MA Senate Committee says there’s “No Time to Waste” to Tackle Climate Change

Elena Mihaly | @ElenaMihaly

When the Massachusetts Senate Committee on Global Warming and Climate Change released a new report last week called “No Time to Waste,” CLF knew it was one we could get behind. The report is a message from the legislature to the new Republican administration containing recommendations for how the state can achieve its greenhouse gas reduction goals quickly and with the resources it already has on hand.

The report warns of the drastic impacts climate change will have on the state’s robust agricultural economy and of the harmful public health impacts that will result if the new administration fails to act fast to address this growing threat. In particular, the report urges Governor Baker to take assertive executive action on several causes that CLF has long supported – including putting in place regulations limiting greenhouse gas emissions as required by the Global Warming Solutions Act (“GWSA”).

As the Senate report states, “By declining to promulgate regulations according to the GWSA, the administration is depriving the state of a powerful tool to fight climate change.” The Global Warming Solutions Act, enacted in 2008, required the Department of Environmental Protection to put regulations in place that would establish legally binding emissions reductions on greenhouse gases. The Commonwealth clearly needs these regulations, given that it’s on track to miss its 2020 greenhouse gas reduction goal. The GWSA provided the Department with ample time to develop the regulations, setting a deadline of January 1, 2012. Now, six years later, that mandate remains unmet. For years, CLF and partner organizations have called upon the Department to comply with the law. In light of the Department’s continued inaction, CLF went to court to force the Department to follow the law. The Senate Committee has it right: there’s no time to waste on getting these regulations established.

The report includes other recommendations familiar to those who follow CLF’s work: calling for the adoption of a clean fuel standard; encouraging energy efficiency efforts; balancing any increased hydropower imports with renewables and ensuring that the greenhouse gas emissions from hydro are counted; more investments in and planning for adaptation to climate change; incentivizing smart meter use and modernizing the grid; embracing smart growth; and more.

Senator Marc R. Pacheco, the Taunton Democrat who chairs the Senate Committee on Global Warming and Climate Change, said, “We’re basically saying to the new administration, we’d like you to embrace these environmental initiatives.”

CLF couldn’t agree more.

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