OPINION: Next steps crucial on Massachusetts’ new climate law Lexington Minuteman

The administration needs to get with the program quickly. “Next-Gen” sets a number of deadlines:

• On July 1, Gov. Baker will have three new vacancies to fill — green building experts, all — on a reconstituted Board of Building Regulation and Standards, a low-profile entity with enormous sway over energy use in new construction.

• By July 15, 2021, the administration must set a first-ever greenhouse gas emissions reduction goal for Mass Save, the popular home energy efficiency program.

• No later than July 1, 2022, the administration must adopt emissions limits and sublimits for the year 2025, together with a “comprehensive, clear and specific” plan for operating within them.

• By 21 months from now, the administration must develop and promulgate a new “municipal opt-in specialized stretch energy code” that includes “net zero building performance standards” and a definition of “net zero building.”

Read More Here —>

OPINION: Next steps on Massachusetts’ new climate law Concord Journal

It’s no secret the governor vetoed an earlier version of the climate bill on the prodding of builders and developers. Taking note of the increasing urgency of global warming, we responded to the pushback by doubling down on net zero in the version of the bill that became law.

My constituents have been instrumental in seeing to it that Massachusetts passed the most ambitious climate bill in the country, which is cause for celebration. Now we need to make sure it gets implemented well.

Read More Here —>

Old data slows climate change efforts Gloucester Daily Times

Sen. Mike Barrett, D-Lexington, a co-chair of the Joint Committee on Telecommunications, Utilities and Energy, who co-authored the bill, says up-to-date data is crucial for the plan to succeed.

“We’re taking note of the incredible lag time that has been involved in reporting back to the Legislature on whether we are curbing emissions,” Barrett said during a recent Joint Way and Means Committee hearing. “We need to provide that data in a much more time-relevant way than has been the case.”

Barrett said the new climate law requires the state Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs to provide lawmakers with an update on emissions levels every 18 months “so that we’re not looking at 2017 numbers in 2021.”

Read More Here —> 

After passing a landmark climate law, Mass. officials now face the hard part: how to wean the state off fossil fuels Boston Globe

The presentation suggested natural gas was in for the “fight of its life.” Slides urged that “everyone needs to contact legislators in favor of” the fossil fuel and warned “Anti-Gas Pressure Continues to Grow.” Another slide suggested the industry should “take advantage of power outage fear.”

The slide that most concerned them was one that said Eversource supported a “consortium to combat electrification,” suggesting the company and others in the industry sought to blunt the move toward renewable energy.

“This is a smoking gun for someone like me,” said state Senator Michael Barrett, a Lexington Democrat and one of the climate bill’s lead negotiators. “This is distressing, explosive stuff. I worry this represents the real sentiments of Eversource.”

Read More Here —>

Op-ed: Next Steps On MA’s New Climate Law Patch.com

The bill signing for the Act Creating a Next-Generation Roadmap for Massachusetts Climate Policy took place in the Library of the State House, otherwise empty due to the pandemic.

“I have heard words used to describe this piece of legislation, words such as sweeping, landmark, far-reaching, ambitious, bold and nation-leading,” Senate President Karen Spilka said. “I believe it is all of these things.”

Well put. We’re the first state to keep attention riveted on climate by setting emissions limits every five years instead of every ten. The first state to mandate emissions sublimits on the most important sources of greenhouse gases — transportation, buildings, and electric power. The first state to overhaul the charter of its electric power and natural gas regulator to include, alongside price and system reliability, reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.

Read More Here —>

Baker signs climate change bill into law CommonWealth Magazine

Sen. Michael Barrett, who led the negotiations for the Senate and said he is concerned that the Baker administration has tried to “evade legislative intent” of the new law, said Friday that everyone in state government now must start “pulling in the same direction” now that the work turns to implementation.

“The order of the day beginning tomorrow is ensuring interpretations of the law that are true to legislative intent and then overseeing implementation in a way that is true to legislative intent,” he said. “One reason I’ve been so concerned about the administration’s insistence on idiosyncratic readings of the new statute is because today’s abstract discussion segues over in tomorrow’s implementation. If the administration pushes back against the plain language of the law today, how are they going to implement it tomorrow?”

Read More —>

After a veto, Baker signs landmark climate bill The Boston Globe

After vetoing the initial bill and sending a second one back to lawmakers with a host of proposed amendments, Governor Charlie Baker on Friday signed a revised climate bill, establishing one of the nation’s most far-reaching efforts to reduce planet-warming carbon emissions.

