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Baseline Findings from the Racial Equity Organizational Self-Assessments of Barr Foundation Climate Program GranteesSeptember 30, 2022
In 2021, the Barr Climate Program partnered with Community Centered Evaluation and Research (Community CER) to design and implement a Racial Equity Organizational Self-Assessment. The goals of the self-assessment were to provide Climate grantees with an organizational profile that allowed them to review their organization's progress in adopting and implementing racial equity practices and to help the Climate Program better understand organizations' efforts and how to target resources. This report is a summary of the findings of the Climate grantees as a group. The appendix includes the full survey used in the self-assessment.Access the full report through the DOI link on the right.
This report reviews existing literature and compiles equity metrics for the implementation of 100% renewable energy policy. Initiative for Energy Justice created this literature review for energy regulators and communities engaged in energy rulemaking proceedings in particular. The content may also be adapted to address equity initiatives within utilities, and used by advocates in independent efforts to hold utilities accountable to equity standards. The resources provided are meant to provide a flexible basis from which to expand systems of accountability regarding equity goals in the implementation of 100% renewable energy (or 100% clean energy) policy.
Home is Where the Pipeline Ends: Characterization of Volatile Organic Compounds Present in Natural Gas at the Point of the Residential End UserOctober 26, 2022
Barr supported a study from Harvard University which examined the extent of leakage from gas stoves and ovens across Massachusetts. The study, Home is Where the Pipeline Is, was published in Environmental Science and Technology and received attention from many regional and national news outlets. The study's lead researcher, Dr. Drew Michanowicz, found that gas used in homes throughout the greater Boston area contains at least 21 different hazardous air pollutants that may impact air quality and health, wherever natural gas is leaked. Researchers collected over 200 unburned natural gas samples from 69 unique kitchen stoves and building pipelines across Greater Boston between December 2019 and May 2021.
A replicable strategy for mapping air pollution's community-level health impacts and catalyzing preventionJuly 18, 2022
Barr supported a study from Boston University examining the health impacts of air pollution from fossil fuel combustion. The study was led by Dr. Phil Landrigan. The research found that disease, death and IQ loss occur at air pollution exposure levels below current EPA standards in all Massachusetts cities and towns. To prevent these impacts requires that the Environmental Protection Agency reexamine air quality standards. The study was published In the Journal of Environmental Health and has a companion website, MassCleanAir, that allows residents of Massachusetts to look up health impacts in their city or town. The website is available at: https://www.bc.edu/bc-web/centers/schiller institute/sites/masscleanair.html
This report chronicles the impact of green municipal aggregation programs in Massachusetts. This program allows cities and towns in Massachusetts to procure energy for their residents and businesses at prices competitive with utility-provided electricity. In many cases, cities have been able to procure cleaner electricity than utilities at a cheaper rate. The Green Energy Consumer Alliance's report chronicles the progress of these programs.
This guide is made for Barr Foundation Climate Program grantees that may fall in different places along the racial equity knowledge and practice spectrum. It includes assessment tools and resources for having introductory conversations on racism and white supremacy, information about collaboration models and movement structures, available workshops, training, and consultants that you can leverage to further your learning. It was written and compiled by Kendra Lara for One Square World and edited by Adeola Oredola, Vatic Kuumba, and Andrea Atkinson.
An October 2021 survey of Connecticut voters on clean energy shows broad support for clean energy solutions and a strong concern that climate change is already a crisis and getting worse.Description:A survey fielded by Global Strategies Group in October 2021 showed Connecticut voters view clean energy as an imperative to protect the climate and public health and safety.88% of Connecticut voters surveyed think that climate change is either a problem or a crisis, and eight in ten voters surveyed think it's getting worse. A significant majority of voters support a plan to transition to zero emissions by 2050 (68%) and zero carbon electricity (70%).Solar and wind are hugely popular among Connecticut voters, who support increasing their use in the state's energy mix by wide margins (87% and 74% respectively), while voters overwhelmingly support using less oil and coal (71% and 72%, respectively).Voters are generally split on whether gas is a clean energy source, suggesting there is more work to do in public messaging and education about the role that gas plays in worsening carbon emissions.Connecticut voters see a move toward clean energy as having potential to positively impact health and safety, with voters of color particularly optimistic. An overwhelming majority of Connecticut voters are ready for the state government to take bold action on a range of clean energy initiatives, with repairing leaking gas pipes at the top of the list (91% support), followed by provide incentives for people to make their homes and businesses more energy efficient (88%), incentives to homeowners to switch from propane, oil, or gas heating to cleaner alternatives such as heat pumps and funding for startup and emerging clean energy tech companies (both at 75%).
