”
She visits Death Valley and Devil’s Hole where huge amounts of time and money are spent to keep pupfish from extinction.
Then it’s on to Australia. Millions of years of evolution have gone into creation of Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, but heat stress due to climate change is now threatening the Reef’s amazingly dense and complex web of life. Australia’s wildfires have destroyed large sections of land and reduced Sydney’s air quality to the equivalent of smoking a pack of cigarettes every day. A plan to introduce cane toads (native to South and Central America) to control Australian cane beetle grubs went astray, which Australia is trying to correct with genetic engineering.
Kolbert’s interesting case studies show how we all play a part in the transformation of our world. It is essential that we engage in thoughtful explorations of human involvement and interventions that are leading to our future, including perhaps a white sky.

-- Tony Lee
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.