An Equitable, Clean Energy Recovery for New England
by Joan Fitzgerald
As part of the GRI Whitepaper Series, GRI has released 10 Special Investigation Reports supported by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). These reports bring together analysis and policy recommendations in cross-cutting critical areas including municipal and state budgets, housing, food, healthcare, K-12 education, childcare, higher education, small business, energy, and fisheries. Each sector-specific report was authored by subject matter experts of these areas from GRI’s Northeastern Faculty Affiliates and Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Lincoln Laboratory, providing an in-depth, accessible review of the challenges, opportunities and actionable policy considerations in each area facing the COVID-19 crisis.
The COVID-19 pandemic has created the need for massive federal investment to stimulate a recovery. Government investment will either integrate considerations of climate change and transition to renewable energy or thwart transformation by reinforcing the status quo of fossil fuel-based system. In addition to a green recovery, we need one that ensures that the environmental justice communities most negatively impacted by the COVID pandemic benefit from job creation, incentives for energy efficiency and adopting clean energy, and air quality improvements.
Before the pandemic, the New England states were among the national leaders in implementing aggressive policies to promote clean energy and reduce reliance on fossil fuels. They were beginning to focus on making this transition equitable. The Covid-19 pandemic has laid bare the need to accelerate and combine these agendas. All evidence shows that investing in a renewable future will create a stronger, more equitable and more resilient recovery than one based on fossil fuels.