climate action alerts
A regional resource for Cape & Islands climate activists
October 1, 2021
Feature Article

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And a very special thanks to Presenting sponsor Cape Light Compact, Diamond sponsor Cape Cod Five, and Platinum sponsors
Cape Air, Solect Energy, and Vineyard Wind.
Glasgow Climate Summit Faces ‘High Risk of Failure,’ U.N. Leader Says
Secretary-General Guterres says drastic action needed to meet emission cuts agreed to in 2015 Paris accord
By Timothy Puko, The Wall Street Journal, September 20, 2021

NEW YORK—The coming climate summit in Glasgow, Scotland, runs a “high risk of failure” unless world leaders take stronger measures to stem greenhouse-gas emissions, United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres said Monday.

Mr. Guterres made his comments to reporters following a two-hour closed session with U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson, U.S. climate envoy John Kerry and other leaders on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly meeting. Read more.
RMI Reality Check: Appalachia Poised to Become Clean Energy Country
By Gabriella Tosado, Katie Siegner,  Laurie Stone,  Mark Dyson,, September 21, 2021  

When it comes to the clean energy transition, many fear that coal-dependent regions like Appalachia will lose out or be left behind.
But a new analysis from RMI challenges that assumption, finding that Appalachia could be the region to see the biggest economic benefit from the deployment of wind and solar projects over the next decade.

For more than a century, the Appalachian Mountains stretching from Alabama to Pennsylvania have been America’s coal country. Yet global coal demand has dropped in the past decade, in part because of the fuel’s role in climate change, and coal production has fallen more than 65 percent in Appalachia, hurting the economy and creating a need for new opportunities. Read more.
The Commonwealth
Mass. is creating a Commission on Clean Heat, a major step toward achieving climate goals
By Sabrina Shankman, The Boston Globe, Sept. 20, 2021

With an ambitious climate goal already on the books, Massachusetts state officials took a big step toward making the dream of net-zero carbon emissions a reality on Monday with the announcement of a commission that will target a major emissions source: how we heat our buildings.

The Commission on Clean Heat — the first of its kind in the United States — will take on the climate-warming role that buildings play by setting caps for heating fuel emissions, as well as determining financing mechanisms that can help speed up the transition to clean energy.

“By soliciting the expertise of leaders with a variety of perspectives, including the affordable housing community, we can ensure that the strategies and policies we pursue to reduce emissions from heating fuels will be innovative, affordable, and equitable,” said Governor Charlie Baker in a statement. Read more.
Cape Cod Community College Receiving State Solar Grants
By ______, Cape Cod Times, September 24, 2021

BARNSTABLE – Cape Cod Community College is among eight solar installations across the Commonwealth receiving part of $2 million in grants.

The grants were announced this week as part of the state’s celebration of Climate Week.
The money will support projects that total more than 5 megawatts of power, which can deliver approximately $11 million in economic benefits and generate 124 million kilowatt hours of clean every over two decades, according to state officials.

“The Commonwealth continues to lead the nation in clean energy policies with programs like Leading by Example, which are both innovative and instructive,” said Governor Charlie Baker in a statement.”

The Lead by Example state program has awarded $7 million in solar grants since 2014 to the Massachusetts Department of Transportation, Bridgewater State University, 4Cs and more. Read more. 
Four Cape towns join to address climate change
By Jacob Greenberg, Wicked Local Provincetown Banner, September 15, 2021

Energy and climate action committees in Truro, Wellfleet, Eastham and Orleans have decided to work together to mitigate climate change.

'The goal is not to have everybody reinvent the wheel separately, but to try to figure out what things we can do together,' said Carol Harris of Truro, who is facilitating the regional group, in an interview with the Banner. 'We can get more accomplished if we’re all working together.

The new group, called Outer Cape Climate Committees, met for its second meeting via Zoom on Tuesday, Sept. 7. The next meeting will be at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 5, with a link for public participation on the town of Truro website...The committee plans to identify a subgroup to work on a region-wide educational campaign. The towns worked together on a similar project in 2018 and hope to update their presentations on topics like solar panels, battery storage and electric vehicles. Read more.
Cape Cod Commission approves proposed solar facility in Dennis
By Asad Jung, Cape Cod Times, September 21, 2021
DENNIS — A 3.1-megawatt solar array proposed for a former golf driving range moves on to town review after it passed a significant approval milestone.

