SIERRA CLUB: MASSACHUSETTS CLIMATE BILL

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YES. A BEAVER

Boston, MA – Senate leaders released a climate bill requiring the Commonwealth to increase clean energy investments and decrease climate pollution 50 percent from 1990 levels by 2030. The legislation came about after the Senate unanimously passed a comprehensive bill last session requiring net-zero emissions by 2050.

The legislation emphasizes the need for critical emissions-reduction policies, including Sierra Club priorities such as phasing in electric buses, rolling out a net-zero stretch code for new buildings (which includes phasing gas out of appliances and energy efficiency updates), and embracing a 2030 climate pollution reduction goal across all sectors. Sierra Club also supports other provisions of the bill, including increasing access to solar for low-income communities; directing the Department of Public Utilities (DPU) to consider emissions when it reviews electricity rates, prices, charges, and contracts; and establishing a permanent zero-emission vehicle incentive program, a critical step towards accelerating the electric vehicle market in the state.

However, absent from the bill is language around transitioning to 100 percent clean, renewable electricity that would have brought the Commonwealth in line with Washington, Nevada, California, New Mexico, Puerto Rico, Washington D.C., and over 150 US cities that have made  100 percent renewable goals.

In response, Deb Pasternak, Massachusetts Chapter Director of the Sierra Club issued the following statement:

“It’s not everyday that you see broad support for acting on the climate crisis. Thanks to the Senate for rising up to the critical and urgent challenge of cutting climate pollution generated by the gas appliances in our buildings and the cars, trucks, and buses we drive on our roads.

“However, without a more urgent timeline to move the electric sector to 100 percent clean,  renewable energy, it will be extremely challenging to meet the goals outlined in the bill. Additionally, understanding that climate solutions must be part of a just transition, we will work with our movement allies to make sure the final bill emphasizes our commitments to equity.”