UPDATE: As the end of the year approaches, lawmakers are close to taking action that would protect the long-term health and safety of Massachusetts residents. The House Roadmap Bill and the Senate Climate Bill are under review in the conference committee, with legislators stitching together a critical final version to pass on to the Governor. If the legislature passes this final bill and the Governor signs it, Massachusetts will be that much closer to avoiding climate catastrophe.
This final bill is expected to include vital environmental justice language, which would provide low-income, immigrant, and communities of color a stronger voice in projects that impact their neighborhoods. It also must still require the creation of a 2050 roadmap to force Massachusetts to take the latest science into account and create a comprehensive plan to reach net-zero climate-damaging emissions by 2050. Only with this concrete plan and critical justice language can the Commonwealth grow its economy, protect its people, and fight climate change.
A previous version of this blog was originally posted by Alyssa Rayman-Read.
On the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, the Baker administration announced that Massachusetts will make reaching net-zero emissions by 2050 legally binding under the state’s Global Warming Solutions Act. This important step towards slashing the Commonwealth’s climate-damaging emissions shows that we cannot delay taking action on climate. However, the state’s landmark climate law still needs a clear path forward to reach that goal.
Massachusetts has long prided itself for being a leader on climate — passing one of the first climate laws in the nation – the Global Warming Solutions Act – in 2008. That bill set targets that were ambitious at the time, but the science has progressed since then, and it is now clear that our timeline to avoid the worst impacts of climate catastrophe is shortening.
A bill currently under consideration in the legislature – the 2050 Roadmap Act – provides a critical update to the law’s targets and guidance to hit them. The 2050 Roadmap Act uses the latest science to create a comprehensive plan so Massachusetts will reach net-zero emissions before 2050. The Act also adds strong accountability measures – making state agencies answerable to the legislature and to the people of Massachusetts for implementing that plan.
We’ve been on the forefront of this issue for years and must keep making progress. But without a roadmap, we may flounder until it’s too late.
What’s the Problem?
To avoid climate catastrophe, we must cut carbon pollution to net zero by 2050 at the very latest. Reaching net zero means entirely eliminating the emissions that cause climate change, largely by phasing out fossil fuels.
Massachusetts law already mandates that we cut emissions. But it doesn’t tell us how to get there or hold the State accountable for reaching our targets along the way. That’s why we need a roadmap with concrete steps and interim targets to ensure we hit our ultimate goal in a way that’s good for our climate, our communities, and our economy.
What’s at Stake?
New Englanders are already feeling the effects of climate change through worsening storms and more intense heat waves. The past four years were the hottest on record, and scientists across the world are calling for urgent action. Everything from our health to our economy to our environment is at risk.
Now is the time to act. We need to update the Global Warming Solutions Act to tackle this challenge.
What’s the Solution?
First, we need to pass the 2050 Roadmap Act. Then we can craft and implement the roadmap the bill calls for, which will get us to net-zero emissions before 2050.
As we follow the comprehensive roadmap we’ve designed, Massachusetts residents will start to reap the rewards. These will include, among others:
- More clean, affordable energy powering our homes, schools, and businesses.
- More good jobs in the renewable energy sector.
- More clean cars on the road.
- More clean public transit options.
- More energy efficient homes and businesses.
- Clear air for everyone to enjoy.
Want to Help Push for Change?
Contact your legislators and ask them to support the 2050 Roadmap Act. You can look up your legislator to give them a call, or send them an email. Calls from as few as eight constituents can get a legislator’s attention on an issue – your call could make all the difference.
By passing this bill, we can create a concrete and comprehensive plan to reach net-zero emissions before it’s too late. We can ensure the future of Massachusetts for generations to come.