December 23rd Roundup: Baker Commits to TCI

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– Beacon Hill Update: holiday miracle needed to get a veto-proof climate bill (Tim Cronin): Barring a last-minute change today or tomorrow, it doesn’t look like a climate bill will be passed in time this week to prevent a potential veto from the Governor. This doesn’t mean there’s no hope for a bill to be passed by January 5th.

In the past week, climate organizations have urged their members to reach out to lawmakers and demand the climate conference committee release a bill and that each chamber passes it as soon as possible. Despite this, the legislature has not made any progress on a bill and appears to have already filled its schedule through the end of the week, with work on the budget and a healthcare access bill taking priority.

Essentially, the climate bill is trapped in a historically terrible end-of-session traffic jam made worse by the Governor’s recent rejection of an abortion access bill and aspects of the state budget and police reform efforts. As Michael P. Norton of the State House News Service reports, “[a] health care bill emerged late Tuesday from a six-member conference committee, and three other conference panels remain in place working on climate change, economic development and transportation spending bills.”

Don’t lose hope for a climate bill though. One can still emerge next week from the climate conference committee, and be voted on. But because it would be passed within 10 days of the legal end of the session (January 5th), this would leave few options to lawmakers if they need to override a potential veto by the Governor. Waiting until next week generally increases the chance of no bill passing or that the legislature is forced by the Governor to pass a bill that is very different from what members of the House and Senate want.

– Deleo may step down, Mariano expected to take speakership (Tim Cronin): Last week news broke that longtime House Speaker Robert Deleo (D-Winthrop) may be planning to step down sometime in the coming month. Details are still vague on when this transition could happen, but if it does excellent reporting from Commonwealth Magazine and the Boston Globe pegs current Majority Leader Ron Mariano (D-Quincy) as the clear front runner and likely next Speaker. For more context on this evolving story, check out this piece on


– “California replaces Massachusetts as most energy efficient state” (Colin A. Young, SHNS via WWLP): [read the article]

– “Salem among communities calling for fossil fuel divestment” (Colin A. Young, SHNS via The Salem News): [read the article]

– “Town of Egremont receives ‘Leading by Example’ recognition” (Edge Staff, The Berkshire Edge): [read the article]

– “Income-Eligible Cambridge Residents Can Save Money On Clean Energy Through Community Solar Program” (City of Cambridge): [read the press release]


–“States need stimulus — and we need it now” by House Speaker Robert DeLeo and Senate President Karen Spilka, via The Hill

– “Sen. Markey hails Biden’s pick to lead climate fight” by Larry Parnass, via The Berkshire Eagle

– “The climate challenges and opportunities ahead” by Ernest J. Moniz, via The Boston Globe

– “Climate change isn’t taking a break for the pandemic” by Surya Panditi, via the Boston Business Journal

– “Hydrogen is the missing piece of Mass. clean energy economy” by Geoff Gunn of Arup Boston, Boston Business Journal

– “Why I’m exploring a run for governor of Massachusetts” by Danielle Allen, via The Washington Post


– EPA: Charles River Health a Mixed Bag (Christian Morris): The Charles River Watershed Association, in conjunction with the U.S. EPA, has issued a range of grades that outline the Charles river’s health. Using a new system that utilizes years worth of data, the grades ranged from an “A” in the middle of the watershed, which consists of the Sherborn to Waltham area, to a “D-” in the lower, muddy river stretch, which is located in the Boston and Brookline area. While these grades typically incorporate the presence of E.coli in the river, the latest grades also include cyanobacteria levels, which plagued the river this past summer. [read the research]

– “NOAA Creates New Slow Zone To Protect Whales Off Nantucket” (Associated Press via GBH): [read the article]

– “EPA issues final permit for GE’s $576 million cleanup of PCBs in the Berkshires” (Jim Kinney, MassLive): [read the article]

– “State officials plan to ban lobster fishing for several months a year to help endangered right whales” (David Abel, The Boston Globe): [read the article]

– “A Polluted Pond In Cambridge Is Poised For Cleanup — But Its Future Is Under Debate” (Hannah Chanatry, Earthwhile): [read the article]


