Happy New Year! While the frigid Midwest winter has finally set in around us, the Delta offices are buzzing with activity. Looking back on 2015, two key milestones—the Clean Power Plan and the UN Paris Agreement — remind of us of the critical importance of our work in the Great Lakes region and instill a renewed sense of urgency.
Achieving the Paris Agreement’s goals of “holding the increase in the global average temperature rise to well below 2º C” and creating “a balance between anthropogenic emissions by sources and removals by sinks of greenhouse gases” will require innovative thinking and a wide network of collaborators. We’re eager to work with our partner network in the shift away from fossil fuels and create climate-smart solutions for our region’s rural and urban landscapes.
Here’s how we plan to effect change in support of the Paris Agreement in 2016:
With power plants shutting down across the country and more expected to close or convert to natural gas, we’re helping coal communities navigate this complicated transition. In 2016, we’ll continue to facilitate the transition away from a fossil fuels by empowering communities to access federal funding, define a new economic vision, and plan for site redevelopment.
This year, we’ll scale up our agriculture work to increase conservation, improve climate resilience, and lessen impacts on environmental quality. Collaborating with partners in the private and public sectors, we’ll show how farms can be managed to reduce emissions from fertilizers and to capture carbon by restoring soils. We will be looking at how impact investing, supply chain coordination, and ecosystem markets can change how we view and value agriculture in the region.
Our energy system in the Midwest, which is responsible for 500 million metric tons of energy-related greenhouse (GHG) gas emissions (out of an estimated 32 billion metric tons worldwide), has significant potential to mitigate GHG emissions. The energy landscape is shifting rapidly, with growth in both natural gas availability, energy efficiency, and renewable energy disrupting the energy business model. We are developing new programs around these disruptive forces that will encourage quicker and more impactful change with new focus and partnerships. We will also be looking at new business models that can build upon our energy behavior change research.
We begin 2016 with a list of ambitious plans that I know our team is excited to tackle, and we look forward to working with you to make them happen!
Interim CEO and Managing Director