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BEACON HILL HAPPENINGS
– “Carbon pricing is a cornerstone of Senate climate package” (Katie Lannan, SHNS via the MetroWest Daily News): “The Massachusetts Senate plans to take up a far-reaching package of climate bills whose major components include an electric MBTA bus fleet by 2040, carbon-pricing mechanisms for transportation, homes and commercial buildings, and a series of five-year greenhouse gas emissions reduction requirements that ramp up to net-zero emissions in 2050.”
The bill, and all its amendments, will be debated by the full Senate today (1/30) starting at 11:00 am. Voting is likely to go well into the evening. Learn more about the bills, and read a section-by-section breakdown of from Climate XChange here.
– Senators file over 150 amendments to climate package: Between the three bills that make up the Senate’s comprehensive climate package, Senators filed a total of 151 proposed amendments. By and far the most have been proposed by Senator Bruce Tarr the top Republican in the chamber and the Senate Minority Leader, who filed 34. It’s common for him to file a large number of amendments that challenge any major bill backed by the Senate President, who is a Democrat. Other than Tarr, first-year Senator Jo Comerford has filed the most amendments (12) followed by Creem (10), Eldridge (9), and Feeney (8). In total, 27 of the 40 Senate members have proposed amendments to the climate bills.
A number of amendments are backed by specific groups. The state’s carbon pricing coalition is supporting amendments to advance the timeline of carbon pricing (Lewis’ Amendment #34), and re-invest revenue in clean energy and EJ communities (Chang-Diaz’s Amendment #80), among others. The 100% renewable energy coalition is backing an amendment that would require the electric sector to transition to a 100% RPS (Eldridge’s Amendment #53). Read all the proposed amendments here.
– Youth activists host ‘Intergenerational Climate Lobby Day’: On Wednesday (1/29), over 175 youth activists held over 55 meetings with state lawmakers to push for carbon pricing and 100% renewable energy legislation. The lobby day, led by Our Climate, featured students from Sunrise and Fridays for Future, among others. It came only a few days after youth leaders targeted Senate leadership via social media and after a meeting with President Spilka’s staff. They specifically want to see the Senate bill go further in addressing climate change, and have criticized Senate leadership for not consulting youth voices while drafting the bill. Youth climate organizations are backing a series of amendments to the primary Senate bill (S.2477).
– Not all climate activists convinced by Baker’s net-zero pledge: Last week, at his annual State of the Commonwealth address, Governor Baker made a surprise announcement committing the state to a new goal of net zero emissions by 2050. The move was heralded by many groups focused on climate change in the state, but not all. In a Commonwealth Magazine op-ed, 350 Massachusetts Executive Director Craig Altemose said: “Baker represents the ‘business-as-usual approach,’ the notion that we can afford to gradually address this problem without making major and immediate shifts in society.” And in a thread on Twitter, Environment Massachusetts Executive Director Ben Hellerstein said: “It’s possible that a ‘net zero emissions by 2050’ target will result in little to no improvement over the state’s existing legal mandate to reduce greenhouse gas pollution.”
– “Theoharides Letter Will Formalize Net-Zero 2050 Target” (Michael P. Norton, State House News Service): “Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Kathleen Theoharides plans to issue a letter of determination in the coming weeks to formally establish a policy of achieving net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, she told the News Service Thursday. A plan the administration will release later this year will feature tactical steps the administration plans to take to reach the goal, and Theorharides said the state needs to not only reduce emissions from transportation and buildings but also focus on land conservation, agricultural and wetlands protection measures to facilitate carbon storage.” [$]
ALL POLICY IS LOCAL
– “Old Growth, New Problems: The Battle Over Tree-Cutting In Cambridge” (Miriam Wasser, WBUR): [read the article]
– “League of Women Voters to hold climate change forum in Newton” (John Hilliard, Boston Globe): [read the article] [$]
– “Ipswich, Middleton electric departments lead in carbon-free” (Dan Mac Alpine & Wendall Waters, Wicked Local Boxford): [read the article]
– “Baker’s net-zero goal is business-as-usual” by Craig S. Altemose, via Commonwealth Magazine.
– “Her assignment from Baker: Save the environment” by Shirley Leung, via the Boston Globe [$].
– “Recycling programs need a reboot — and some financial help from online retailers” by the Boston Globe Editorial Board [$].
– “Massachusetts Must Pass Climate Legislation” by Paula García, via the Union of Concerned Scientists
– “Massachusetts should preserve what’s left of its wilderness” by Matthew Mixon, via the Eagle-Tribune.
– “Massachusetts is a leader on climate change — but it can do better” by Ken Kimmell, via the Boston Globe [$].
BEYOND THE BAY STATE
– “Judge Approves Oregon Ballot Initiatives, Paving the Way for Climate Action” (Carlie Clarcq, Climate XChange): [read the article]
Missed the last CXC Roundup? Here are the top three climate headlines from last week:
ROUNDUP EXCLUSIVE: Senator Barrett discusses Senate Climate bill
Mass. Senate’s Climate Bills: Overview, Summary, & Context