We Must Put Massachusetts Climate Laws into Action Now 

CLF has provided the Healey administration with steps to slash climate pollution to net zero by 2050.

Person holding up a painted sign that says "systems change, not climate change."

We have climate laws in Massachusetts – but laws without action are just empty promises. These petitions can help the administration get us on the path to net zero by 2050. Photo: Shutterstock.

This year, my son will turn six. Every day, I think about the world he and his generation will inherit. Will we have cut climate-damaging emissions as drastically as scientists say we must? The future of all our children depends on us taking urgent action to curb climate change today. 

Here in Massachusetts, we’ve made progress. With your help, we’ve passed strong laws that mandate deep cuts in carbon pollution. But while the Baker administration signed these laws, it fell behind when it came to executing them.  

Now, with the new Healey administration committed to cutting climate-warming emissions, Massachusetts can put action behind its words. Seizing this moment, we’ve provided the administration with concrete steps it can take to slash climate-warming emissions toward net zero by 2050. Here’s how we’re asking the administration to clean up Massachusetts’ transportation, buildings, electricity, and waste management systems. 

We Must Make Our Transportation System Clean and Accessible 

What’s at Stake  

Our cars, trucks, and buses are the largest source of polluting emissions, not just in Massachusetts, but in the entire country. In addition, decades of racist and classist policies have fragmented neighborhoods with highways that clog homes and businesses with toxic air pollution. That leaves communities of color and low-income neighborhoods shouldering the health hazards and climate threats that come with our dependence on gas-guzzling vehicles. 

What We Are Advocating For  

State leaders already did the hard work of developing recommendations that will help slash carbon pollution from transportation. Now we need them to act on those recommendations. That includes: 

  • Transitioning personal, public, and private vehicles to electric vehicles and providing for the installation of more charging stations by 2030.  
  • Phasing out the sale of gas-powered vehicles by 2035. 
  • Improving the accessibility and reliability of buses, subways, and trains via better fare policies so Massachusetts residents can commute to work, get to school, go grocery shopping, and move without needing a car. 
  • Integrating public transit, biking, and pedestrian accessibility into new highway projects. 

We Shouldn’t Have to Sacrifice Our Health or Climate to Keep the Heat On 

What’s At Stake 

Dirty fuels like oil and gas heat most homes and businesses in Massachusetts. These fuels pollute the climate and our air. Just turning on a gas stove in the kitchen can impact your entire home’s air quality. And the past winter has shown us something else: The only reliable thing about fossil fuels is their price volatility. It’s time to transition to clean energy. 

What We Are Advocating For 

CLF is asking the Healey administration to ramp up the switch from oil and gas heating systems to electric systems for our homes and businesses. This will end our reliance on dangerous and expensive fossil fuels for heat. We are also calling for: 

  • Ensuring even the oldest buildings use less energy by ramping up energy efficiency, weatherization, and better appliances. 
  • Empowering cities to reduce fossil fuel use within their borders by creating a new Net Zero Communities program, which would allow them to implement stricter standards than the state government. 
  • Prohibiting electric and gas utilities from using customer money for political activities or advertising false climate solutions. 
  • Phasing out sales and installation of gas-powered furnaces and water heaters for all buildings between 2024-2030. 
  • Making electric heat pumps, energy efficiency programs, and weatherization programs affordable and accessible for everyone – including low-income families and renters. 

Clean Energy Must Generate Our Electricity 

What’s At Stake 

Thanks to our existing climate laws and renewable energy policies, we are starting to use more clean energy to create electricity. However, we need to increase this usage so that our electricity doesn’t spew carbon pollution that hurts our health and the climate. Clean energy can also help stabilize electricity bills, which are currently fluctuating because of the price volatility of fossil fuels. 

What We Are Advocating For 

CLF is asking the Healey administration to cut climate-warming emissions from electricity generation by: 

  • Implementing rules that will reduce the demand for electricity during peak usage hours, since the extra energy we need usually comes from our dirtiest power plants. 
  • Weighing who historically carried the burden of energy infrastructure compared to who benefitted through environmental assessments whenever planning new energy development. For example, energy facilities are already disproportionately sited in communities of color, low-income neighborhoods, and near limited English proficiency households. Massachusetts must not continue this biased pattern of sacrificing certain communities to advantage others. 
  • Restoring and strengthening the state’s nation-leading standards so that biomass generated electricity is not eligible for government funded financial incentives. Also, tightening standards to make the process by which waste combustion qualifies for these incentives stricter. 
  • Ensuring our electricity infrastructure can withstand extreme weather and climate impacts so all Massachusetts families have access to reliable supply when we need it the most. 

Zero Waste is a Climate Solution, Too 

What’s At Stake 

Landfills and waste incinerators spew toxic pollutants into our air and water. The people forced to live next to these polluting facilities are more likely to suffer from cardiovascular and respiratory illnesses. What’s more, the production, disposal, and burning of waste (like plastic) all generate climate-damaging pollution. We need a cleaner, zero waste system for our health and our climate. 

What We Are Advocating For 

The Healey administration must slash climate-warming emissions and protect public health by: 

  • Phasing out municipal waste combustors by 2030. 
  • Prohibiting new high-heat waste incineration facilities. 
  • Enforcing existing laws that prevent burning or burying recyclable and compostable materials. 

Tomorrow is Too Late: We Must Implement Massachusetts Climate Laws Now 

I see so much potential for real action on climate. I have reason to be hopeful that we can make a difference for my son and all of Massachusetts’ children. That’s because we know the Healey administration is dedicated to fighting climate change and working to achieve environmental justice – and we know the importance of acting fast to avert the worst consequences of the crisis. 

We here at CLF are excited to work with the Commonwealth to ensure it enacts these measures as quickly as possible. We can’t delay any longer: It’s time to turn our climate promises into action. 

Before you go... CLF is working every day to create real, systemic change for New England’s environment. And we can’t solve these big problems without people like you. Will you be a part of this movement by considering a contribution today? If everyone reading our blog gave just $10, we’d have enough money to fund our legal teams for the next year.