Boston, MA: Leaders in both business and science joined environmentalists today at the New England Aquarium to call on the governors, legislators, and the congressional delegations of the New England states to develop and implement a regional plan to combat global warming and climatic disruption. The groups cite a new study released today by World Wildlife Fund (WWF) which demonstrates that common-sense national energy policies and measures needed to deflect the warming are good for the planet and will stimulate New England's economy.
"It is time to see real progress and leadership at this moment from the most technologically advanced and venturesome segment of the nation, New England," said Dr. George M. Woodwell, director of Woods Hole Research Center. "It is clear not only that our present course is wasteful, destructive, and already presents costs and further risks beyond reason, but also that correcting these trends will open large, new, highly beneficial business opportunities. The transition is underway, but it can and must be greatly stimulated now by wise governmental leadership."
More than 100 businesses, environment and community groups from around New England joined in today's call to the region's political leaders to develop a global warming plan for the New England states, and work to reduce carbon pollution through energy efficiency and renewable energy.
"It is time to stop pointing the fingers at others for solutions to global warming. Our governors need to act now, and locally, to curb global warming. This region has the know-how, leadership, and public support to enact the policies necessary to reduce carbon emissions," said Rob Sargent, energy program director of MASSPIRG "New England has the ability to meet and exceed international carbon reduction targets. We have the ability to begin to put our corner of the country on the path to a clean energy future today," said Adam Markham, executive director of Clean Air - Cool Planet.
As New Englanders call for action, WWF steps up to the plate with a plan to help meet those demands through national solutions. The findings are part of a report prepared for WWF by Tellus Institute in Boston. Using a mix of market-based incentives and regulatory changes, New England's Global Warming Solutions shows that aggressive national policies to cut global warming pollution would likely bring more than 40,000 new jobs and net annual savings of $4.6 billion by 2010 in New England.
Based on real-world data and expanded use of proven technology, the new study dispels the notion that climate protection would harm the economy, and supports the assertion that clean energy is smart policy for New England.
New England's citizens, economy and environment are being harmed by climatic disruption, as sea level rises, severe storms come more frequently, heat waves intensify and last longer, diseases of humans, animals and plants find new niches, and forests, agriculture and fisheries suffer losses. Unsound energy policies already expose New England to air pollution that causes increasing human health and environmental problems. Warmer temperatures would further threaten the region's diverse natural ecosystems and the economic activities dependent on them, including tourism. The new study shows that by using advanced, energy-efficient technologies and cleaner resources, the region's annual primary energy use and carbon emissions would decrease by 19% and 31%, respectively, below projected levels in 2010. Air pollutant emissions in New England would also be reduced significantly, which would yield additional health and environmental benefits.
These important results come from policies designed to drive innovation in energy resources and technology. They include incentives for efficient vehicles and equipment; elimination of regulatory impediments; new efficiency standards for buildings, cars and machinery; new standards for increasing the use of renewable energy and enhanced funding for research and development; and improvements in land-use and infrastructure. The measures also include tax reform and reductions in subsidies to polluters.
"The report shows that New England will greatly benefit from federal legislation enacting these policies," said Alan Nogee, Energy Program Director of the Union of Concerned Scientists. "We hope the region's congressional delegation will pull together to provide national leadership on these issues."
"A New England global warming plan would create jobs for the region and put money in the pockets of New England families. It's time to take action to protect the region's unique ecosystems that could be at risk in a warmer world," said Jennifer Morgan, director of WWF's Climate Change Campaign. "This report shows that there is much to be saved through clean energy."
Expert Contacts for Interview:
WWF, (cell) 703-623-2527
Tellus Institute, 617-266 5400
Clean Air - Cool Planet, 603-422-6466
Read the summary, and download a copy of the report: New England's Global Warming Solutions
Read the list of groups who have joined in to support this report (pdf format)