CLIMATE CHANGE BILL APPROVED

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By Bob Katzen

The House 142-17, approved a climate change bill that addresses a 2050 emissions reduction roadmap, solar energy net metering, grid modernization and workforce development. A key section makes the state’s greenhouse gas emissions reduction goal net zero by 2050 including a 50 percent decrease by 2030, and a 75 percent reduction by 2040.

The Senate has approved a different version of the bill and a conference committee will try to hammer out a compromise version of the measure.

“The science is clear: to avoid the devastation of climate change, greenhouse gas emissions must be reduced to net zero by 2050,” said Rep. Joan Meschino (D-Hull). “This goal will only be met by a comprehensive planning process, which locks in key milestones now to get us there in 30 years. I filed the 2050 Roadmap Bill to help us achieve that objective.”

“We must never forget that our children and other young people are already experiencing the disastrous effects of climate change, and that they aren’t tomorrow’s leaders, but leaders today in a broken world that is already negatively affecting their quality of life,” said Sen. Jack Lewis (D- Framingham). “These young leaders know that we as a species have made our planet sick, and that Band-Aids and well wishes in place of bold climate action will only guarantee our planet’s terminal diagnosis.”

Ben Hellerstein, State Director for Environment Massachusetts said the House bill doesn’t go far enough and missed its chance to put Massachusetts on track to 100 percent renewable energy when it passed this ultimately flawed bill. “A climate scientist recently said that we’re risking a planet-wide ‘five-alarm fire’ with global warming. Now’s the time to show up with a fire hose. Instead, the House is bringing a toy squirt gun,” said Hellerstein.

“While these are good steps, it’s important to be clear about what this bill does not do,” continued Hellerstein. “It does not end the use of dirty, polluting oil and gas. Rather, it allows the burning of fossil fuels to continue for decades, and it postpones necessary action in favor of studies and roadmaps. This roadmap doesn’t take us where we need to go. It puts us on a road that still ends with the use of fossil fuels. That’s a shame.”

Some think the bill goes too far. “The bill acts as an endorsement of the Transportation and Climate Initiative (TCI), as well as allowing for similar tax schemes in the future,” said Paul Gangi of the Massachusetts Fiscal Alliance. The TCI is a regional collaboration of 12 Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states and the District of Columbia that seeks to improve transportation, develop the clean energy economy and reduce carbon emissions from the transportation sector.

“The House’s vote is a blueprint for long term carbon taxes without needing a legislative vote. The bill allows for the Legislature to continue to cede legislative authority to unelected bureaucrats on matters of taxation, regulation, and regional agreements. The final bill included several burdensome amendments, including implementing California style regulations for appliances.

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