Normally, this meeting is a low key affair that doesn’t have a big impact on the place where it is being held. That was not the case this year. Protests outside the meeting drew attention to issues, like potential import of tar sands oil into New England, that were not on the formal meeting agenda.
An Op-Ed by CLF President John Kassel which ran in a number of regional newspapers before and after the meeting and can now be found on the CLF blog, as well as those protests and pointed inquiries by the press in the meeting forced drew focus towards important and contentious issues like tar sands oil imports and the Northern Pass project.
But the action inside the conference was real and important. Some notable highlights:
- The Governors adopted a plan for “regional procurement” of renewable energy that creates an important framework for getting much needed clean renewable energy to get built across New England
- The Governors and Premiers came together to hail the progress that has been made to reduce greenhouse gas emissions across our shared region since 2001 and to lay out a framework for further action
- A plan was adopted for moving towards a cleaner transportation system that maintains and builds mobility while moving away from gasoline and other dirty fuels that produce a range of pollutants
The overall story here is of a cross-border region that is struggling to do the right thing for its economy and its environment. The challenge we all face is ensuring that our states and provinces live up to the promises of their words, making the difficult transition away from dirty fossil fuels and providing leadership to both the United States and Canada to build a new clean energy economy.