The new law requires Massachusetts to reduce its carbon emissions by at least 50 percent below 1990 levels by 2030, 75 percent below those levels by 2040, and achieve “net zero” emissions by 2050. Given that it’s unlikely the state will eliminate all of its emissions, officials will have to plant trees or remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere to offset any lingering use of fossil fuels or other sources of greenhouse gases.

Read More Here —>

What You Need To Know About The New Mass. Climate Law WBUR

The new law, “An Act Creating a Next Generation Roadmap for Massachusetts Climate Policy,” represents the most significant update to climate policy in the Commonwealth since the landmark 2008 Global Warming Solutions Act. And with hundreds of statutory updates and changes, it tackles a lot — everything from solar panels and offshore wind to new building codes and regulatory priorities for state agencies.

Climate and energy policy can be confusing and full of jargon, but here — in simple English — is what you need to know about what’s in the new law:

Read More —>

Landmark Legislation Signed in the Fight against Climate Change The Bedford Citizen

A landmark climate bill has been signed into law, placing Massachusetts among the world leaders in the fight against global warming.  The new law, representing the contributions of many legislators but assembled, edited, and defended principally by Bedford’s state senator Mike Barrett, overhauls the state’s climate statute, advances the clean energy industry, protects low- and middle-income families, and provides tools to get to net-zero emissions by 2050.

“This bill is about getting down to brass tacks.  It’s about getting the job done, one step at a time, starting now,” said Barrett, the Senate’s leader on climate and energy.  “The pace of climate change is picking up — so the pace of climate policy must pick up. The Next Generation Climate Roadmap law reflects the concerns of people of every age, from every part of the state. The grassroots climate movement of Massachusetts is a force to be reckoned with.”

Read More —>

Lexington Sen. Barrett’s climate bill signed at last Lexington Minuteman

Sen. Michael Barrett, who led the negotiations for the Senate and said he is concerned that the Baker administration has tried to “evade legislative intent” of the new law, said Friday that everyone in state government now must start “pulling in the same direction” now that the work turns to implementation.

“The order of the day beginning tomorrow is ensuring interpretations of the law that are true to legislative intent and then overseeing implementation in a way that is true to legislative intent,” he said. “One reason I’ve been so concerned about the administration’s insistence on idiosyncratic readings of the new statute is that today’s abstract discussion segues over in tomorrow’s implementation. If the administration pushes back against the plain language of the law today, how are they going to implement it tomorrow?”

Read More —> 

Massachusetts Legislature votes to advance climate change bill, again WBUR

After more than six months of negotiations, the legislature sent a slightly different version of this bill to Gov. Baker in early January. Baker vetoed the bill a few days later, citing concerns about new municipal stretch codes and interim emissions reduction goals. The legislature then sent the bill back in the exact same form later that month, and this time, Baker returned it with amendments.

The final bill that Baker intends to sign maintains most of the original provisions but does include some of his proposed amendments — more flexibility around the sector-specific emission targets, for example. In this final version, if the state meets its overall emissions goals, it won’t be subject to legal liability for falling short in one or two sectors.

Read More —>

Senate passes climate change bill 39-1 CommonWealth Magazine

“This is a moment that does the Legislature – Senate and House – proud,” said Sen. Michael Barrett of Lexington, the Senate’s point person on climate change.

During debate on the bill, Barrett sought to demonstrate how Massachusetts faces unique challenges in reducing greenhouse gas emissions. He said agriculture and land use account for 24 percent of all emissions worldwide but only 0.3 percent in Massachusetts. He said industry accounts for 22 percent of emissions in the United States, but only 5 percent in Massachusetts.

Where Massachusetts is different, Barrett said, is on transportation and building energy use. In Massachusetts, transportation accounts for 42 percent of emissions, compared to 29 percent in the United States and building energy use accounts for 27 percent of emissions in Massachusetts but only 12 percent across the United States.

Read More —>

The most recent numbers tell us Massachusetts is backsliding in terms of reducing emissions. This bill is our chance to get back on track and stay there. Tip of the hat to Senate President Senate President Karen E. Spilka and State Representative Ron Mariano for putting us back to work on climate immediately. Because of them, the legislation’s odds of ultimate success are excellent.