– Baker signs Massachusetts up for regional carbon price on transportation (Christian Morris): This week, the governors of Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, and District of Columbia signed on to agree to officially participate in the Transportation and Climate Initiative (TCI) to reduce emissions from the transportation sector through a regional carbon price. As the nation continues to grapple with the impacts of the pandemic, Governor Baker heralded TCI as an opportunity to create jobs, combat climate change, and aid in a green recovery from COVID-19. Climate XChange’s Research Director, Jonah Kurman-Faber, commented on the latest developments, stating: “In this disruptive and critical time for our health, economy, transportation systems, and environmental wellbeing, it is encouraging to see TCI signatory states take this first step. The states that go farthest this decade on their commitments to clean and equitable transportation stand the most to gain.” [read more about the program here]


– “The top 10 weather and climate events of a record-setting year” (Jeff Masters, PhD, and Dana Nuccitelli, Yale Climate Connections): [read the article]

– “The Paris agreement is five years old. Is it working?” (Lili Pike, Vox): [read the article]

– “Climate change could create 63 million migrants in South Asia by 2050” (Megan Rowling, Reuters): [read the article]


 “A Look Back at our Most Read Articles of 2020” (Lucy Davis-Hup, Climate XChange): [read the article]


– “Stimulus deal includes raft of provisions to fight climate change” (Sarah Kaplan and Dino Grandoni, The Washington Post): [read the article]

– “Biden Introduces His Climate Team” (Lisa Friedman, New York Times): [read the article]


– “Vineyard Wind Withdraws From Federal Permitting Process” (Noah Asimow, Vineyard Gazette): [read the article]


– “Exxon Calls Massachusetts Fraud Suit Punishment for Opinion” (Erik Larson, Bloomberg): [read the article]


– “Massachusetts solar loans program leaves banks with confidence to lend” (Sarah Shemkus, Energy News Network): [read the article]

– “Coalition presses for environmental justice in climate bill” (Colin A. Young, SHNS via WWLP): [read the article]


– “Fossil Fuel Fight Escalates to State Attorney General” (Emma Whitford, Inside Higher Ed): [read the article]


– “Boston cleantech company XL Fleet starts trading in latest SPAC deal” (Lucia Maffei, Boston Business Journal): [read the article]


– WEBINAR: “The Power of Labor in a Green Economy” (Noa Dalzell, Climate XChange): [register]


– “LISTEN: What Makes Michelle Wu Run?” (Adam Reilly, GBH): [listen]


– “Biden Picks Deb Haaland to Lead Interior Department” (Coral Davenport, The New York Times): [read the article]

– “Biden’s Twin Climate Chiefs, McCarthy and Kerry, Face a Monumental Task” (Lisa Friedman and Coral Davenport, The New York Times): [read the article]

– “Biden Taps Pete Buttigieg for Transportation Secretary” (Reid Epstein and Coral Davenport, The New York Times): [read the article]

– “Biden team plans ‘all of government’ approach on climate” (Michael Norton, The Lowell Sun): [read the article]


– “What’s at Stake in 2021 for Virginia Climate Policy” (Kersten Parrella, Climate XChange): [read the article]

– “A Frontrunner in Solar Growth” (Natalie Reeder, Climate XChange): [read the article]

– “Labor Groups Advocate for a Just Transition in New York” (Amelia Murray-Cooper, Climate XChange): [read the article]

– “A Local Ballot Initiative in Colorado Dedicated to Water Sustainability” (Anna Beatrice, Climate XChange): [read the article]

– “Illinois Envisions a Just Transition for Displaced Fossil Fuel Workers” (Eric Jjemba, Climate XChange): [read the article]


Missed the last CXC Roundup? Here are the top three climate headlines from last week:

  1. Boston Globe ‘Spotlights’ Weymouth compressor fight
  2. Baker vetoes green budget proposal
  3. Fossil Fuel Divestment Getting Late Session Nudge from Munis

Read the full Roundup here from December 16th, 2020 here.

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Featured Image: Photo by Kentaro Toma via Unsplash