June 25th Roundup: Pope Francis & SEIU 32BJ announce carbon pricing support

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– Today on Beacon Hill: Over 25 bills relating to solar energy will receive a hearing today on Beacon Hill before the Joint Energy Committee. The hearing will begin at 1:00 PM in Hearing Room B-2 and will be chaired by Senator Michael Barrett.

– SEIU Affiliate Comes Out For Carbon Pricing, Sends Letter to Legislative Leaders: SEIU 32BJ, a union representing over 155,000 service workers across New England has come out in support of carbon pricing legislation in Massachusetts. In a letter of support to House Speaker DeLeo and Senate President Spilka the union cited the impact of climate change on SEIU members, and the need to include equity and justice in finding policy solutions to the climate crisis.

Read more about why SEIU 32BJ supports carbon pricing in a conversation between Roxana Rivera of SEIU 32BJ and Climate XChange Policy & Research Director Marc Breslow.

– “A Whale Of A Problem: Youth Climate Activists Construct Mosaic In Boston, Demand Action” (Miriam Wasser, WBUR’s Earthwhile): “Using more than 1,200 individually painted tiles, youth climate activists with the nonprofit Our Climate constructed a giant mosaic on Boston Common this weekend. They arranged the tiles in the shape of a mother and calf pair of North Atlantic right whales, a critically endangered species threatened by climate change….More than a few tiles included language about carbon pricing, one of Our Climate’s main legislative priorities.”

– “How will Massachusetts pay for its climate change responses? Baker says taxes, DeLeo says borrowing” (Steph Solis, MassLive): “Environmental bills proposed by Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker and House Speaker Robert DeLeo — both promising to invest $1 billion over a decade — came up in separate committees Tuesday as lawmakers weighed how to pay for climate resiliency projects. Baker’s bill, which involves a real estate transfer tax increase, had a hearing Tuesday afternoon before the Revenue Committee. DeLeo’s bill, which proposes funding competitive grants through bonds, had a hearing at the same time before the Telecommunications, Utilities and Energy Committee.”

– “State Funding For Electric Vehicle Rebates Dries Up” (Craig LeMoult, WGBH): “After September, Massachusetts won’t give rebates to people who buy electric vehicles. The state program behind the rebates is running out of money. For the last five years, the state has been giving $1,500 rebates to people who buy electric vehicles. The MOR-EV program has given over $30 million to more than 14,000 electric vehicle buyers. But as electric vehicles get more popular, money for the program has been running dry, and state lawmakers have failed to extend the program.”

– “Report: Climate change will cost state $18 billion” (Christian M. Wade, SHNS via the Eagle Tribune): “Massachusetts will have spend more than $18 billion to fortify its coastline against rising seas and monster storms fueled by a changing climate, according to a new report. The report, compiled by the Washington D.C.-based Center for Climate Integrity — a nonprofit that supports states and communities that sue polluters — estimates the state would have to spend that much over the next 20 years to to fortify seawalls and other barriers to defend against erosion, flooding and other impacts of a warming planet.”


– “Confused About The Weymouth Compressor? Here’s What You Need To Know” (Miriam Wasser, WBUR’s Earthwhile): “For the last few years, a coalition of South Shore towns and local activists have worked to block the construction of a natural gas compressor station in North Weymouth…. So whether you’ve been reading about the issue for years and have questions, or are hearing about the project for the first time, here’s what you need to know.”

– “With More Storms and Rising Seas, Which U.S. Cities Should Be Saved First?” (Christopher Flavelle, NY Times): “The new research identifies 241 cities of 25,000 people or more that will require at least $10 million worth of sea walls by 2040 just to protect against a typical annual storm.” Among those considered the most expensive cities in the country to protect with sea walls: Barnstable, Massachusetts. The research indicates that seawalls will cost a total of $889.2 million, or $20,062 per resident of Barnstable, the second highest cost per resident after Galveston Texas.


– “We Need Carbon Pollution Fee To Combat Climate Change” by State Senator Jason Lewis and Gabrielle Watson, via the Winchester Patch.