Developer Great Western Dennis Smart LLC will next take the project through local permitting, according to Sarah Colvin, communication manager at the Cape Cod Commission. Commission members voted unanimously on Sept. 9 to grant Development of Regional Impact approval to the plan.

There is a 30-day appeal period for DRI approval, Colvin said.

Receiving a building permit from the town of Dennis would follow, according to project files... The solar array aims to be part of the Massachusetts SMART program, an initiative to promote cost-effective solar developments in the state. Read more.
Energy & The Built Environment
Wind energy can help Earth blow back climate calamity
By Blaine Friedlander, Cornell Chronicle, September 22, 2021

The answer to climate change – or at least part of it – is blowing in the wind, according to research published Aug. 28 in the journal Climate.

“Early action will reap dividends,” said Rebecca Barthelmie, professor in the Sibley School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, in the College of Engineering. “In terms of averting the worst of climate change, our work confirms that accelerating wind-energy technology deployment is a logical and a cost-effective part of the required strategy. Waiting longer will mean more drastic action will be needed.”

Barthelmie and Sara C. Pryor, professor in the Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, calculated that implementing advance wind energy scenarios could achieve a reduction in global warming atmospheric average temperatures of 0.3 to 0.8 degrees Celsius by the end of the century.

To avert environmental disaster, other greenhouse gas reduction strategies will also need to be implemented, they said. Read more.
Leaders show plans to change wind policy
Proposed bill brought up during turbine tour
By Colin A. Young, State House News Service

Hoping to expand the universe of developers that bid on the offshore wind projects that will be key to the next several decades of Massachusetts energy policy, House leaders said Tuesday they are preparing legislation to change the bid requirements, including eliminating the price cap that has been in place for the first three procurement rounds.

During a boat tour Tuesday of the Block Island Wind Farm off Rhode Island, House Speaker Ron Mariano said he charged Telecommunications, Utilities and Energy Committee Chairman Jeff Roy with producing a bill to “help us restore our place in this whole competitive market.” “We had a tremendous advantage, and it is beginning to slip,” Mariano said from the aft deck of the Ava Pearl.

The announcement comes as the bids for the third Massachusetts offshore wind procurement are about to be made public Thursday. Just two companies opted to compete for the state’s third offshore wind project... The two companies already under contract to generate cleaner wind power for Massachusetts -- Vineyard Wind and Mayflower Wind -- confirmed that they have submitted multiple proposals for this round. Ørsted, which owns the turbines off Block Island, confirmed that it did not submit a bid this time around.

“We’re hoping to create an industry and we just had two companies bid,” Mariano said. He added, “That’s why we’re doing this, we want that universe to get bigger.” Read more.
Land Use & Sequestration
New England Forests Can Help Slow Climate Change. A New Report Shows Exactly How Much
By Barbara Moran, WBUR, September 14, 2021

In the big scheme of things, the Bobryk forest is pretty small potatoes. It's about 300 acres of birch, hemlock and other hardwood trees, sandwiched between two larger state forests in western Massachusetts.

"It feels weird to say this forest isn't special because that's not what I mean," says Laura Marx, a forest ecologist at The Nature Conservancy in Massachusetts. Rather, says Marx, Bobryk forest is "a really cool example" of things gone right, and an illustration of exactly how preserving forests might help slow climate change.

When the privately owned forest went on the market in 2020, The Nature Conservancy, the Berkshire Natural Resources Council and the state of Massachusetts put Bobryk forest into conservation to protect it from development.

That means that about 136,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide already stored in the trunks and roots of Bobryk trees stayed there, says Marx. And each year going forward, the trees should remove and store another 190 metric tons of carbon dioxide. That's roughly equal to the emissions of 58 cars and trucks. Read more.
The report by researchers at Clark University, called “Avoided Deforestation: A Climate Mitigation Opportunity in New England and New York," provides hard numbers for officials trying to hit their climate goals — for instance, Massachusetts' ambitious plan to reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. Read more. Download the report.
Investing, Business & Finance
Make every job a climate job
Project Drawdown's new guide for business

Climate Solutions at Work, presented by Project Drawdown, is a how-to guide for employees to make every job a climate job. The all-encompassing climate crisis demands an equally expansive system of solutions, calling on everyone, everywhere to find their inroad—especially in the workplace. 

