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Climate Change

Turning the tide: South Shore legislators are on the front lines of climate change



BOSTON – Seas are rising, oceans are warming and coastlines are eroding.  The consequences of local weather change have gotten more and more clear, particularly on the South Shore.

However regardless of the storms and the harm, residents of the South Shore, which is likely one of the state’s few conservative enclaves, have a tendency to not view unmitigated local weather change as a “severe” risk, in distinction with their extra liberal neighbors within the Boston space, in accordance with a brand new report from MassINC Polling Group.

“That aligns with what we find out about partisanship and area within the state,” Maeve Duggan, analysis director for MassINC, advised the Senate Committee on International Warming and Local weather Change at a listening to Feb. 5. “Boston and its suburbs are typically extra liberal or Democratic whereas the southeast a part of the state is considered one of our conservative enclaves.”

For lawmakers representing coastal counties, nevertheless, the survey would not replicate what some legislators known as one of the crucial outstanding issues they’ve heard from constituents: the potential losses if motion isn’t taken to guard the surroundings.

“I really feel that the one most vital, impactful concern going through my district is sea stage rise and local weather change,” stated state Rep. Joan Meschino, D-Hull. “It displays each the wants of the group, but in addition the bigger curiosity in land conservation, environmental well being and watershed administration.”

And though the Shore Shore leans conservative, it isn’t solely Democrats who’re sounding the alarm.

State Sen. Patrick O’Connor, R-Weymouth, represents a district that stretches alongside the shoreline.

“Being a senator for seven coastal communities and seeing the impression and the severity of storms enhance 12 months after 12 months after 12 months and the harm that it does to neighbors and constituents – this has been the difficulty that’s been on the forefront of our coverage,” he stated.

Warming’s results

Local weather change is wreaking havoc on climate, oceans, wildlife, pure habitats and public well being in Massachusetts, in accordance with Mass Audubon, the state’s largest nature conservation nonprofit.

On the South Shore, world warming has precipitated sea ranges to rise as a result of melting of glaciers and land ice, resulting in a rise within the quantity of water, in accordance with Mass Audubon. And because the ocean water warms, “it expands – pushing water farther up alongside our shores and leading to bodily adjustments to ocean warmth and temperature.”

The shellfishing business has not been spared by the consequences of warming waters, stated Rep. Josh Cutler, D-Pembroke. In areas equivalent to Plymouth and Duxbury, he stated, the growing ocean temperatures have precipitated new strains of micro organism to emerge, instantly affecting the aquaculture business.

Cutler, who was named Home chairman of the Legislature’s bipartisan Coastal Caucus final November, stated, “We’re completely on the entrance strains of local weather change. It’s not just a few esoteric concern that’s possibly affecting our youngsters. It’s occurring right now, and it’s affecting us in not simply the planet, but in addition in our pocketbooks.”

Relying on the speed of greenhouse fuel emissions within the coming years, sea ranges are projected to rise much more – a further 2.four to 7.four ft by 2100 alongside the Northeastern coast, in accordance with Mass Audubon. The frequency of coastal 100-year floods can also be anticipated to “enhance significantly” all through the following century.

“We simply expertise local weather change and sea stage rise in a really dynamic means, and it’s nearly like a battering,” Meschino stated, highlighting the hazards posed to public security and well being. “You’re coping with storm surges, flooding, coastal inundation. You’re coping with excessive winds. We take a beating with a number of the coastal erosion.”


Bucking the nationwide pattern

In relation to navigating how the state ought to strategy issues equivalent to world warming, state Rep. Mathew Muratore, R-Plymouth, stated it helps that Gov. Charlie Baker, a Republican, “works effectively” with Senate President Karen Spilka and Home Speaker Robert DeLeo, each Democrats.

“I see (local weather change) as a bipartisan concern,” Muratore stated. “I’ve been taking place to the coast, all the way down to the seashore, notably within the southern a part of Plymouth, and seeing the erosion. It was once lower than a foot a 12 months that they might lose on these homes which might be alongside the coast.”

However a few of these properties misplaced as much as 5 ft within the sequence of storms within the winter of 2018, Muratore stated.

“It’s actual, and it actually hurts the financial system considerably too as a result of now the city of Plymouth is fighting the lack of taxes on these houses,” he stated.

