In his State of the Commonwealth address, Governor Baker committed Massachusetts to net zero carbon emissions by 2050. Then three bills touted by Senate leadership as a “next generation climate package” were released from Senate Ways and Means to be debated and voted on before month’s end. From carbon reduction goals to transit electrification and robust energy efficiency, efforts to address climate change in Massachusetts took a couple of steps forward this week. Now comes the work of turning these commitments into climate action!
Last week, Governor Raimondo signed Executive Order 20-01, Advancing 100% Renewable Energy Future for Rhode Island by 2030. The order came on the heels of particularly disconcerting assertions made in the same week by Speaker Mattiello about the limited impact that action taken in Rhode Island can have on the climate crisis overall.
In November, we wrote about efforts to replenish Massachusetts’ state rebate for electric vehicles, which was then stalled in the legislature. Late the following month, lawmakers reached agreement on a proposed Supplemental Budget that included an infusion of much-needed dollars to bring back Massachusetts Offers Rebates for Electric Vehicles (MOR-EV), the only direct incentive offered by the state to accelerate the transition to electric vehicles. Now MOR-EV will benefit from an infusion of at least $27 million dollars per year for the next two years!
November 20th marked the end of formal session in Year 1 of Massachusetts’ two-year legislative cycle. The remaining weeks of 2019 are considered “informal session,” during which bills may still be considered and moved, but formal activities not completed by last Thursday are largely on hold until the legislature formally reconvenes in the new year. A proposal to replenish consumer rebates for EVs is included in the supplemental budget (H.4132/S.2418) currently stalled at the State House.
Earlier this week, officials from the Baker administration announced plans to extend Massachusetts Offers Rebates for Electric Vehicles (MOR-EV) through September 2019 when, absent new funding, the program will come to an end. Eliminating this popular incentive now moves Massachusetts in the wrong direction and will make meeting our ZEV goals (300,000 EVs by 2025) that much more challenging.
On March 14, 2019, Green Energy Consumers held a webinar about upcoming initiatives, programs, and policies related to electric vehicle (EV) charging in Massachusetts and Rhode Island. If you weren't able to make it, or you attended and want a review, I've highlighted the key points in this blog post.
Proposals to fund resilience and adaptation were floated as part of Governor Baker’s FY20 Budget. One approach would modify the real estate transfer tax. The other approach would expand to adaptation and resiliency the use of dollars currently dedicated for energy efficiency (mitigation) in Massachusetts. When it comes to combating climate change, investments in adaptation/resilience and mitigation should complement, rather than compete against each other.
Tags: Energy policy & advocacy
Carbon Free Boston, the latest in a series of climate action reports released in Massachusetts, further affirms that there are clear steps we should be taking now to mitigate climate change. The challenge remains in turning studies to action.
Massachusetts and Rhode Island have both announced plans on how they intend to spend funds coming from the national Volkswagen “dieselgate” settlement. We’re seeing some solid ideas on how the states can use the VW settlement money to reduce air pollution from diesel fuel. This development is akin to turning swords into plowshares. While it’s horrible that VW deceived governments throughout the world about emissions from its diesel engines, there will be two lasting benefits from the settlement. Firstly, car-makers appear to be reducing their commitment to new diesels, as VW’s experience highlights the impossibility of making low-emission diesel vehicles. Secondly, the VW settlement money will help greatly to accelerate the transition to electric vehicles.
National Grid trucks line the street outside of Newport Fire Department Headquarters (Station One). Thousands of residents were left without heat when a pressure drop resulted in a gas service interruption.
Catastrophes like the September explosions in Massachusetts' Merrimack Valley and recent extended service disruptions on Rhode Island's Aquidneck Island put into sharp relief the false economics of gas. Although many consider gas to be an abundant and inexpensive fuel, recent events remind us that the costs borne by individuals, communities, and the environment are much greater than we currently account for. We must transition off gas, but in the immediate term, we can minimize the frequency and impact of system failures by taking steps to reduce our reliance on natural gas, improve system safety, and prepare for potential emergencies.
Tags: Energy policy & advocacy