Join the Rally to Stop the Pipeline!

Here’s a riddle for you: what do goats, apple farmers and Bill Cosby all have in common? tumblr_n974c4OH9h1tgtyvgo1_1280

Stumped?

They oppose the proposed Kinder Morgan gas pipeline — as do poets, musicians, kayakers, chickens, kids, climate activists, dozens of state and local officials, and concerned citizens from all over Massachusetts.

Kinder Morgan, one of the country’s largest fossil fuel companies, wants to build a brand-new pipeline to bring fracked gas from Pennsylvania through our state. And citizens are being asked to pay for it. tumblr_n9bu1319XS1tgtyvgo1_1280

It’s outrageous. On Wednesday, July 30th, we’ll join people from all over Massachusetts to say NO to the Kinder Morgan pipeline, NO to the gas tariff, and NO to fracked gas in Massachusetts.

Can you be there?

WHAT: Rally against the Kinder Morgan pipeline and the gas tariff
WHERE: Massachusetts State House, 24 Beacon St, Boston
WHEN: Wednesday, July 30th, 11 am – 1pm

RSVP now! 

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!

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.

Read the full report here. 

The report was co-sponsored by Toxics Action Center, Students for a Just and Stable Future and the Climate Action Liaison Coalition.

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.

Tyler Park Festival in Lowell on Thursday Featuring Climate Summer

424578_274813275925373_1329753435_nEach year, residents of Lowell gather for live music, local art, and free hot dogs at Tyler Park. This year, the Tyler Park Festival will mark the formal start-up of the 350MA Lowell node. Lowell residents have been planning to bring 350MA to Lowell for months.  The Lowell-presence for 350MA will make it easier for people in Lowell to stay up to date with climate issues and take action to slow climate change. Climate Summer will also be there! Climate Summer is Better Future Project’s flagship leadership development program; Climate Summer riders spend the summer bicycling across Massachusetts building the grassroots climate movement.
WHAT: Friends of Tyler Park Festival featuring Climate Summer
WHERE: Tyler Park, 64 Tyler Park, Lowell
WHEN: Thursday, June 19, 6:30pm – 8:30pm

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!

Mothers Out Front Spins Off

Mothers Out Front LogoMothers Out Front is a network of mothers, grandmothers, and other caregivers who can no longer be silent and still about the very real danger that climate change poses to our children’s and grandchildren’s future. Co-founded by Better Future Project co-founder Vanessa Rule and Better Future Project Advisory Board Member Kelsey Wirth, this network of mothers is giving voice to a bold new constituency of mothers who are leading the way to climate solutions. For more information, visit mothersoutfront.org.

Better Future Project and Mothers Out Front are pleased to announce to our network of staff, volunteers, and other key supporters — namely, our family and friends — that effective June 1st, 2014, each of us will launch a non-profit 501c3 organization. (Mothers Out Front will remain a program of Better Future Project through June 1st, 2014.) This next evolution reflects the success of our work and our movement’s growing maturity.  We aim for each to have optimal control over mission and direction, while maintaining the close connection that sustains our shared work.  We hope you share our excitement about this next step as we continue to build the movement to tackle the greatest challenge of our time.

Join Us for the People’s Climate March!

Peoples-Climate-March-e1400785401490During the weekend of September 20-21, hundreds of thousands of people will gather in NYC for the largest climate march the world has ever seen. This is a chance to make history.

Better Future Project is planning to bring hundreds of people to New York for the March. We’re still working out the details — check back here regularly for updates!

If you’re planning to attend the march as a participant, you can buy a ticket HEREhttp://bit.ly/1jW0UL2 

To help with planning, logistics, and outreach, please fill out our volunteer interest form.

 

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!

P.P.S. Here’s the full text of the governor’s speech.

Update on Our Meeting with Governor 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 met with Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick on May 2nd 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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