Energy and Climate Change
Energy and climate change issues are at the core of ELM's policy advocacy work. ELM works to defend and strengthen policies that reduce greenhouse gas emissions and increase local, renewable energy options for Massachusetts customers, along with our partners in the Global Warming Solutions Project (GWSP).
A diversified energy portfolio will keep energy dollars in our state, create local jobs, and protect Massachusetts residents by minimizing the risks of climate change. Although climate change is a global challenge, our energy investments on the state level represent some of the most important decisions in protecting our communities from climate change. Investments made today will either lock us into fossil fuel infrastructure or create a viable pathway to meeting our emissions reductions requirements under the Global Warming Solutions Act.
ELM is a founding member of a new coalition-- Massachusetts Campaign for a Clean Energy Future – uniting groups statewide around the goal of driving down global warming pollution by placing a price on carbon emissions. Together with allies in environmental, business, labor, faith, health and civic groups across the state, ELM is working to advance this next milestone in climate leadership.
Campaign for a Clean Energy Future Goals
- Win a new state policy to reduce carbon pollution and make real progress in combating climate change
- Maximize economic progress by returning money to Massachusetts residents and businesses
- Accelerate the growth of the Commonwealth’s clean energy sector
- Keep more of our state’s energy dollars local rather than allow all of the $20 billion we spend on energy imports every year to leave the state economy
- Ensure that low and moderate income residents benefit from the program
Building on Massachusetts' Leadership
To address the climate crisis that leaves Massachusetts vulnerable to extreme weather, health damage and sea level rise, the state legislature enacted the Global Warming Solutions Act in 2008. The law mandates a 25% reduction of carbon pollution by 2020 and deeper reductions by mid-century.
Are We on Track?
Recent assessments show that Massachusetts has reduced 11% of its carbon pollution below 1990 levels. However, we’re not yet on track to reach the GWSA initial mandate of a 25% reduction of global warming pollution by 2020. Additional new tools and systems are needed to keep our longer term mandate in our sights: at least 80% pollution reductions by 2050.
The Next Step in Climate Leadership
Analysis shows the best way to achieve additional carbon pollution reductions is to place a price on carbon emissions in a tailored policy that reflects Massachusetts’ climate, business, worker, equity and institutional needs.
Lessons Learned: British Columbia
In 2008, the province of British Columbia passed a new policy establishing a price on carbon pollution. Since then, their fuel use has dropped 16%, their clean tech economic sector has grown by 50%, and their economy is outperforming all other provinces in Canada.
Policies pending in Massachusetts
Two bills addressing carbon pricing have been assigned to the Joint Committee on Telecommunication, Utilities and Energy.
What YOU Can Do:
Help Massachusetts take the next step in climate leadership by contacting Governor Baker in support of establishing a state level price on carbon.
The Green Communities Act and the Global Warming Solutions Act
Massachusetts has achieved significant reductions in greenhouse gas emissions as a result of the Green Communities Act and the Global Warming Solutions Act. These laws have created local economic opportunities through energy efficiency and renewable energy projects. ELM, along with the members of the Global Warming Solutions Project (GWSP), monitors the state's progress on reducing emissions and investing in local energy resources.
According to the Global Warming Solutions Act (GWSA) Massachusetts is required to reduce GHG emissions by 25% by 2020 and 80% by 2050. Massachusetts can meet these goals, but it will require bold and sustained policy action in communities across the state. See the GWSA Scorecard for an update on our state's progress and our policy recommendations.
A summary of the Green Communities Act from the Conservation Law Foundation (CLF).
Read more on Green Communities here.