In July, Muratore wrote an op-ed column describing the extreme harm to seashores, roads, docks and sea partitions in Plymouth from winter storms – and that such storms are anticipated to worsen. He wrote that “the science is evident,” and for that cause, he can be open to “contemplating any invoice” that goals to fight local weather change.

“The South Shore continues to face extra coastal flooding, excessive warmth and different threats brought on by adjustments in our local weather, just like the current twister on Cape Cod,” Muratore wrote. “On the similar time, Massachusetts, and Plymouth, have a possibility to benefit from the inexperienced financial system boosting native jobs and creating private-sector job development within the course of.”

With rising sea ranges comes rising accountability — and a variety of laws.

Baker, as just lately as his State of the Commonwealth handle delivered in late January, declared his assist for specializing in local weather change – within the type of setting a aim to achieve net-zero greenhouse fuel emissions statewide by 2050 and asking the Legislature to undertake his Transportation Local weather Initiative.

“Greenhouse fuel emissions from transportation have been on the rise for many years and now signify 40 % of this state’s whole emissions,” Baker stated. “Except we tackle transportation, we received’t meet our goals. I get that that is going to be laborious. However collectively, we now have an actual alternative and a accountability to realize a big discount in transportation emissions.”

Two days after Baker’s speech, the Senate launched its personal complete bundle of laws aimed toward creating “subsequent technology” local weather coverage.

Main as much as the discharge of the trio of payments, state Sen. Marc Pacheco, D-Taunton, known as on his colleagues to behave on local weather laws, and lamented that they’d not but completed so.

Key provisions of the local weather bundle embrace: reaching net-zero greenhouse fuel emissions statewide by 2050, establishing a Massachusetts Local weather Coverage Fee to “oversee the federal government’s dealing with of the unfolding” local weather disaster, placing a value on carbon emissions, enacting equipment effectivity requirements to save lots of vitality, and setting a deadline of 2040 to transform MBTA buses to all-electric energy.


Different laws

South Shore legislators performed a task in crafting the language and targets of the coverage bundle. On the Home facet, Cutler has been campaigning to replace vitality and water effectivity requirements for family and industrial home equipment, often called the Vitality SAVE Act.

“It’s one of the best local weather change coverage you’ve by no means heard of,” Cutler stated. “Through the use of extra environment friendly merchandise that use much less vitality, we get monetary savings. In fact, the environmental profit is critical.”

O’Connor proposed an modification – one which originated with a current intern in his workplace, Grace Alves – that might set up a grant program to assist low-income assist service suppliers, equivalent to meals banks and homeless shelters, purchase solar energy tools.

It was unanimously permitted by the Senate.

“That is the course we now have to be entering into,” O’Connor stated. “As soon as we take the lead on this, then it’s as much as us as elected officers, in addition to residents, to begin placing a few of these issues in place and exhibiting the remainder of the states and the remainder of the nations that that is doable and that this will occur.”

And final session, Meschino led the cost on drafting local weather mitigation laws. A key proposal of the laws, she stated, would reset the carbon emissions discount aim within the International Warming Options Act to net-zero by 2050 – a provision each Baker and the Senate now assist.

“It was very gratifying to listen to the governor make that announcement,” Meschino stated. “There may be nonetheless urgency to truly move that invoice, to codify these items in regulation. We’re speaking about planning and techniques and initiatives and investments which might be going to span a long time.”

Shannon Larson experiences for the Boston College State Home Program.

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Climate Change

Community choice aggregation: A brief introduction



Neighborhood alternative aggregation: A quick introduction

Posted on 20 February 2020 by Visitor Writer

It is a re-post from Yale Local weather Connections by Bruce Lieberman

CARLSBAD, CA. – In relation to paying the electrical invoice, most individuals don’t give it a second thought – it’s one thing that in impact is “baked in.”

However throughout California and several other different states, native governments more and more are pondering anew about how their residents get their energy – with massive potential implications for People’ affect on local weather change.

Within the San Diego space this fall, a number of cities have moved towards neighborhood alternative aggregation (CCA) – an association through which native governments take over the job of shopping for electrical energy for his or her residents. Many cities and counties that run CCAs rent third events with experience in navigating power markets, however the total aim is to supply residents cheaper charges and extra selections for renewable sources of power. Residents and companies located inside the boundaries of a neighborhood jurisdiction that launches a CCA are mechanically signed up in it – though they’ll choose out and keep as clients of their conventional utility.

