September 19, 2019

Major Investors and Companies Urge MA to Commit to a Net-Zero Carbon Economy

Major investors and companies called on Massachusetts lawmakers today to scale up the Commonwealth’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reduction goals given the increased urgency to address the climate crisis and transition to a net-zero carbon economy.

Massachusetts has long been a leader on acting on climate change—in part because of the Global Warming Solutions Act (GWSA), signed into law in 2008, which mandates that the Commonwealth reduce GHG emissions 25% below 1990 levels by 2020, and 80% by 2050. Some investors and companies are now calling for the Commonwealth to strengthen the law by raising the target to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050.

Over a dozen major investors and companies including Autodesk, Bemis, Biogen, DSM, Eastern Bank, JLL, Novartis, Trillium Asset Management and others with significant operations in the Commonwealth sent a letter to the Massachusetts General Court in support of ratcheting up the GWSA target to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050.

“Massachusetts’ position as a leader in energy efficiency and other clean energy investment provides a strong foundation for promoting and sustaining resilience in the face of tremendous challenges posed by climate change, but additional action is required to rise to the challenges presented by the escalating risks,” they wrote in the letter.

Signatories to the letter support creating robust interim targets and continuing to implement aggressive climate, clean energy and clean transportation solutions to reach net-zero emissions by 2050. Meanwhile, Massachusetts legislators are considering two bills that meet the call for increased ambition to tackle climate change—An Act to create a 2050 roadmap to a clean and thriving commonwealth (H.832) introduced by Rep. Joan Meschino and An Act relative to 2030, 2040, and 2050 emissions limits (S.524) introduced by Sen. Marc R. Pacheco.

“As a mid-sized manufacturer based in Massachusetts, we believe strengthening the Commonwealth’s leadership position related to climate change mitigation is key,” said Alyssa Caddle, director, corporate sustainability, at Bemis. “We embrace our responsibility to lower our carbon footprint, and in order to set a meaningful path to carbon neutrality will need the help of strong state-based mechanisms that enable us to achieve this goal competitively.”

“Worthen Industries understands the economic value of emissions reductions and we are committed to doing our part to bring about a carbon free future,” said Dennis Sasseville, director of corporate sustainability & quality systems at family-owned Worthen Industries. “We encourage legislators to set a net zero goal in order to send a clear market signal to the business community that we all need to raise the bar to mitigate the impacts of climate change.”

“The Commonwealth of Massachusetts has made impressive progress reducing emissions since passing the Global Warming Solutions Act of 2008,” said Sen. Marc R. Pacheco. “But in the decade since setting those requirements, virtually every scientific report released indicates that the worst effects of climate change are approaching more rapidly than we originally anticipated. The net zero energy bill I’ve filed this session would realign our state policies with the latest climate science and I am extremely grateful to the businesses and investors voicing their support for our legislative efforts. Because net zero energy by 2050 is not an option, it is a necessity.”

“It’s exciting to see the business community advance the Commonwealth’s carbon emission reduction goals,” said Rep. Joan Meschino. “Through comprehensive, people-centered planning, the 2050 Roadmap provides a legislative framework to advance the Commonwealth’s climate goals, which will build on the growing green economy.”

This call for increased state action comes in response to the 2018 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report that warned of the need to keep global temperature rise to no more than 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels to avoid the worst impacts of climate change.

Many of the Massachusetts major companies, such as Biogen and Novartis, have already embraced the call to scale up action by setting goals aimed at achieving carbon neutrality by 2050. These companies understand the economic risks of inaction, and they are urging the Commonwealth to follow suit by advancing a net-zero carbon future.

Read the full sign-on letter.

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