Making Good on the Law

To meet global targets to cut climate-warming emissions, we need bold local action now. In 2008, Massachusetts took such action when it passed the Global Warming Solutions Act – the strongest climate mandate in the nation. But nearly a decade after its passage, the law has been left to languish, putting the Commonwealth’s ambitious climate goals at risk.

CLF in Action

CLF was instrumental in the passage of the Global Warming Solutions Act, which requires Massachusetts to issue regulations to ratchet down greenhouse gas emissions each year. The ultimate goal is to cut emissions by 20% by 2020 and 80% by 2050 (below 1990 levels). The state was required to roll out these new regulations by January 1, 2012. But in the years following, the state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has done little to uphold the law.

In 2014, to force the Commonwealth to act, CLF, alongside the Mass Energy Consumers Alliance and four courageous teenage plaintiffs, sued the DEP for its failure to follow through on the law. We took our case to the state Supreme Judicial Court and, in May 2016, the court ruled unanimously in our favor – stating that the GWSA is legally binding and the state must act now to reduce greenhouse gases to the agreed upon levels.