The curiosity within the method extends past California.

Thus far, most if not all CCAs nonetheless depend on conventional utilities to handle the transmission of energy and the billing of shoppers.

The place is neighborhood alternative aggregation allowed?

Across the nation, the formation of CCAs has been approved in 9 states: California, Illinois, Massachusetts (the primary state to authorize CCAs in 1994), New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Rhode Island, and Virginia, in accordance with the web site of Lean Power U.S. One other 5 states – Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, Maryland, and Oregon – are investigating CCAs.

The California effort provides a snapshot of how CCAs are gaining momentum and of potential challenges they face.

In California, the state legislature accepted the creation of CCAs in 2002, and since then 19 have sprouted up across the state. The primary CCA fashioned in Marin County in Northern California in 2010 with 8,000 clients.

Over the previous 12 months or so, San Diego County has seen a number of cities dive into discussions to kind their very own. The coastal neighborhood of Solana Seashore was the primary in San Diego County to kind a CCA, which grew to become official in June 2018. In one other effort this 12 months, generally known as the Clear Power Alliance, Solana Seashore and neighboring cities Carlsbad and Del Mar have joined forces, every passing resolutions and adopting a joint powers settlement. As cities be part of collectively, they’ll pool their residents into a bigger buyer base and negotiate higher costs with energy suppliers. The inland metropolis of Santee and the San Diego County authorities are contemplating becoming a member of the Clear Power Alliance.

The San Diego Union-Tribune has lined initiatives within the county for greater than a 12 months, and a few in-depth studies provide nice background on CCAs.

How a lot does it price for shoppers?

One massive query about CCAs is whether or not they really provide charges which might be cheaper or at the least equal to what conventional utilities provide. Power consultants predict that clients on a fundamental plan beneath the Clear Power Alliance pays 2% much less for electrical energy than they’d as clients of San Diego Gasoline & Electrical, the Union-Tribune has reported, and 50% of their electrical energy would come from renewable sources of power. About 45% of the electrical energy that SDG&E provides its clients comes from renewable sources.

How do renewables slot in?

In 2017 the share of electrical energy provided by CCAs in California that was generated from renewable sources was between 37 and 100% – for a median of 52%, in accordance with the Luskin Middle for Innovation on the College of California at Los Angeles.

State targets for decreasing greenhouse gasoline emissions are driving a lot of this transfer towards renewable sources of electrical energy in California. In 10 years, the state goals to chop emissions to 40% under 1990 ranges – and get 50% of its electrical energy total from renewable sources.

The town of San Diego, which has set a aim of getting 100% of its electrical energy from renewable sources by 2035, has been contemplating the formation of a CCA. In response, SDG&E is engaged on a plan to supply town 100% of its power wants from renewable sources by the identical 12 months.

How does neighborhood alternative aggregation have an effect on utilities?

Huge utilities have cause to fret that CCAs might crack their monopolies on the electrical energy market. The Luskin Middle has forecast that investor-owned utilities in California will proceed to lose market share as CCAs achieve momentum. In 2010, they’d 78% of the market, however by 2017 that had fallen to 70%.

One unresolved issue that would have an effect on how briskly CCAs develop in California is one thing known as an influence cost indifference adjustment. The PCIA is basically an exit payment that clients of a newly created CCA should pay, in accordance with a requirement of the state’s public utilities fee. These exit charges are meant to cowl previous investments in energy vegetation and different infrastructure for which utilities have an ongoing price burden. The charges are meant to make sure that the utilities is not going to be any worse off financially for shedding clients to CCAs.

The state’s public utilities fee determines the scale of the payment charged to CCA clients, and the quantity of the exit payment is controversial. Within the fall of 2018, the fee handed investor-owned utilities a victory, permitting them to get better prices for energy plant investments relationship again almost twenty years.

“Particularly, the choice would enable utility-owned energy vegetation constructed earlier than 2002 to be included in PCIA calculations, in addition to take away an current 10-year cap on the inclusion of post-2002 prices,” the electrical energy market information web site GTM (also referred to as Greentech Media) reported when the fee voted on the change in October of 2018.

