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BEACON HILL HAPPENINGS
– Carbon Pricing Receives Airing in Commonwealth Magazine: Last week the Commonwealth Magazine ran two opinion editorials on carbon pricing in Massachusetts. One authored by the Mass Fiscal Alliance, a shadowy dark money funded group known for targeting Democrats in the state, and the Beacon Hill Institute (BHI), a think-tank with fiscal ties to the Koch brothers, which sought to discredit Representative Jen Benson’s carbon pricing bill using a study conducted by BHI. The other op-ed, authored by Climate XChange researchers Dr. Marc Breslow and Jonah Kurman-Faber, sought to set the record straight on Rep Benson’s carbon pricing legislation and expose the faulty economics & untruths underlying the BHI study. Dr Beslow and Kurman-Faber point to a 2014 study conducted by the state that found that a carbon price like Rep Benson’s would create upwards of 10,000 local jobs and increase income for residents of the state. At the same time, they point to numerous instances where BHI cherry-picks findings, use largely incomplete data, and ignore the economic benefits of carbon pricing. In political circles, the broadside by Mass Fiscal is seen as a sign that Rep Benson’s style of carbon pricing, which invests heavily in the local economy and creates jobs, is gaining traction among policymakers on Beacon Hill this session.
– “Carbon tax proposal gaining steam on Beacon Hill” (Steve LeBlanc, AP via Boston.com): “A bill designed to rev up the state’s reliance on renewable energy by imposing a charge on carbon emissions is gaining steam at the Massachusetts Statehouse… Thirty percent of all the revenue collected under the legislation — about $400 to $600 million a year — would be funneled into a Green Infrastructure Fund to help state agencies and cities and towns pay for transportation, resiliency, and renewable energy projects aimed at reducing carbon pollution.”
– GreenWorks Bill Update: Speaker DeLeo’s GreenWorks legislation, which invests $1.3 billion in coastal resiliency and in some microgrids, is continuing to move through the House at breakneck speed. Last week it received its second public hearing, and a third version has been released from the House bonding committee, along with a new bill number (H.3972). The bill is now before the House Ways & Means committee, likely its last major stop before getting a vote on the floor by the full House of Representatives.
– “Massachusetts bills aim to promote efficient appliances, net-zero housing” (Sarah Shemkus, Energy News Network): “The Massachusetts state Legislature has advanced a flurry of bills that would boost energy efficiency in the state, helping it reach ambitious emissions reduction goals and solidifying its position as a national leader in energy efficiency… The legislation includes proposals that would create a program to convert low-income housing into energy neutral buildings, enact energy performance standards for large buildings and a range of appliances, and encourage the adoption of heat pumps for heating and cooling.”
– “New Environmental Secretary Katie Theoharides touts climate initiatives” (Shira Schoenberg, MassLive): “Flash flooding due to heavy rainfall. Heat waves that hurt older adults. An increase in Lyme disease. These are some of the dangers of climate change that Massachusetts Energy and Environmental Secretary Katie Theoharides discusses as she touts Gov. Charlie Baker’s administration’s efforts to help fight climate change. Theoharides, who replaced former Energy Secretary Matt Beaton at the end of May, met with editors and reporters of The Republican/MassLive.com on Thursday.”
ALL POLICY IS LOCAL
– “If no action is taken, here’s how hot it will get in Mass. by century’s end” (Danny McDonald, the Boston Globe): “The number of days each year in Massachusetts with an average heat index over 90 degrees will more than quadruple by mid-century if nothing is done to reduce carbon emissions, according to a new report… Historically, the heat index has topped 90 degrees in Massachusetts seven days a year, on average. But if there is no global action to reduce heat-trapping emissions, that number would increase to an average of 33 days per year by mid-century and 62 by century’s end, the study found. The 90-degree heat index threshold is generally the point when outdoor workers become susceptible to heat-related illness, researchers said.”
