BEACON HILL HAPPENINGS
– Baker administration announces boost in emissions targets…. of just 5 percent: Earlier this year, Governor Baker announced a new state mandate of “net zero emissions by 2050” during is annual State of the Commonwealth address. Since then his administration, led by EEA Secretary Theoharides, has been moving forward with the formal process of setting new emissions limits. After soliciting over 1,000 comments, the administration formally announced (on Earth Day) that they would be shifting the state’s emission limit from an 80% reduction (where it was set pre-announcement) to an 85% reduction.
The move was met with swift criticism. “All they’ve done today in celebration of Earth Day is moved from 80 percent to 85 percent,” Senator Barrett, Chair of the Senate Energy Committee, said in a statement to the State House News Service. “It’s not what the state Senate wants. Silly math on Earth Day is a letdown. I think they can do better.”
Additionally, environmental groups, from the Mass Power Forward (MPF) coalition to the Environmental League of Massachusetts, pushed back on what they see as a weak emissions reductions target. In a statement, MPF also expressed “dismayed at the disregard for the recommendations made by climate justice activists.”
With the target now set by the state, officials will work over the coming year to outline exactly how they plan to meet its 85% emissions reduction, as well as set a new ‘intermediate target’ for the state to achieve in 2030. Some groups, including the state-wide carbon pricing coalition, are urging the administration to include aggressive new commitments like pricing carbon pollution economy-wide.
– “State Official Says Mass. Climate Goals Remain On Schedule Despite Pandemic” (Bruce Gellerman, WBUR): [read the article]
– Climate activists call on lawmakers to extend session: In an online petition, climate activist group 350 Massachusetts is encouraging its members to “extended legislative session so that our climate bills get the proper consideration they deserve.”
– “Speakers push for legislation during virtual Earth Day celebration” (Shelby Ashline, Greenfield Recorder): [read the article]
– More climate, energy bills on the move: Late last week three more Senate bills were referred favorably to the Senate Ways & Means Committee:
- An Act for community empowerment (S.1945), Senator Cyr
- An Act relative to home energy efficiency (S.1983), Senator Lesser
- An Act relative to natural gas safety and responsibility (S.1967), Senator Finegold
– For the most up-to-date info on COVID-19 & Beacon Hill…..
- The State House News Service coronavirus updates tracker” see the latest updates here.
- MassTrac COVID-19 bill tracker: Check it out, and follow updates, here.
ALL POLICY IS LOCAL
– “Baker Says Locals Can Shut Down Weymouth Compressor Construction. But They’re Not Sure That’s True” (Miriam Wasser & Barbara Moran, WBUR): [read the article]
– “Markey, Warren seek Weymouth compressor station’s coronavirus plan” (Joe DiFazio, Patriot Ledger): [read the article]
– Western Mass environmental group joins national org in climate lawsuit: A new federal lawsuit (Food & Water Watch and Berkshire Environmental Action Team v Federal Energy Regulatory Commission), charges that FERC, the national body that regulates new gas infrastructure projects, is failing to consider the climate impacts of the pipelines and related infrastructure that it is tasked with reviewing and approving. The suit concerns a Springfield, Massachusetts compressor station, but could impact the approval of all fossil fuel projects across the nation. Read the press release here.
– “On Earth Day, Division Among Berkshire County Environmental Groups Over Housatonic Plan” (Josh Landes, WAMC Northeast Report): [read the article]
– “How Do We Keep Pollution Reductions After This Crisis? Invest in Climate and Public Health” by Ruby Wincele, via Climate XChange.
– “A New Kind of Environmentalist’s Dilemma: Earth Day in the Times of COVID19” via Climate XChange Editorial Staff.
– “Upend the political power of carbon polluters” by Leah Stokes, via the Boston Globe. [$]
– “OK, here’s my Earth Day edu-rant…” by Representative Tommy Vitolo, via Twitter & the Thread Treader App.
– “Massachusetts voters are smart when it comes to climate change” by Senator Ed Markey, via MassLive.
– “The parallels between the coronavirus and the climate crisis” by John F. Kerry, via the Boston Globe. [$]
– “In unprecedented times, keeping our commitment to clean energy” by Patrick C. Woodcock, via the Milford Daily News.
– “Envisioning a vibrant, healthy state powered by 100% renewable energy” by Sally Prick, via the Greenfield Recorder.
– “When it comes to battling climate change and sea rise, what does it mean to be ‘resilient’?” by Courtney Humphries, via the Boston Globe. [$]
– “In a shrinking world, what will we pass on to our children?” by Mary Annaïse Heglar, via the Boston Globe. [$]
– “This crisis provides a very green opportunity” by Peter Fox-Penner, via the Boston Globe. [$]
LOCAL CLIMATE CAMPAIGNS
– Sunrise Movement spokesperson endorses Khazei for Congress: This week Stephanie Murray reported in her ‘Massachusetts Playbook’ that Sunrise national spokesperson and Brookline High School senior Saya Ameli Hajebi had endorsed Alan Khazei for Congress. Khazei is running in the seat vacated by Congressman Joe Kennedy.
– “Holyoke Mayor Alex Morse announces plans to tackle climate change” (22 WWLP): [watch the video]
BEYOND THE BAY STATE
– “New Jersey’s Plan for Investing RGGI Funds Intends to Put Equity at the Forefront” (Carlie Clarcq, Climate XChange): [read the article]
INSIDE THE BELTWAY
CLIMATE ON CAMPUS
– “Harvard Endowment Commits to Net-Zero Greenhouse Gas Emissions by 2050” (Ellen M. Burstein & Camille G. Caldera, THE Harvard Crimson): [read the article]
THE GREEN ECONOMY, STUPID
– Massachusetts’ solar net metering under serious threat from federal lawsuit: A lawsuit filed in federal court by a shadowy dark-money group (NERA) seeks to lay a precedent that may upend net metering laws in over 40 states, including Massachusetts. According to Greentech Media, “NERA’s petition, and the speed at which FERC will consider it, has raised alarm bells among pro-solar legal experts and watchdog groups who fear it could undermine energy policies set by states now struggling to contain the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.” For more information on what the lawsuit intends to do, and how it could impact solar in Massachusetts and beyond, check out this helpful explainer from Vote Solar.