Author: Marissa Newhall, Clean Energy Group | Project: Clean Energy States Alliance
MassINC today released the first independent assessment of Massachusetts state action on climate change since the precedent-setting Global Warming Solutions Act of 2008. The report, titled “Rising to the Challenge: Assessing the Massachusetts Response to Climate Change,” was researched and written in partnership with the Clean Energy States Alliance.
The report lauds the state’s aggressive climate change action plan and the great strides made in energy efficiency and renewable energy, but concludes that the state may fall short of reaching its 2020 goal unless immediate action is taken.
Among the report’s recommendations:
- Massachusetts should accelerate the launch and implementation of new initiatives from the Massachusetts Clean Energy and Climate Plan, which was released in December 2010.
- The state should appoint a cabinet-level climate administrator to manage all aspects of the cross-agency program.
- State leaders should create and implement an effective, transparent progress-tracking and monitoring system.
Massachusetts has put in place a wide array of sophisticated programs and policies to curb greenhouse gas emissions. The report includes detailed descriptions and analyses of these many initiatives. Among the initiatives the report concludes are progressing well—and can indeed serve as national models—are the state’s policy to support all cost-effective energy efficiency, the renewable portfolio standard, the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center’s clean energy industry development efforts, the Green Communities Program, and the Leading by Example program.
The report finds other initiatives, many related to transportation, have been lagging, including clean car consumer incentives, pay-as-you-drive insurance, and Green DOT, a comprehensive environmental responsibility and sustainability initiative within MassDOT.
In 2008, Governor Patrick signed into law the Global Warming Solutions Act, which legally committed the state to reducing emissions to 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050. In 2010, the state issued the Clean Energy and Climate Plan for 2020, a series of initiatives that, taken together, would bring the state to an interim goal of reducing emissions 25 percent by 2020.