Massachusetts lawmakers send climate bill that would reduce state’s carbon footprint to Gov. Charlie Baker’s desk Mass Live

Emissions would have to fall to at least 50% of 1990 levels by 2030 and 75% of 1990 levels by 2040, but the bill also calls for interim goals every five years.

“An underlying idea driving the particulars of this bill is that the need to do something needs to be front and center, more than has been in the last 10 years,” Sen. Michael Barrett, a Lexington Democrat and key negotiator on the bill, said in a phone interview. “We tried to write a bill that would present people in Massachusetts with a need to change. I believe that a successful adjustment to climate change will involve transformations big and small.”

Read More —>

Historic climate, renewable plan heads to Mass. governor Energywire

A slate of controversial clean energy policies is set to advance in Massachusetts this year after state lawmakers passed sweeping climate legislation last night and the governor’s office released new plans.

On Sunday evening, a bipartisan legislative committee announced a compromise on a long-debated climate package that would codify the state’s goal of zeroing out CO2 emissions by 2050, with new interim targets every five years. By 2030, emissions would have to fall by 50% over 1990 levels, followed by a 75% decrease by 2040. The legislation passed the Massachusetts Legislature last night by large margins in both chambers.

State Sen. Michael Barrett, a Democrat who co-chaired the bipartisan team of negotiators for the bill, said the cities of Boston and Cambridge had voiced interest in adopting codes that require net-zero emissions for new buildings.

Read More —>

Massachusetts takes major steps in fight against climate change Boston Globe

In a statement, the bill’s chief negotiators, Representative Thomas Golden of Lowell and Senator Michael Barrett of Lexington, called the bill “the strongest effort of its kind in the country.”

“This is focused, serious, and specific,” Barrett said. “It won’t allow us to look away when we fall short. It keeps the work of reducing carbon emissions squarely in front of us. This is no-excuses law-making.”

Read More —>

State lawmakers announce deal on climate change bill Boston Globe

The bill’s chief negotiators — Representative Thomas Golden of Lowell and Senator Michael Barrett of Lexington — called the proposal “the strongest effort of its kind in the country” and the first major update to the 2008 Global Warming Solutions Act.

“This bill is a climate toolkit, assembled over the course of months, to protect our residents, and the beautiful place we call home, from the worsening of an existential crisis,” they said. “Its particulars owe much to the advocacy of thousands of citizen activists in Massachusetts. To these activists, we say thank you. We heard you.”

Read More —>

Massachusetts lawmakers pass net-zero energy roadmap bill S&P Global

Massachusetts lawmakers have sent to the governor’s desk a bill that aims to chart the state’s path to net-zero emissions by 2050.

“This bill is a climate toolkit, assembled over the course of months, to protect our residents, and the beautiful place we call home, from the worsening of an existential crisis,” the co-chairs of the Conference Committee on Climate of the Massachusetts General Court Sen. Mike Barrett and Rep. Thomas Golden said in a joint statement. The toolkit approach “focuses relentlessly on the work of reducing greenhouse gases, creating jobs, and protecting the vulnerable.”

Passed by the House with a vote of 145-9 on January 4, the bill (S.2995) would codify the state’s target of net-zero emissions by 2050 and set interim targets of cutting emissions 50% by 2030 and 75% by 2040 from 1990 levels.

Read More —>

Massachusetts lawmakers pass sweeping climate change bill Boston.com

Massachusetts lawmakers approved legislation Monday to overhaul the state’s climate laws, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, create renewable energy jobs and protect poorer communities that can be at higher risk from pollution.

A highlight of the bill is the goal of attaining a net-zero greenhouse gas emission limit by 2050 in part by setting new statewide limits every five years to help the state reach the goal.

Read More —>

Deal reached on major climate bill led by Barrett Lexington Minuteman

After six months of private talks, legislative negotiators on Sunday afternoon reached an agreement on a major bill to accelerate the state’s pace toward addressing the global problem of climate change.

The bill (S 2995) would establish in state law a “net zero” greenhouse gas emissions limit for 2050 and establish statewide emissions limits every five years over the next three decades. Within that plan, the bill creates mandatory emissions sublimits for six sectors of the economy: electric power, transportation, commercial and industrial heating and cooling, residential heating and cooling, industrial processes, and natural gas distribution and service.

The bill’s chief negotiators – Rep. Thomas Golden of Lowell and Sen. Michael Barrett of Lexington – called the proposal “the strongest effort of its kind in the country” and the first major update to the 2008 Global Warming Solutions Act.

Read More —>