Carbon Emissions – 2 Issues to Watch in 2020!

GAS HOOKUP BAN – Gas hookup ban on new construction and major renovation – passed overwhelmingly in Brookline November 2019 town meeting. Boston Mayor Marty Walsh has issued an executive order banning gas hookups on new city-owned construction. Other area towns such as Newton are looking into their own gas hook-up bans. Brookline’s legislation, before getting the go-ahead, must be cleared by Attorney General Maura Healey – as is true for all legislation of towns (not the assumed-to-be-larger and endowed with more resources “cities”). AG Healey’s office will research to be sure the legislation does not conflict with other state statues. Many eyes are watching….what think ye, Sharon?? Read more about the Brookline ban here https://www.boston.com/news/local-news/2019/11/21/brookline-gas-oil-ban

TCI/Transportation and Climate Change Initiative – of critical interest because this is a REGIONAL approach to climate change. Original participants included Massachusetts, Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Virginia. Along with D.C., the 13 jurisdictions account for a fifth of the U.S. [note: it is my understanding that Maine and New Hampshire have dropped out, and that NY has a less-than-full participant status]. The just released first draft of their “cap and invest” plan would impose a fee on fuel distributors.  Those distributors would have to pay a fee for each ton of carbon emitted when the fuels they sell are burned. Read more about this initiative here: https://www.boston.com/news/politics/2019/12/18/transportation-and-climate-initiative-massachusetts

Author’s note – this is a different approach than carbon pricing legislation, such as the proposed bill from state Representative Benson, which seems to be mired in the legislature. Climate activists have expressed concern that TCI, one of whose main goals is to raise funding, does a poor job of achieving environmental justice, having a regressive effect on those already most negatively affected by climate change.