What occurs subsequent?

One other fear, held by Michael Picker, former president of the CPUC, is that the state may very well be headed towards one other power disaster akin to the one seen within the early 2000s as clients search energy from sources apart from the state’s closely regulated massive utilities – Pacific Gasoline & Electrical, Southern California Edison, and San Diego Gasoline & Electrical. “These are electrical energy markets,” Picker instructed the Desert Solar newspaper in 2018. “There’s no assure that everyone will probably be profitable. There’s numerous methods folks can fail.”

Regardless of worries over exit charges and the flexibility of CCAs to reliably ship energy, the momentum behind CCAs and different options to investor-owned utilities seems to be gathering steam. In mid-October of this 12 months, The Nation ran a visitor editorial titled “Pulling the Plug on PG&E.” It was a form of name to motion for grassroots efforts round California and the remainder of the nation to seek out options to personal utility corporations.

The piece ran as PG&E was slicing energy to hundreds of thousands of Californians – a precaution, the utility argued, to attempt to forestall wildfires sparked by downed transmission traces through the state’s dry and windy fall season. As has been broadly reported, nonetheless, wildfires up and down the state erupted through the second half of October, though total they have been much less harmful than what Californians skilled in 2018.

In her editorial piece, Johanna Bozuwa, co-manager of the Local weather and Power Program on the Democracy Collaborative (a analysis establishment centered on financial inequality), wrote that Californians are rising extra skeptical that PG&E will have the ability to present dependable energy as local weather change makes hearth seasons extra excessive.

That skepticism, she wrote, “is fueling severe momentum for a substitute for the investor-owned mannequin, in California and across the nation: a brand new, community-controlled, publicly owned power system grounded in renewable power, democratic governance, and decentralization.”

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Climate Change

When the storms hit, will Johnson and co help you? It’s the new postcode lottery | Jonathan Watts



As British excessive streets and farm fields lie underneath water this week, Boris Johnson has repeatedly been urged to placed on his wellies, exit and take heed to flood victims.

Thus far although, his response has been extra about tin ears than rubber boots: throughout Storm Dennis the prime minister was reportedly holed up in a 17th-century mansion within the Kent countryside.

As even Nigel Farage and the Solar have identified, this can be a pathetic failure of management. On a extra sinister degree, it’s fully in line with a darkly elitist view of tips on how to take care of the local weather disaster.

The query of local weather priorities will develop more and more vital. Which communities will the federal government defend and which is able to they abandon?

This menace to human civilisation must advantage collaborative motion on the highest international degree. This gave the impression to be the case within the 1980s and 90s – these halcyon days of the “worldwide neighborhood” – when world leaders stepped as much as reverse the depletion of the ozone layer and put in place new United Nations buildings to deal with the then nascent threats of world warming and biodiversity loss.

Since then, many years of fossil fuel-funded denial and a shift within the political and financial panorama have taken their toll.

Immediately, a rising variety of governments want to emphasize how impotent they’re within the face of market and pure forces, whereas multibillionaires – who’re extra highly effective than ever – have began constructing apocalypse sanctuaries, making use of for New Zealand citizenship or backing politicians who promise to erect increased bodily and authorized partitions at their borders. Something to maintain out the climate and the climate-affected lots.

Outright denial of local weather science is now virtually inconceivable. Within the UK, the lengthening summer season heatwaves and extra intense winter deluges have seen to that. They’ve additionally demonstrated that partitions and cash will not be sufficient.

The surroundings secretary, George Eustice, admitted as a lot this week, when he mentioned: “We’ll by no means have the ability to shield each single family simply due to the character of local weather change and the truth that these climate occasions have gotten extra excessive.”

People resting in the heat in London, July 2019

London, July 2019. ‘Outright denial of local weather science is now virtually inconceivable. Within the UK, the lengthening summer season heatwaves and extra intense winter deluges have seen to that.’ {Photograph}: John Keeble/Getty Pictures

This raises the query of local weather priorities, which is able to develop more and more vital as floods and heatwaves have an effect on extra folks and property. Which communities will the federal government defend and which is able to they abandon?