– “Even Oil Companies Want A Federal Price On Carbon” by Anne Kelly, via WBUR’s Cognoscenti.

– “Baker must step up on transportation crisis” by James Aloisi, via Commonwealth Magazine.


– Local Green Businesses Awarded for Achievement, Innovation, and Community: Over 75 business leaders gathered in District Hall in Boston on Monday, June 24th, as part of the Climate Action Business Association’s (CABA) 6th annual All-Member Reception. The reception featured a Q&A with cleantech incubator Greentown Labs and awards for three CABA member businesses. Awardees included Enevo (Innovation Award), Sunwealth(Achievement Award), and Willie’s Superbrew (Community Award).

– “It’s true: Environmental and business groups are on the same page”(Jon Chesto, Boston Globe): “AIM and ELM cosigned a letter to Governor Charlie Baker on Thursday that offers guidance and support as state officials help hammer out a regional cap-and-trade system for transportation fuels. The letter was sent to coincide with a multistate meeting in Boston regarding this nascent program, dubbed the Transportation & Climate Initiative, and circulated among the participants on Friday.”


– “Jay Inslee has a radical plan to phase out fossil fuel production in the US” (David Roberts, Vox): “Jay Inslee’s presidential campaign has been releasing its climate policy — the central rationale for its existence — in pieces. Extremely large, detailed, and nuanced pieces… On Monday, the fourth piece, “Freedom From Fossil Fuels,” is out. It is in many ways the most radical piece yet, and likely to be the most controversial. It is about cutting off the flow of fossil fuels from the US — “keeping it in the ground,” as the kids say.”

– “U.S. Medical Groups Warn Candidates: Climate Change Is a ‘Health Emergency’” (Nina Pullano, InsideClimate News): “More than 70 health organizations signed a statement that, among other things, calls for a move away from fossil fuels. The groups cite storm and flood emergencies, chronic air pollution, the spread of diseases carried by insects, and especially heat-related illnesses.”


– “Pope backs carbon pricing to stem global warming and appeals to deniers” (Reuters): “Pope Francis said on Friday that carbon pricing is “essential” to stem global warming – his clearest statement yet in support of penalising polluters – and appealed to climate change deniers to listen to science.”

– “Webinar Recap: A Federal Price on Carbon” (Mary Potts, Climate XChange): Missed Climate XChange’s most recent webinar? Listen to the full recap, which includes a conversation with experts from the Brookings Institute and Citizens Climate Lobby.

– “Oregon Senate Republicans Flee State to Avoid Vote on Cap-and-Invest Bill” (Noa Dalzell, Climate XChange): “A Senate vote on Oregon’s highly-anticipated cap-and-invest bill (HB 2020) was scheduled for yesterday, June 20th, but Senate Republicans have left the Capitol in a last-ditch effort to block the legislation. The GOP lawmakers, holding super minorities in both legislative chambers, have repeatedly proposed amendments to weaken the bill and maintained that cap-and-invest should be deferred to the ballot. Nevertheless, the bill is on the brink of passage.”


– “A Closer Look at New York City’s New Groundbreaking Climate Bill” (Noa Dalzell, Climate XChange): “Local Law 97, which was overwhelmingly approved by the New York City Council on April 18, caps the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions of large, energy-intensive buildings, and hits non-complying building owners with steep fines. The bill, which is the first of its kind in the country, seeks to address the fact that buildings make up the largest percentage of emissions in the city, responsible for about two-thirds of its overall emissions in 2017. Heating, cooling, and lighting buildings all require significant energy, and many skyscrapers are particularly inefficient.”

– “Invenergy Defeated, Power Plant Denied Permit” (Conservation Law Foundation): Rhode Island’s Energy Facilities Siting Board (EFSB) decided today that it would not grant a permit necessary for the construction of Invenergy’s fossil fuel plant in Burrillville. After years of legal challenges from CLF and residents, the plant will not be built.

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