– “Watertown to buy electricity for Watertown Electricity Choice” (Wicked Local Watertown): “Watertown Electricity Choice is a municipal electricity aggregation, which is a group buy program for electricity supply. Massachusetts state law allows cities and towns to aggregate electricity customers within their borders and select an electricity supplier on behalf of those customers, rather than having Eversource buy their electricity. Municipal aggregations are heavily regulated by the state and offer many consumer protections not available with private for-profit programs.”
– “Our Opinion: State carbon tax should be explored” by the Berkshire Eagle Editorial Board.
– “Letter: We need to protect trees, not burn them” by Karen Martin, via Wicked Local Boxford.
ITS THE (LOCAL) GREEN ECONOMY, STUPID
– “Experts: State’s goal to have 300,000 electric vehicles by 2025 will be a challenge” (Cesareo Contreras , Milford Daily News): “The state has a goal of having 300,000 zero-emission vehicles on the road by 2025. But while sales are growing rapidly, the looming expiration of rebate incentives combined with concerns over vehicle costs and suitable infrastructure are likely to result in the state coming up short of its goal, according to several experts.”
– “The climate forum fallout from The New Republic’s Buttigieg fiasco” (Ben Geman, Axios): “The New Republic will no longer co-host a climate forum for Democratic presidential hopefuls following criticism over a now-retracted article attacking Pete Buttigieg. The big picture: It’s a stumble for efforts to deepen the election-cycle discussion of global warming.”
PRICE THAT CARBON
– “’Anything That Moves the Ball Forward.’ Some Green New Deal Supporters Back Carbon Tax, Too” (Justin Worland, Time) “How should we fight climate change? The most progressive Democrats say the answer is something like the Green New Deal, a massive government program aimed at reorienting American society. A more traditionally conservative answer is something like a carbon tax, making greenhouse gases more expensive and letting the market sort it out. But for some Democrats, either one — or even better, both — will do.”
INSIDE THE BELTWAY
– “Elizabeth Warren reintroduces legislation requiring corporations to disclose climate risk exposure” (Emma Newburger, CNBC): “Sen. Elizabeth Warren reintroduces legislation that would force companies to disclose their exposure to climate-related risks… The measure requires fossil fuel companies to release even more detailed reports and pushes firms to switch more quickly to cleaner and more efficient energy sources… The announcement comes amid growing investor concerns that assets are priced insecurely because of certain climate risks that are not being factored in.”
– “The Plan to Fix Climate Change in the Senate” (Robinson Meyer, the Atlantic): “In the 2020 election, they must defeat President Donald Trump, reclaim the Senate, and retain a majority in the House of Representatives. And then they have to find something to pass before members of Congress start getting cold feet about the 2022 election. Even in a best-case scenario, the moment will be a nerve-racking, high-stakes one for climate advocates. So Senate Democrats are trying to front-load as much of that work as possible.”
GLOBAL CLIMATE CHANGE
– “What shapes your beliefs about the climate crisis? It’s not just left vs. right.” (Kate Yoder, Grist): “Until recently, surprisingly little research explored the role our close relationships play in configuring opinions about our overheating planet. But that’s changing. A study from North Carolina State University last month, for instance, showed that middle schoolers who learned about climate change were pretty good at convincing their parents to care about it — especially conservative parents.”
– “California’s Wildfires Are 500 Percent Larger Due to Climate Change” (Robinson Meyer, the Atlantic): “A new study, published this week in the journal Earth’s Future, finds that the state’s fire outbreak is real—and that it’s driven by climate change. Since 1972, California’s annual burned area has increased more than fivefold, a trend clearly attributable to the warming climate, according to the paper.”
– “Extending The Lives Of Nuclear Energy Plants Will Help To Combat Climate Change Threat”by Ken Silverstein, via Forbes.
– “We were already over 350ppm when I was born” by Jamie Margolin, via the Guardian.