Sarah Jackson FEATURE
Sarah Jackson Sarah Jackson visits a rooftop solar array in downtown Boston. ©: Cameron Bruns/The Nature Conservancy

Stories in Massachusetts

Q&A with Sarah Jackson, Our Northeast Climate and Energy Policy Manager

Your position is new for the Conservancy. What’s your role?
I’m helping the Conservancy find pragmatic solutions across the Northeast to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. To develop clean energy resources, having the right policies in place at the state and regional levels will be essential. I’m working with our state chapters across New England and New York to bring energy policy solutions to decision makers.

What makes the Northeast a good fit?
The region is unique in that all the states have set goals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and many have begun adopting policies to set them on that path. Partly because of this, there are a lot of innovative and important opportunities not only to make a direct impact but also to demonstrate approaches that could be replicated in other parts of the country or across the globe. The Northeast is poised to lead the way in the U.S. for climate solutions.

Could you give an example of an early priority?
The Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) is an existing program in the Northeast that reduces emissions from large fossil-fueled power plants. This is one of the important tools states are using to significantly reduce carbon dioxide emissions and increase energy efficiency investments for homeowners, businesses and local governments. The program is under review to see if it can be strengthened to further cut emissions. I’m working to bring the Conservancy’s voice into the process.

What’s our biggest challenge?
To achieve the emission reductions our planet needs, we need to increase the efficiency of the energy we use, and significantly increase wind, solar, and other forms of renewable energy, while minimizing the impacts of energy development on natural resources. We need to advance energy conservation, encourage new storage technologies, and work with business, government and other partners to develop smart strategies that will produce the energy we need without the unacceptable impacts.