Decarbonizing Martha: Next steps for 100% Renewable MV by 2040
By Rob Hannemann, Vineyard Sustainable Energy Committee
What is the status of our Island-wide effort to adopt aspirational goals to achieve 100% Renewable MV?
In late 2019 and early this year, ICAN, the Vineyard Sustainable Energy Committee (VSEC), and the MVC Climate Action Task Force combined efforts to try and pass non-binding resolutions at each of our towns’ spring annual meeting setting aspirational goals for addressing our energy-related greenhouse gas emissions. Of course, that was before the pandemic. In an effort to support the towns’ desire to simplify and shorten the town meeting agendas, VSEC decided to pull back the warrant articles.
Now it’s August. With the pandemic, nature has told us emphatically that it is in charge, not us. This is a warm-up – climate change is the main event. So, VSEC has continued to discuss how and when the 100% Renewable effort should be restarted. This is complicated by the fact that fall special town meetings have not yet been scheduled, and in fact at least one town (Chilmark) has decided that a special town meeting is not needed at this time. Also, there are differing priorities across the towns.
So, VSEC has decided that the appropriate approach now is for each town energy committee to decide when the 100% renewable article should be brought forward in their town. As of today, at least two up-Island towns (Aquinnah and West Tisbury) will have the article on their fall special town meeting warrant. Down-Island towns will likely focus on completing their quest for Green Communities status.
Why is the adoption of energy and greenhouse gas goals important? The MVC has adopted these goals for their areas of responsibility. At the town level, it’s important to have clear goals in place to guide municipal decisions and to assure town residents that we are addressing the climate crisis in a measureable way.
The MVC Climate Action Task Force has continued its work and has developed models for our Island’s energy use and greenhouse gas footprint under a variety of assumptions and scenarios. Working together, we’ll be establishing strategies to achieve our goals – and we’ll be able to understand how to focus our efforts for maximum impact. So, stay tuned.
Unfortunately, right now, our federal government is a powerful, harmful force. Our state government is doing many of the right things – but the pandemic and its impact is top of mind. Local groups must provide leadership – and here on the Island we are moving forward.
We can do this!