Last week was a big week for state climate change legislation! Keeping her January promise, state Senate President Karen Spilka unveiled a trio of major climate change bills. For an excellent summary of what this significant legislation contains, click on the following link: https://climate-xchange.org/2020/01/23/mass-senates-climate-bills-overview-summary-context/?mc_cid=a153a9295b&mc_eid=b09a2b1771#
These bills are packed with all sorts of significant proposals, including:
- Statewide net-zero emissions limit for 2050 (updates the earlier Global Warming Solutions Act, which required only 80%, not 100% net-zero by 2050), to include new interim goals of 50% reduction by 2030, and larger targets every five years thereafter until the 2050 net zero goal.
- Establishes an independent watchdog commission on climate policy, known as the Massachusetts Climate Policy Commission
- Establishes a price on carbon pollution but leaves the specific pricing mechanism to be established. By 1/1/2022, a carbon price on transportation would need to be set, with other sectors following shortly.
- State Department of Public Utilities (DPU) would be required to include climate change impacts in its regulatory considerations
- New low-income solar requirements
- Empowering communities to adopt climate friendly stretch codes
The climate and environmental justice provisions continue – please click on the link above to read what is in these bills. Clearly the Senate has done good climate change work, but now what? These bills are being fast tracked in the Senate, with proposed amendments expected right now, and a Senate vote expected by the end of January. The bills are expected to pass…..but both the Senate and House must agree on a bill, as well as the Governor signing the bill, for it become law. The House can either work with the (hopefully) newly passed Senate bill, ignore the bill and work on their own set of proposals, or do nothing, letting a whole bunch of good climate bills die. Whatever their path, let’s hope they find a way to pass desperately needed climate legislation. Keep watching!!