BEACON HILL HAPPENINGS
– Baker calls for climate preparedness bill, major hurdles remain: Speaking at a press conference in Fitchburg on Tuesday (9/15), Governor Baker called on lawmakers to pass a $1 billion climate adaptation bill that he had first proposed in 2019. According to the State House News Service, which first reported on this, the “legislation (S.10) would increase the excise tax paid on real estate transfers to help fund $1 billion in investments over the next decade. Funding would go toward infrastructure designed to cope with the impacts of climate change.”
While it’s possible the Governor’s call for climate adaptation legislation will lead to movement on the issue this session, how far that action can go is uncertain. For one, there is no consensus on which approach to take on a climate adaption bill. While the Governor proposed a real estate transfer tax to raise $1 billion, the House passed its own bill to raise $1.3 billion through bonding in July 2019. The House bill (H 3987), known as GreenWorks, would send about $100 million per year to local communities to prepare for climate change. Both bills also outline differing approaches on how to spend any money raised. Meanwhile, the Senate has not advanced any adaptation bill this session making its position on the issue unclear.
At the same time, lawmakers have been tied up in conference committee negotiating a climate mitigation bill (S.2500/H.4933) for over a month, with no clear end in sight. Splitting the time of these lawmakers, namely Senator Barrett and Representative Golden, between two different conference committees is unlikely to increase the pace on negotiating any climate bill.
Even getting over these two hurtles, an adaption bill would have to navigate an unprecedented session. All advocates and most lawmakers are not able to come to the statehouse, and formal session has been extended past its usual end in July 2020 to end in early January 2021. There is also a number of other pressing priorities awaiting agreement, including a 2021 budget and a police reform bill. At this point, the ball is in President Spilka and Speaker Deleo’s court, any next steps on an adaptation bill will come from them.
ALL POLICY IS LOCAL
– “Climate, Environmental Issues Among Top Priorities at Town Meetings” (Eve Zuckoff, CAI): [read more]
– “It’s Not Forest Management, It’s the Reality of Living in a Warmer World” by Christian Morris, via Climate XChange.
– “Be a little less of an individual” by Maria Virginia Olano, featuring Bill McKibben, via Climate XChange.
– “A boon to wind power” via the Enterprise Editorial Board.
– “I was ready to be excited about the @BizRoundtable climate announcement, but what they put out is a big nothing burger” by Jamie Demarco, via Twitter.
– “New research says: Set an emissions goal. Get there with a carbon price” by Jerry Hinkle, via Citizens Climate Lobby.
OUR LOCAL ENVIRONMENT
– “Imperiled beetle loses some protections” (Christian M. Wade, the Daily News): [read more]
-“Mass. Climate Researchers Calls Hazy Skies Caused By Wildfires ‘Astounding And Quite Troubling'” (Zoë Mitchell & Tiziana Dearing, WBUR): [read more]
– “Massachusetts Just Had Its Hottest Summer On Record, Climate Report Says” (Eric Fisher, CBS Boston): [read more]
– Facebook launches new climate resource center, highlights local impacts: Ahead of Climate Week (Sep 21 – Sep 27), Facebook is launching a new Climate Science Information Center. This separate, dedicated space on Facebook connects users with factual resources from top climate organizations and shares actionable steps people can take in their everyday lives to combat climate change. Speaking to the Roundup Laney Zamore, the Office Lead at Facebook Boston, said, “Every day we see our communities in Boston and across the Commonwealth confronting this challenge – from people recycling, using the T or cycling, to those using our tools to organize for change in their communities or support environmental causes – but we know we need to do more. That’s why we have launched a new Climate Science Information Center on Facebook to connect Massachusetts residents with science-based information and announced that Facebook’s global operations, including our Cambridge office, will achieve net zero carbon emissions and be 100% supported by renewable energy this year.”
– “Scientific American Endorses Joe Biden” (Scientific American Editorial Board): “Scientific American has never endorsed a presidential candidate in its 175-year history. This year we are compelled to do so. We do not do this lightly.” [read more]
– “SCPN Spotlight: Rachel Kriegsman on Clean Energy Education” (Carlie Clarcq, Climate XChange): [read more]
– “Ad aims to keep offshore energy transmission plan in mix” (Colin A. Young, SHNS via 22WWLP): [read more]
BEYOND THE BAY STATE
– “‘It Can Happen Here’: N.H. Faces High Wildfire Risk Amid Climate Catastrophe In West” (Annie Ropeik, New Hampshire Public Radio via WBUR): [read more]
– “Vt. House overrides Scott’s veto of climate bill” (Greg Sukiennik, Bennington Banner): [read more]
Missed the last CXC Roundup? Here are the top three climate headlines from last week:
- “Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey, other agencies sue administration of President Donald Trump over plan to gut National Environmental Policy Act”
- “Climate Activists Stage Dramatic Demonstration on Bourne Bridge“
- “Markey Victory Boosts Climate Action on Beacon Hill”