The purpose of the Climate Action and Clean Energy Plan is to promote greater understanding of the causes and consequences of climate change in the Pioneer Valley. The plan is intended to help the people of the region respond to climate-related changes in their communities by creating workable strategies for local and regional actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, including greater use and production of clean and renewable energy, and protect their communities from climate-related damage.
This plan identifies the amounts and sources of the Pioneer Valley’s greenhouse gas emissions; offers regional targets for GHG reduction; and recommends strategies for both mitigating climate change impacts and actions to adapt our communities and infrastructure to the climate-related changes that are occurring and will continue to take place.
The regional Climate Action and Clean Energy Plan aims at identifying the steps that communities and regional groups can take to both reduce the greenhouse gas emissions in the region and adapt to expected disruptions in climate patterns.
Unprecedented temperatures, storms and floods in our region and other severe weather events evidence that our climate is changing. The scientific evidence demonstrates that this change is attributable to the surge in greenhouse gas emissions generated by fossil fuel energy sources, such as oil, coal and gas. These emissions trap heat in the earth’s atmosphere, raising world temperatures, increasing water vapor in the air, and ultimately creating more extreme weather events like the ones we have recently experienced in the Pioneer Valley.
As we face new climate patterns in the years ahead, we must become more resilient to confront increasing risks to infrastructure and human life. The recent tornados and flooding from tropical storm Irene illustrated the risks and costs we are facing due to disrupted weather patterns. Proactively adapting to the possibility of these weather events will save lives and money.
It is also our responsibility to reduce our contribution of pollutants that continuously disrupt the climate patterns that put us at risk. By cutting our use of fossil fuels and transitioning to more renewable energy sources we can avoid putting more greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere and improve our community’s social, economic, and environmental resiliency.