A September 2020 survey of Massachusetts voters on clean energy shows increasingly negative attitudes towards gas and other fossil fuels and heightened concerns about air pollution and public safety amidst the COVID crisis.Description:A survey fielded by Global Strategies Group in September 2020 showed Massachusetts voters continue to view clean energy as an imperative to protect the climate and public health and safety.65% of Massachusetts voters surveyed are ready for bold and decisive action to address the climate crisis, including a complete transition to clean and renewable energy statewide.Massachusetts voters trust scientists and public health experts above all others to convey the facts on energy issues. 85% of Massachusetts voters surveyed trust scientists and 82% trust public health experts to provide them with information on energy issues.Massachusetts voters overwhelmingly support using more solar and wind to generate electricity and a majority supports reducing our reliance on gas. 88% support using more solar, while 85% support using more wind. 52% support reducing reliance on gas.Finally, as the poll was conducted in the midst of the COVID crisis, in terms of stimulus spending to build back from COVID, providing assistance to people to pay their energy bills (86% support) and more incentives for energy efficiency (79% support) topped the list for Massachusetts voters followed by strong support for incentives to switch to cleaner heating alternatives such as heat pumps (68%).
For more than a decade, states and cities across the country have served a leadership role in advancing science-informed climate policy through city, state and multi-state efforts. The rapid pace by which state climate policy is emerging is evidenced by the number of new laws, directives and policies adopted in 2018 and the first half of 2019 alone. Currently, there is an active ongoing dialogue across the U.S. regarding the intersection of climate and equity objectives with efforts targeted at addressing needs of disadvantaged communities and consumers. This climate/equity intersection is due to several factors, including recognition by many cities and states that climate change is and will continue to have a disproportionate impact on certain populations and will exacerbate existing stressors faced by disadvantaged communities and consumers. Research indicates that a greater proportion of environmental burden exists in geographic areas with majority populations of people of color, low-income residents, and/or indigenous people. It is well known that certain households (including some that are low-income, African American, Latino, multi-family and rural) spend a larger portion on their income on home energy costs. States and stakeholders are realizing that a transition to a low-carbon future by mid-century will require significantly increased participation of disadvantaged communities and households in the benefits of climate and clean energy programs.
This report, which describes how states can use energy efficiency funds to provide incentives for energy storage, is a publication of Clean energy group (CEG), with appendices containing several white papers prepared by the applied economics Clinic under contract to CEG. This report explains the steps Massachusetts took to become the first state to integrate energy storage technologies into its energy efficiency plan, including actions to 1) expand the goals and definition of energy efficiency to include peak demand reduction, and 2) show that customer-sited battery storage can pass the required cost-effectiveness test. The report summarizes the economics of battery cost/benefit calculations, examines key elements of incentive design, and shows how battery storage would have been found to be even more cost-effective had the non-energy benefits of batteries been included in the calculations. The report also introduces seven non-energy benefits of batteries, and for the first time, assigns values to them. Finally, the report provides recommendations to other states for how to incentivize energy storage within their own energy efficiency plans. Four appendices provide detailed economics analysis, along with recommendations to Massachusetts on improving its demand reduction incentive program in future iterations of the energy efficiency plan.
This Carbon Free Boston: Social Equity Report provides a deeper equity context for Carbon Free Boston as a whole, and for each strategy area, by demonstrating how inequitable and unjust the playing field is for socially vulnerable Bostonians and why equity must be integrated into policy design and implementation. This report summarizes the current landscape of climate action work for each strategy area and evaluates how it currently impacts inequity. Finally, this report provides guidance to the City and partners on how to do better; it lays out the attributes of an equitable approach to carbon-neutrality, framed around three guiding principles:1) plan carefully to avoid unintended consequences2) be intentional in design through a clear equity lens3) practice inclusivity from start to finish.
In May of 2018, USGBC MA, in partnership with Massachusetts Climate Action Network, Northeast Energy Efficiency Partnerships, and the Metropolitan Area Planning Council, held a Zero Net Energy Municipal Summit at Roxbury Community College during which we asked participants: What are the barriers to building ZE buildings? The number one cited obstacle was cost, followed by regulations. This report seeks to understand whether the notion that additional first costs for ZE buildings is an outdated perception or a reality, and to identify policy and regulatory changes to make building ZE the standard.This report highlights only a sampling of the work done by the amazing practitioners we have here in the Commonwealth, practitioners who work each day toward zero energy buildings. With the combined efforts of our building industry professionals, the researchers at our great colleges and universities, our citizen advocates, our elected leaders, our state agencies, and the innovative businesses in Massachusetts, we will transform the way we build. Massachusetts is already a national leader and is uniquely positioned to take the next step and show the world how ZE buildings can reduce carbon emissions all while having a thriving economy.
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