Extra importantly, how will it stability the assets for adaptation infrastructure (resembling sea partitions, flood boundaries, drainage channels ) with these for mitigation (chopping emissions by forests, wetlands, regulation of petrochemical companies and a transition to renewable vitality)?

It is a alternative between tackling the short-term native signs or the long-term international causes. Historically that has been the political dividing line between the suitable and the left. Immediately, it’s the distinction between local weather apartheid – successfully excluding these affected on financial or racial grounds – and local weather solidarity.

The UK has steered a practical course between these two extremes till now. Most politicians on this nation recognise probably the most cost-efficient method of coping with international warming is to chop emissions now to keep away from far costlier damages sooner or later. On the left and proper, there was a way of social accountability and nationwide satisfaction that Britain initiated the Industrial Revolution and may take the lead in clearing up the mess it left behind.

However will that consensus maintain because the home prices of local weather motion ramp up? Or will the free-market extremists within the authorities deal with defending rich and economically productive areas moderately than sharing the burdens and desirous about the long run?

This sodden week alone doesn’t reply these questions, however it’s worrying that now we have an surroundings minister apparently able to abandon some areas, and a main minister who has lower himself off from these struggling the implications. The nation and the world wants a frontrunner who steps out and steps up on local weather. Thus far, Johnson has finished neither.

Jonathan Watts is the Guardian’s international surroundings editor

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Climate Change

In Hot Pursuit of 21st Century Cooling



Researchers differ on which kind of caloric materials—electro, magneto, or elasto—holds essentially the most promise. Takeuchi is now betting on a category of copper-based supplies which are a part of the so-called shape-memory alloy (SMA) household, which might endure elastocaloric temperature adjustments with comparatively light squeezing. Takeuchi says he obtained samples of the alloys from a Japanese firm that’s creating them to assist squelch earthquake motions in buildings. The supplies ought to turn into obtainable in massive portions and at inexpensive costs, he says. “You may think about if the supplies are mass produced, then we’re in enterprise.”

For now, he and graduate pupil David Catalini are experimenting with clusters of hole, pencil-sized tubes of SMAs of their A-shaped rig in an effort to develop prototype home equipment with the modest cooling calls for of, say, a wine chiller. The hole format of those tube clusters makes it straightforward to stream a heat-exchanging fluid via them because the tubes endure cycles of being squeezed (by a piston) and launched.

Figure captionexpand figure

I. Amato; I. Takeuchi/UMD

This cooling system check rig (left) in Ichiro Takeuchi’s lab on the College of Maryland, School Park, consists of clusters of pipe-shaped elastocaloric materials (proper), which adjustments temperature in response to being squeezed.

Figure caption

I. Amato; I. Takeuchi/UMD

This cooling system check rig (left) in Ichiro Takeuchi’s lab on the College of Maryland, School Park, consists of clusters of pipe-shaped elastocaloric materials (proper), which adjustments temperature in response to being squeezed.×

Supplies scientist Qiming Zhang of Pennsylvania State College (Penn State), College Park, is an elder of the electrocalorics subfield. Electrical fields don’t penetrate far into most solids, so electrocaloric supplies are typically utilized in skinny buildings which are finest suited to small-scale gadgets, akin to these made for cooling digital parts. For the previous 15 years, Zhang has been attempting to develop electrocaloric ceramics and polymers into cooling supplies which are succesful sufficient, low-cost sufficient, and sturdy sufficient to be sensible. In December, on the Supplies Analysis Society (MRS) assembly in Boston, he reported progress in producing massive electrocaloric results (as much as 20 °C) with a polymer utilizing weak electrical fields.

Pecharsky is assured about magnetocaloric supplies. Within the 1990s, he and colleagues teamed up with the Milwaukee-based Astronautics Company. The collaboration produced a prototype magnetocaloric fridge primarily based on gadolinium alloys rotating out and in of a magnetic subject. The achievement offered a proof-of-principle that caloric refrigeration was potential, and Astronautics tried to develop a industrial system. However the firm was by no means capable of sufficiently scale back the price of producing the required magnetic subject and make the system aggressive with vapor-compression home equipment. So that they lastly deserted the undertaking a couple of years in the past, says Astronautics engineer Steve Russek. Pecharsky accepts that the street to magnetocaloric refrigeration can be an extended one, however he stays satisfied that the present show-stoppers could be overcome.

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