Meeting our Climate Commitments
The Global Warming Solutions Act (GWSA) and the Green Communities Act, both enacted in 2008, represent the core of the Commonwealth’s commitment to continue this effort and protect our citizens from the risks of climate change while reducing our dependence on fossil fuels. The Global Warming Solutions Project (GWSP) was created as a multi-disciplinary effort to facilitate and maximize the implementation of the GWSA. Our Clean Energy and Climate Scorecard for 2015 is the second annual report to be issued to track progress towards meeting the GWSA requirements. In it we evaluate the actions of the first year of the Baker Administration and the policy actions outlined in its recent Clean Energy and Climate Plan (CECP) Update and provide additional recommendations to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Baker Climate Plan Unlikely to Meet GWSA GHG Reductions Requirements for 2020 and 2050
However, as in our previous Scorecard, we find that, without new policy action, Massachusetts is not likely to achieve our 2020 requirement of 25% below 1990 levels and remain on track to achieve our 2050 requirement of 80% below 1990 levels. The report’s major findings include:
- Massachusetts Will Not Meet its 2020 GHG Reduction Requirement Without Urgent Action by the Baker Administration
- Hydropower Imports Alone Will Not Be Sufficient to Achieve our Climate Goals
- Expanded Gas Pipeline Infrastructure is Incompatible with the GWSA and our Clean Energy Goals
- Additional Actions Needed in the Transportation Sector
- Planning for 2050 Must Begin Now, including Interim Requirements for 2030 and 2040
Climate Leadership Action the Baker Administration Should Take this Year
A number of important choices need to be made to advance the Commonwealth’s climate leadership and to promote our economy. We suggest the Baker Administration achieve solid progress on the following this year:
- Work to pass comprehensive energy legislation that includes Class 1 renewable energy resources, including offshore wind power
- Direct the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to promulgate regulations required in the GWSA (Section 3(d) under Chapter 21 N)
- Partner with RGGI states to encourage deeper carbon cuts beyond 2020
- Avoid investments in gas pipelines and other infrastructure that would hinder compliance with the 2020 and 2050 requirements
- Promulgate MassDEP regulations on refrigerant equipment to curb HFC leakage.
- Ensure the electric and gas utilities meet their 2016-2018 energy efficiency savings requirements and set ambitious goals for the 2019-2021 plan.
- Update the “stretch” energy code for new residential and commercial buildings to achieve savings above the 2015 base energy code.
- Adopt measures to reduce transportation emissions in line with economy-wide reductions of at least 80% by 2050, including taking a leadership role in the Transportation & Climate Initiative.
- Support legislation to upgrade Massachusetts’ outdated zoning laws to encourage more mixed-use and transit-oriented development and walkable communities.
- Set economy-wide interim planning requirements (at least 40% reduction by 2030 and at least 65% by 2040), start using these immediately in all state policymaking and decision-making, and make concrete progress toward a deep decarbonization study.
Progress on Meeting GWSA Requirements
For the latest state report on our progress towards meeting the carbon pollution reduction requirements under the GWSA, see the GWSA Dashboard website maintained by the state Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA). Public reporting shows that we have achieved emissions reductions of 20% as of 2013, which is important progress but significant work remains to be done to achieve the full 25% reduction with 2020 rapidly approaching. The Baker Administration laid its plans for meeting the 2020 requirement in an updated Clean Energy and Climate Plan in early 2016, which the state is required to undertake every 5 years.
The full CECP Update is available on the EEA website.
GWSP collaborators include Acadia Center, Appalachian Mountain Club, Better Future Project, Clean Water Action, Climate Xchange, Conservation Law Foundation, Environmental Entrepreneurs, Environment Mass., Health Care Without Harm,Massachusetts Climate Action Network, Mass Energy Consumers Alliance, Metropolitan Area Planning Council, Massachusetts Interfaith Power and Light, National Consumer Law Center, Northeast Energy Efficiency Partnerships, National Wildlife Federation, UMass-Boston Center for Sustainability Enterprise and Regional Competitiveness, representatives from state legislature and municipal government, labor, business and more.