CLIMATE XCHANGE Policy Roundup: Baker admin doubles down on CLEAN PEAK—bill would allow CLIMATE CHANGE DONATIONS via taxes

ROUNDUP ON TWITTER: Are you interested in learning about the latest in clean energy and climate change as it happens? Follow me on Twitter (@TimCroninMA) and look for the hashtag #CXCPolicyRoundup for the latest policy news and analysis in Massachusetts and beyond.

Beacon Hill Happenings--

-MA Energy Commissioner Doubles Down on Clean Peak Standard: At a meeting of the Global Warming Solutions Project (GWSP) network DOER Commissioner Judith Judson reaffirmed the Baker administration’s support for a clean peak standard. A clean peak standard is a relatively new policy tool, first developed in Arizona, that seeks to subsidize construction of storage and other methods with the goal of reducing energy costs at peak demand periods.
Members of the GWSP pushed back, arguing that the policy is untested, may hurt ISO-NE markets, and is not be the best means of increasing energy storage. Instead, they argue, the state should focus on procuring solar and wind energy with an added storage requirement, a proposal the Commissioner did not dismiss. Regardless the Commissioner stated the state has the existing authority to institute a clean peak standard, but would prefer to go through the legislature. A bill (H.1747) released from committee last week to increase the state’s RPS included an amendment that would create a clean peak standard.
Commissioner Judson also sought to assure the energy policy and environmental activists present that clean peak would not be used as a backdoor tactic to build more pipelines.
-Cardinal O’Malley joins 500 other religious leaders & scientists urge action on Climate Change via NCR: Led by Boston Cardinal Sean O’Malley, religious and scientific leaders joined to press Massachusetts to increase its efforts to combat climate change to “protect our communities from the catastrophic impacts” of a warming planet.

#Mapoli Bill Watch--

-“Mass. bill would let taxpayers aid countries hit by climate change” via The Washington Times: State lawmaker Sen. Mike Barrett (D-Lexington) wants to let residents donate to the 28 poorest countries hit hardest by climate change through their tax returns. The bill would add a line to state tax forms to let taxpayers make a donation over and above their regular payment, and he says is a reaction to the Trump administration’s withdrawal from the Paris Accords.
The bill (S.2232) has been reported favorably by the Joint Revenue committee and is currently before the Senate Ways & Means committee.

Global Climate Change--

-“World can limit global warming to 1.5C by ‘improving energy efficiency’ via Carbon Brief: According to a new “landmark” study, emerging technologies like multipurpose smartphones and autonomous electric cars may be vital to improving energy efficiency and ultimately limiting global warming. The study also includes policymaking strategies to implement a rapid increase in global energy efficiency.
-Climate Engineering: From Science Fiction to Reality via Communications Fellow Jackie Ryan: When you think about climate change solutions, you might picture sleek electric vehicles or rows of solar panels. But another technique that has been gaining more traction over the years takes climate action to new and unprecedented heights: geo-engineering. Geo-engineering is a broad experimental field designed to mitigate the effects of global warming. Find out more here.

All News Is Local--

-Central Massachusetts Communities Receive Climate Change Grants via GovTech: The state awarded additional climate change grants to 11 central Massachusetts towns and cities. The grants are part of the overarching Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness (MVP) program launched in 2017 by Governor Baker and are designed to assist local communities in mitigating the impacts of climate change.

Beyond The Bay State--

-“The Trump administration took a major step to roll back clean car rules” via the New York Times: On Thursday the EPA released its awaited proposal to roll back Obama era car emission rules. The old rules required automakers to make cars that reached 50 mpg by 2025 and was based off standards first adopted by California. The new rules are likely to create two separate car markets between states that will still use the California standard (including Massachusetts) and those that don’t.
-Governor Paul LePage and Central Maine Power fighting for Massachusetts transmission project via FreePress: A proposed $950 million transmission project in Maine is pitting local environmental advocates against Maine’s governor and largest utility. The project would bring Canadian hydro to Massachusetts energy customers via a new transmission line constructed from the Canadian border to Lewiston ME.


-“Retiring more nuclear plants could hurt Mass. climate goals” via the Boston Globe’s Editorial Team.
-“Trump plan to bail out coal industry punishes red states the most” via ThinkProgress’s Joe Romm column.
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