At the October 2019 Net Zero Roundtable, the Climate collaborative formally approved and adopted Pathways to Net Zero, a climate action plan for reaching the Net Zero goals on the Cape and Islands. The plan organizes specific climate actions along five distinct pathways, each of which is critical to the achievement of the Net Zero goals:
- Increase use of renewable energy sources, energy efficiency and energy conservation.
- Mobilize a revolution in all modes of transportation.
- Transform our built environment to make it more energy efficient, affordable and resilient.
- Educate, engage and motivate our communities to action.
- Preserve and enhance the natural carbon storage capacity of our local resources.
2019 Net Zero Cape and Islands Roundtable
The Cape Cod Climate Change Collaborative (Climate Change Collaborative) held “Pathways to Net Zero,” its second annual Net Zero Cape & Islands roundtable conference on Thursday, October 10, 2019, in Hyannis. The conference convened 150 climate action leaders and policy makers in state and local government, business, environment, renewable energy, transportation, science, and faith communities from across Cape Cod and beyond to share best practices, strategies and goals for achieving “net zero”—i.e., a carbon neutral footprint—on the Cape & Islands.
This second roundtable event built upon a foundation laid at last September’s inaugural Net Zero Cape & Islands conference, which asked participants to collectively grapple with the nature and scope of the climate crisis and begin to brainstorm strategies for moving the Cape & Islands to this goal. The 2019 “Pathways to Net Zero” conference built upon that foundation to identify the actions that attendees will commit to take in 2020 to move toward the goal.
Keynote speaker Dr. Lynne Carter, a leader in the field of climate change adaptation, mitigation and resiliency noted that the U.S. has already experienced over $1.7 trillion in costs resulting from climate-related natural disasters such as floods, hurricanes, wildfires, droughts, coastal erosion and rising sea levels—dramatic climate changes that are happening now!
Roundtable panels focused on government policy, transportation, financing innovations, offshore wind energy, and the moral imperative to protect our earth. Panelists included Senators Julian Cyr and James Eldridge, Representative Dylan Fernandez, MA Climate Action Network Executive director Carol Oldham, Cape Cod Commission executive director Kristy Senatori Cape Air CEO and former state senator Dan Wolf, Green Energy Consumers Alliance executive director Larry Chretien, Cape Light Compact Administrator Maggie Downey, and Vineyard Wind program manager Nate Mayo.
Panelists discussed a variety of innovative technologies and strategies for reducing greenhouse gas emissions under the topics Policy Driven Action, Transportation Revolution, Innovations in Finance Climate Action and Offshore Wind Done Right. Suggestions discussed included offshore wind power, electric vehicles, electrification of the mass transit system, alternative transportation modes, and renewable energy options like photovoltaics and heat pumps for residential power requirements. All discussions included an explicit recognition that social, economic and environmental justice issues must be considered in future renewable energy resource allocation and impact assessments on underserved populations and vulnerable communities. Conference participants were energized by the ideas and networking and determined to put them into action!
Special guest speaker, U.S. Senator Ed Markey, a long-time climate change pioneer and co-author of the Green New Deal, championed the work of participants and exhorted entities like the Climate Collaborative to help move the region and country forward in climate crisis work. He said, “momentum is on our side” and that local efforts and political energy “will demand the change that is necessary in America.”
The afternoon session featured break-out meetings by sector including the built environment, conservation, education, energy, and transportation, with participants detailing actions and making commitments each sector will take to move the region toward net zero. Conference attendees were energized by the ideas, connections, programs, and teamwork arising in the knowledge that their individual and community-wide actions matter.
To implement roundtable recommendations and commitments over coming months, the Climate Collaborative will convene teams of volunteers, assist with target-setting, facilitate collaboration, and monitor sector progress. And in 2020, we will reconvene to assess overall progress and set new, increasingly ambitious targets for the next year to help the Cape & Islands stay on track to reach net zero emissions by 2050.
Conference sponsors comprised a roster of clean energy proponents including Cape Air, Cape Cod Five Cents Savings Bank, Cape Light Compact, and Vineyard Wind. Its partners included the Association to Preserve Cape Cod, Center for Coastal Studies, Cooperative Bank of Cape Cod and the Woods Hole Research Center.