An overwhelming majority of the world’s scientists now agree that fossil fuel use is altering the global climate and thus severely damaging the ecosystems and conditions that support life on Earth. In effect, humans are experimenting on a massive scale with the Earth’s capacity to maintain healthy ecosystems or to absorb and adapt to pollution that humans cause.
After over 20 years of grantmaking both in and beyond New England, the new Clean Energy Program will concentrate exclusively in New England during the Fund’s last ten years. The goal of the Clean Energy Program is to improve the six-state region’s air quality, build a clean energy economy, and reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 20 percent within ten years. These aims can be realized by reducing our reliance on coal and other fossil fuels and adopting clean energy and efficiency alternatives.
New England states have been leading the way in creating precedent-setting state and regional energy policies, including the nation’s first carbon cap and trade system known as the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative. Other programs are pursing aggressive renewable energy and efficiency targets that are spurring the region’s promising clean energy economy. When the federal government at last moves to adopt national climate and energy policies, state and regional programs can serve as models, laboratories and aids to achieving meaningful clean air goals and greenhouse gas reductions.
- Retiring New England’s six remaining coal-fired power plants and replacing them with cleaner, more efficient energy sources
- Further reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the electricity sector by strengthening state and regional clean energy policies, particularly the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, and ensuring their strong implementation
- Reducing air pollution from buildings with large-scale upgrades to improve energy efficiency and install cleaner heating fuels
- Reducing air pollution and dependence on oil from the transportation sector by expanding the use of electric vehicles and cleaner fuels
- Identifying the most effective ways of reducing reliance on cars, trucks and airplanes in favor of walking, cycling, public transit and rail
- Supporting advocacy and organizing campaigns to strengthen clean energy policies and programs
- Stimulating use of energy efficiency, renewable energy sources, cleaner heating and vehicle fuels, and public transit and rail among institutional customers such as hospitals, colleges and universities, state and local governments, and military facilities
- Enhancing the clout of new constituencies, especially New England’s clean energy industry, health-based organizations, commercial and residential building owners, and those concerned about dependence on fossil fuels
- Mobilizing mayors and other local officials to foster adoption of energy efficiency, cleaner fuels in the buildings sector and cleaner fuels, smart growth, and public transit in the transportation sector
- Mobilizing the financial community to provide the large-scale investment needed to rebuild New England’s energy infrastructure, linking this support to the commercial building sector by funding the organizations best positioned to work with banks and provide a technical understanding of energy efficiency
- Exploring the most effective and politically feasible means of instigating changes in personal behaviors that result in a decrease in car use