Governor Baker’s administration is currently in the process of finalizing their Clean Energy and Climate Plan for 2030 (CECP), and is asking for public input on the plan by March 22.
The 2030 CECP outlines the actions Massachusetts will undertake this decade to ensure its 2030 emissions limit is met. The plan is being prepared alongside the 2050 Decarbonization Roadmap, which lays out the administration’s plan to achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. However, as currently written, the plan is not ambitious enough to put Massachusetts on an adequate path to decarbonization, and avoid the worst impacts of the climate crisis.
We need as many people as possible to submit comments supporting ambitious policy actions. If you live in Massachusetts, please consider submitting a comment — it only takes a few minutes and can be done entirely online.
Below are two of the most pressing points that should be stressed to the administration.
The actions need to include:
- a tight and declining cap on emissions from the buildings sector, which the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA) has proposed; and
- a 50% overall cut in emissions.
50% Cut in Emissions by 2030
The Commonwealth’s climate plan for 2020 called for a 25% cut in greenhouse gas emissions from its 1990s levels. Unfortunately, we don’t know whether we have reached this goal because the data is not yet available. In any case, climate advocates have called for a reduction of 50% by 2030 to go along with a 75% reduction by 2040 and net-zero emissions by 2050 (which the Governor has already endorsed). However, Gov. Baker’s CECP calls for only a 45% cut by 2030, which advocates consider inadequate.
Governor Baker argues that it will cost an extra $6 billion to get to a 50% GHG reduction in 2030 vs 45%. But advocates believe that $6 billion is a reasonable cost, given the size of the state’s economy and the benefits from cutting fossil fuel use:
- Based on allocating $6 billion over the next ten years, it’s only a 3% increase ( $600 million) in the $20 billion a year cost of energy in Massachusetts.
- $600 million is only 0.1% of the overall value of the state’s economy per year ($600 billion) — a tiny fraction to put into addressing the climate crisis.
- The $6 billion cost leaves out the health benefits, jobs and other savings from cutting use of fossil fuels. For example, a Climate XChange study of California’s cap-and-trade program found that the health benefits were about four times the cost of cutting fossil fuel use.
In addition, other reasons why a 50% cut is reasonable:
- The state’s GHG reduction goals must be based on science, which includes the IPCC’s target of holding emissions to a level which will keep global temperatures from rising more than 1.5 degrees centigrade. This requires cutting emissions at least 50% by 2030.
- The CECP tables show that the state can get to a 45% to 48% cut in greenhouse gases by 2030, which is only 2% away from 50%. The state could easily reach the extra 2% through a variety of measures put forth by advocates to further cut emissions from electricity, transportation, and buildings.
Create A Strong Cap On Emissions From The Buildings Sector
The draft CECP proposes creating a strong cap on heating fuel emissions by 2023, declining over time to 2030. Such a cap would result in a price per ton on emissions placed on companies importing heating fuels.
Such a cap would cause a 9.4 million ton cut in emissions of carbon dioxide from buildings by 2030, according to the draft CECP. This is the largest cut by sector — the plan outlines a 7.8 to 8.1 cut for transportation and 4.2 to 5.1 cut for electricity from 2017 to 2030. Along with the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) in the electric sector and the Transportation and Climate Initiative in the transportation sector, this cap would bring market-based climate policy, or carbon pricing, to all sectors of the economy.
Emissions from heating are some of the toughest to reduce and require decisive action now so that new buildings in Massachusetts will benefit from decreased energy costs, and our communities will see reductions in localized air pollution caused by the burning of fossil fuels.
In addition, the funds taken in through the sale of emissions permits must be used equitably to protect low-income people and environmental justice communities, through both rebates and assistance in making their homes more energy efficient and converting their heating to non-fossil fuel systems.
These two policy actions — a 50% cut in emissions by 2030 and a declining cap on heating sector emissions — are vitally important to the state’s climate plan for 2030.
Together, we can make our voices heard. Can you take 10 minutes to tell Governor Baker that you want ambitious climate action?
Using the information above, create your own message to the Governor and EEA, and follow these directions for how to submit them by March 22nd.
Add a brief personal note on why climate action matters to you.
Submit comments to: https://www.mass.gov/forms/public-feedback-on-2030-cecp
or via email to: firstname.lastname@example.org