The MA House Climate Bill passed 147-17 late Friday night 7/31, and it is quite good in many respects: The bill, HB 4933, is a package of amendments to MA S 2500, previously passed in January, led by Senator Michael Barrett of Lexington (“Next Generation Climate Policy”.) One amendment changed the name to “An Act Creating a 2050 Roadmap to a Clean and Thriving Commonwealth “ based on a bill put forward by Rep. Joan Meschino of Plymouth. [ In a forthcoming 'bulletin', JCANners will receive a copy of a one-page 'Roadmap' flyer re: Bill highlights . ]
As a complex set of amendments to earlier legislation, it’s a bit hard-to-follow; but I have confirmed that the following elements - that can have a great positive climate impact - are included in it:
I sincerely hope that these strong provisions survive the remaining legislative process to become law. Now, the Conference Committee work begins its ultimate task - to hammer-out a final bill. This process accepts no public input, and I haven’t heard yet who is on the committee nor when it will meet. One would expect that Energy committee chairs Sen. Barrett and Lowell Rep. Tom Golden will be on it.
The MA Climate Office in EEA, Energy Office (DOER), Building Commission (BBRS), Utility Regulator (DPU), and MBTA officials will carry the burden of implementation of the final provisions, and so I’m sure they will have influence, and they may not be anxious to take on the near-term deadlines of this bill, even though each has expressed support for net zero carbon by 2050.
At every opportunity, I encourage us all to show enthusiasm for the whole bill or provisions of your choice: My focus is on the 50% emissions cut by 2030. 50% by 2030 is not just an interim goal - science proves that carbon emissions are a cumulative problem, and unless we meet this 2030 target – we can be certain that any hope of limiting warming to 1.5C is gone.
With focus, I think this target will be relatively easy to achieve, and generally an economic win all-around. With good policy and the Environmental Justice mandate, there should be only winners, no losers. If MA gets its plan together by the end of 2021, which is what the bill calls for, maybe other jurisdictions will follow in time.
It would be to my knowledge the first 50/2030 legislation; this is specifically what Greta Thunberg has been demanding in her precise and powerful speeches across the world. Massachusetts passing and then effectively implementing this target may be the beacon of light the world needs to start moving forward.
Shabbat Shalom to all, Harvey Michaels