More than 150 activists, lawmakers, and business leaders gathered in Hyannis on Thursday to discuss reducing the Cape’s carbon emissions through policy and innovation.
The Cape Cod Climate Change Collaborative, a volunteer organization made up of environmentalists and business leaders, hosted the event.
The collaborative is developing plans to help the state reach net zero carbon emissions by 2050, in part by shifting to 100 percent renewable energy across the state. They hope their efforts will help stave off the worst effects of climate change.
“We’re gonna have to make decisions in the next 10 or 20 years that we thought we’d have to make in the next 100 years,” said state senator Julian Cyr (D-Truro).
Expert panels discussed everything from ways to green our transportation system with electric vehicles, further offshore wind projects, and practice environmental justice.
Carbon emissions, which are largely produced by the transportation sector in Massachusetts, are among the key grenhouse gases driving climate change.
Massachusetts Senator Ed Markey spoke to members of the collaborative, describing the Cape as being the “best example” of how urgent climate action is.
“Tornadoes in July on the Cape are not ordinary,” he said. “And it’s only a preview of coming attractions… not just for the Cape, not just for the islands, not just for Massachusetts, not just for the United States, but for the whole planet.”
The senator has been known as a national leader on climate action, having co-sponsored Green New Deal, a landmark piece of environmental legislation.
“The climate crisis is the national security, economic, health, environmental, and moral challenge of our time, and we do not have an option,” he said to the crowd. “We have to be the leaders who are going to be putting together the solutions.”
While Senator Markey faces multiple challengers for his senate seat, he received a standing ovation from the 150 environmental, policy, and business leaders in attendance.
Like Markey, many speakers discussed the urgency of climate action.
“We are not adjusted to the climate we have,” said Louisiana State University professor Lynne Carter. “How are we going to adjust to the climate that’s coming?”