Dennis Carlone joins with Mothers Out Front to call on the City to switch to 100% Renewable Energy

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Working together with Mothers Out Front, Cambridge City Councillor Dennis Carlone has introduced a policy order that aims to switch the City of Cambridge from a conventional blend of fossil fuel-based electricity to 100% renewable energy for all municipal operations (i.e. city buildings, schools, street lights, etc.).

Presently, the City's electric power is supplied via a contract with TransCanada, the corporate entity behind the notorious Keystone XL Pipeline. The Keystone proposal would bring oil from the Alberta Tar Sands to the United States and has been described as "game over" for the environment by noted scientist Jim Hansen. 

With this policy order, Councillor Carlone is asking the City to terminate its business relationship with TransCanada.

"Let's end our dealings with TransCanada," Councillor Carlone said in an email to residents. "The same logic that applies to the fossil fuel divestment campaign applies here -- if TransCanada is going to continue with its business of extracting oil from tar sands, then we shouldn't be buying our electricity from them," he added.

Of course, if the order is adopted, a new supplier of municipal electricity will have to be identified. To that end, Councillor Carlone is calling on the City to switch to a supplier that relies on 100% renewable energy. Two years ago, Palo Alto took a similar leap, adopting a Carbon Neutral Electric Plan that now has the city running carbon free.

The idea for the policy order was sparked by Councillor Carlone's recent meetings with Mothers Out Front, a promising new climate advocacy group that traces its roots to Cambridge. In the picture seen above, Councillor Carlone met with local members of Mothers Out Front and celebrated the fact that he recently switched to 100% renewable power for his own home. Mothers Out Front is now encouraging all Cambridge City Councillors to make the switch as well.

Residents interested in speaking on this proposal are encouraged to attend public comment at Monday's council meeting, which will be held in a special location, the CRLS Attles Meeting Room, 459 Broadway. [UPDATE: Monday's meeting has been postponed until Thursday, Jan. 29 due to the snow emergency. Same procedures for offering public comment will apply on Thursday.] Public comment starts at 5:30 pm, and the deadline for adding your name to the list of speakers is 6 pm. You may also call the city council office between the hours of 9 am and 3 pm (617.349.4280) to ask to be put on the speaker's list. Be sure to say you want to talk about Policy Order #18. Alternatively, you may also email the full council at council@cambridgema.gov and be sure to include the City Clerk at dlopez@cambridgema.gov.

The full text of the policy order is posted below...

 

City Council Office
 Policy Order Resolution  
  O-18
  IN CITY COUNCIL
 
  January 26, 2015
COUNCILLOR CARLONE
 

 

WHEREAS: The City of Cambridge obtains electricity for municipal operations through a contract with TransCanada Corporation; and
     
WHEREAS: TransCanada is the driving force behind Keystone XL, a proposal to create a 1,179-mile pipeline to deliver tar sands oil from Canada to the United States; and
    
WHEREAS: Jim Hansen, former director of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies, has stated that the Keystone XL pipeline would mean "game over" for the environment, because exploitation of tar sands oil would make it implausible to stabilize climate and avoid disastrous global climate impacts; and 
     
WHEREAS:

It has come to the attention of the City Council that our contract with TransCanada is set to expire at the end of the year; now therefore be it 

    
ORDERED: That the City Manager be and hereby is requested not to enter into any future contracts to obtain electricity from TransCanada; and be it further
    

ORDERED:

That the City Manager be and hereby is requested to investigate the possibility of entering into an agreement to obtain up to 100% renewable power for all municipal electricity needs; and be it further
     

ORDERED:

That the City Manager be and hereby is requested to report back to the City Council on this matter.

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