The 2019 Northeast Climate Energy Summit
The summit convened more than 100 state officials, staff, industry experts for a full day of panel discussions focused on enhancing the sustainability of the region’s energy economy. The conference was organized by the CSG/ERC Energy & Environment Committee, and co-sponsored by the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, and the Yale School of Management.
Several northeastern states have established targets to improve the efficiency of buildings, which are the top energy users in most U.S. cities and a major source of energy-related expenditures for the majority of households. This session featured innovative programs that are making low-carbon technologies affordable for commercial and residential properties, including geothermal energy systems and electric heat pumps. Speakers also discussed strategies for enhancing energy affordability in underserved communities.
Reducing the amount of waste we generate—through composting, reuse, and recycling—is critical to efforts to lower carbon emissions. Communities face a host of challenges when trying to secure sustainable options for waste disposal, though increasingly, innovative policies and technologies are offering solutions. This session explored recent legislative efforts to develop Extended Producer Responsibility programs for post-consumer packaging and reduce consumers’ reliance on single-use plastics, and examined how a local company is turning food waste into energy, compost, and soil-based fertilizers.
Regenerative agriculture refers to a series of farming principles that improve soil health and enhance ecosystem services while also sequestering carbon. States are exploring the use of these practices to reduce the climate impact of agriculture—which makes up 9 percent of greenhouse gas emissions in the United States—and enhance sustainability. This session addressed regenerative agriculture pilot projects in the Northeast and efforts to monetize the benefits through a national market trading program for ecosystem services.