On August 16, President Biden signed into law the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), the largest investment in fighting climate change on the national level this country has ever seen. The IRA is a huge deal and fundamentally changes the game for our work here at the state level. On August 31, we held a webinar to discuss the IRA and its impact on three levels: on individual consumers who want to go green, on towns and cities, and on the state. Here is the webinar recording, as well as a summary and clips of each individual section. Enjoy!
On Thursday, the Massachusetts House and Senate both passed a major new climate bill, An Act Driving Clean Energy and Offshore Wind. The legislation now goes to Governor Baker for signature. The bill is basically what we expected: a combination of the House’s emphasis on offshore wind, the Senate’s emphasis on electric transportation, and some new policies in other areas. Overall, we are very pleased with the 96-page bill. Here are our views on some of the key provisions – and what you can do to get this over the finish line.
The Massachusetts Senate made big news last week by passing a massive climate bill that tackles transportation, buildings, and our electricity supply. This bill is supposed to put the pedal to the metal so that the state has the policies it needs in place to achieve the emissions reduction targets included in last year’s Climate Roadmap bill: first and foremost, a 50% reduction in economy-wide greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reductions under 1990 levels by 2030. Here’s what this bill means for our efforts to phase out gasoline in Massachusetts – and the key next steps.
In 2021, Governor Baker signed comprehensive climate legislation called An Act Creating a Next Generation Roadmap for Massachusetts Climate Policy. That law set a more aggressive timeline for mandatory emissions reductions (50% by 2030, net-zero, and 85% by 2050), strengthened the definition of “environmental justice communities”, and will definitely impact the state. But while the ink is barely dry, it certainly appears that the House and Senate are moving towards yet another significant climate bill to send to the governor sometime in the next two to three months.
"I want to make sure that my electricity is coming from coal," said no one ever.
Renewable energy is different in that people do want to make sure it's on the grid, in ever increasing numbers. That's why so many people think about buying green electricity, and why they get duped by competitive electricity suppliers.
Our Executive Director Larry Chretien is quoted in a recent article by the Daily Beast that tackles the topic of competitive electricity suppliers, their shady practices, and their greenwashed products. Here we've reposted his comments from the article, and we recommend you read the whole thing.
Some politicians in Massachusetts and Rhode Island are calling on their state governments to reduce or eliminate the gas tax in response to rising prices since Russia invaded Ukraine a couple weeks ago. That’s an awful idea and political pandering at its worst.
Last week, with a resounding vote of 144-12, the Massachusetts House of Representatives passed the Offshore Wind and Clean Energy bill. It will now go to the State Senate. We are especially thrilled because we worked hard to get provisions introduced that would help municipal aggregations access offshore wind. With the championship of Rep. Tommy Vitolo and Rep. Dylan Fernandes, and the support of Speaker Ron Mariano and Energy Committee Chair Jeffrey Roy, our provisions were adopted!
I’m old enough to have been in junior high school when Arab members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) imposed an embargo against the United States in retaliation for U.S. support of Israel in the 1973 Arab-Israeli War. That was the first of two serious “oil shocks” to the economy in that decade.
On February 8, Massachusetts energy officials proposed regulations that would require new residential and commercial buildings to be significantly more energy efficient. The proposal would establish a new energy code statewide, in addition to a more rigorous “stretch code” that cities and towns can adopt.
For those of us in the climate action movement, it’s tiring to ask the question, “What will it take to get policymakers to see the climate crisis as something deserving big, rapid changes in how we produce and consume energy?” Evidently, it’s not forest fires, melting glaciers, heat waves, or hurricanes. This winter, the climate crisis, and our fossil fuel addiction are leading to other consequences: expensive electricity and lots of oil burning. And yes, we’re still not seeing nearly enough action.