Employees are the backbone of a company’s ability to function, innovate, and survive through uncertain times. Even for the most passionate climate advocates, it can be hard to know how to accelerate action in the workplace. Where to begin? This 100% FREE, easy-to-browse guide explores creative ways to bring the world’s best private-sector climate solutions to life, while helping employees hold their companies accountable for sweeping climate action. 
By moving step-by-step through topics that matter most, Climate Solutions at Work is a new north star for employees looking to push beyond net zero. Explore how to help build a “drawdown-aligned” business—one that leverages all of its social, political, financial, and employee power to secure a stable climate and just future for all. Read more.
Janet Yellen faces climate test as environmentalists push for more aggressive financial action
By Jeff Stein, Washington Post, September 18, 2021

While President Biden has called climate change a “code red” crisis, his treasury secretary is poised to resist calls to ask financial regulators to rein in lending to the nation’s worst greenhouse-gas emitters.

Treasury Secretary Janet L. Yellen is currently leading a review of what federal banking regulators should do to ensure the financial system is protected from climate-related risks. While the Biden administration pursues separate climate legislation with Congress, environmental groups want Yellen to use the lesser-known financial review process to advance measures to curb or discourage lending from Wall Street banks to companies that produce large amounts of carbon emissions. Read more.
The story in pictures of the early electric cars, 1880-1920
Source: Rare Historical Photos

Early electric cars found a lucrative market for driving around cities. Rechargeable batteries that provided a viable means for storing electricity on board a vehicle did not come into being until 1859, with the invention of the lead–acid battery by French physicist Gaston Planté.

What is likely the first human-carrying electric vehicle with its own power source was tested along a Paris street in April 1881 by French inventor Gustave Trouvé. In 1880 Trouvé improved the efficiency of a small electric motor developed by Siemens (from a design purchased from Johann Kravogl in 1867) and using the recently developed rechargeable battery, fitted it to an English James Starley tricycle, so inventing the world’s first electric vehicle. Although this was successfully tested on 19 April 1881 along the Rue Valois in central Paris, he was unable to patent it. Read more.
Ford announces $11.4b investment in electric vehicle plants
By Daniel Thomas, BBC News, September 27, 2021

Under the $11.4bn (£8.3bn) plan, the carmaker said it will build zero-emission cars and pickups "at scale" for American customers.

It will also create 11,000 jobs.
Like rivals GM and Stellantis, Ford hopes around half of the cars it sells by 2030 will be zero emission.

Yet the additional government investment required to make it happen is still in question.
"This is our moment - our biggest investment ever - to help build a better future for America," said Jim Farley, Ford's president and chief executive in a statement. Read more.
Faith in Action
Celebrating the Season of Creation
St. Mary's Episcopal Church of Barnstable offers climate and environment series

During September and October, Christians around the world are celebrating a season of prayer and action to protect God’s creation. St. Mary’s has put together an outstanding series of educational programs focused on climate change and the care of creation, with the following list of events and speakers:

  • October 3 – So often all we hear about climate change is grim. Peter Gwynne, a science writer and a member of St. Mary’s will discuss positive news emerging from the environmental movement today. Peter serves on the Episcopal Lutheran Working Group on Climate Change.
  • October 10 – Fisheries scientist and member of St. Mary’s, Dr. Emory Anderson, will discuss overfishing in the oceans and implications for fisheries management. Emory is also a member of the Episcopal Lutheran Working Group on Climate Change.
  • October 17 – Patrick Ramage, Senior Director for Outreach at the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) and a member of St. Mary’s will talk about his efforts to preserve the North Atlantic Right Whale population.
  • October 24 – A panel of speakers including the Rev. Brian McGurk, Rector of St. Christopher’s in Chatham; Susan Starkey, Co-Chair of the Faith Communities Environmental Network; and St. Mary’s own Dorothy Savarese, will talk about the work of the Cape Cod Climate Change Collaborative and how local and state government, non-profit organizations, businesses, churches and the public can work together to preserve the unique environmental heritage of Cape Cod. 
Participants may join in person at 11:30 a.m. each Sunday in the St. James Room at St. Mary's or via Zoom using this link from its weekly eNews.
*Note: Rev. McGurk, Dorothy Savarese and Susan Starkey are members of the Cape Cod Climate Change Collaborative board of directors and active members of the organization. 


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.