Climate Change Policy & Advocacy
Mass Audubon is undertaking a multi-pronged policy approach to address climate change. We assist with drafting legislation, advising state and national panels on energy projects, supporting regulatory reform, and encouraging communities to take action at the local level.
Massachusetts, along with other states and nations, has a two-part approach to combating the effects of human-induced rapid climate change: emissions reduction (mitigation) and adaptation.
Our priority state legislation bill, An Act to Secure a Clean Energy Future, sets emissions reduction requirements in line with the latest climate science and increases the renewable portion of the state’s energy portfolio, among other updates.
Mass Audubon’s Shaping the Future of Your Community program helps towns and cities reduce their vulnerability to climate change with holistic strategies. We provide Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness (MVP) trainings, help communities utilize of green bylaws, and offer many other resources.
The Global Warming Solutions Act (GWSA) requires an 10-15% reduction in in greenhouse gas emissions by 2020 and 80% reduction by 2050. Mass Audubon supported its passage in 2008, and as we advocate for implementation of the GWSA, we are working for future generations to avoid the worst impacts of climate change.
Massachusetts helps cities and towns that adopt the Green Communities Act maximize energy efficiency in public buildings, generate clean energy from renewable sources, and manage rising energy costs with grants and other assistance. Development of renewable resources is a key part of the climate change solutions. Careful site selection for renewable facilities of all types is important. We are also promoting Green Communities at our wildlife sanctuaries and through our Shaping the Future of Your Community outreach program.
Massachusetts state law allows a city or town to choose the electricity supplier for residents and businesses within that municipality through a process called municipal aggregation or Community Choice Aggregation (CCA). Through Green Municipal Aggregation, your community can buy more of its electricity from renewable sources.
Alternative Energy Incentives, Development, and Siting
Energy conservation and the development of renewable resources are an important part of the climate change solution. Mass Audubon is working toward providing incentives and siting recommendations for wind and solar and for the role of biomass within the overall energy mix.
Mass Audubon promotes conservation of our forest resources, including old growth reserves, for wildlife habitat and public benefit and for the capture of carbon from the atmosphere in forest growth and soils. We also helped achieve key changes in laws and regulations on biomass energy to ensure forests are managed sustainably in their roles in providing renewable energy and sequestering carbon.
Among the most visible and dramatic effects of climate change in Massachusetts is sea level rise and ocean acidification. According to the Union of Concerned Scientists, ocean waters are expected to rise between 10 inches and 2 feet by the end of the century. Mass Audubon is doing our part to help protect oceans and to explore ways that the oceans can provide green energy to replace fossil fuels.
Climate Education in Schools
Currently, climate change science is not a required element of our public school curricula. We believe that addressing climate change in a lasting way requires a culture of "climate literacy," and we are working with stakeholders, our government officials, and partners to make sure that we connect our school children to the facts and opportunities that climate change brings.