Massachusetts State Senate approves next generation climate policy

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Region – The Massachusetts State Senate Jan. 30 advanced three bills that boldly tackle the contributing factors of climate change, chart one of the most aggressive courses of action against global warming in the country, and pave the way for a clean energy future for all of its residents. 

“An Act Setting Next Generation Climate Policy” and two companion bills – one dealing with electrifying fleets and another updating energy efficiency standards for appliances – passed overwhelmingly and with bi-partisan support.

“Despite the scientific proof of the impacts of climate change, we continue to see critical environmental protections being dismantled at the national level,” said Senator Michael Moore (D-Millbury). “We must be better stewards for future generations and that is why I supported this comprehensive package of policy initiatives which are in alignment with the priorities set forth by the Administration in the Governor’s State of the Commonwealth address.” 

Key provisions of the climate policy package include:

  • Setting a statewide greenhouse gas limit for the year 2050 of “net zero” emissions.  
  • Establishing the Massachusetts Climate Policy Commission.  
  • Reflecting the price of carbon.  
  • Providing legislative direction to the Department of Public Utilities (DPU), the state’s primary energy oversight agency, for the first time.  
  • Jumpstarting efforts to supply low-cost solar electricity to low-income communities.  
  • Letting cities and towns adopt a “net zero” stretch energy code.   
  • Nudging natural gas utilities to adapt.  
  • Strengthening executive branch oversight of MassSave.  
  • Tightening the alignment between MassSave and emissions limits.  
  • Setting a deadline for converting MTBA buses to all-electric power.  
  • Offsetting the Trump Administration’s efforts to slow progress on efficient appliances.  

During debate on the Senate floor, the bill was strengthened through amendments that, among others, requires regional equity in carbon pricing and ensures equity is a component of The Department of Public Utilities mission statement.  

The bills now go to the House of Representatives for consideration.