For Immediate Release - July 10, 2012

Patrick-Murray Administration Appoints a Global Warming Solutions Advisory Committee

Information about Massachusetts Global Warming Solutions

BOSTON – Tuesday, July 10, 2012 – Energy and Environment Secretary Rick Sullivan has appointed a Global Warming Solutions Act (GWSA) Implementation Advisory Committee to ensure Massachusetts meets its goal of attaining the boldest greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction targets in the nation.

"Massachusetts has the most ambitious greenhouse gas emission limits in the nation. This is a unique, historic opportunity to prevent climate change, save businesses and municipalities money, and create 21st Century clean energy economy jobs,” said Governor Deval Patrick.

Energy Undersecretary Barbara Kates-Garnick and Environment undersecretary Phil Griffiths co-chair the GWSA Implementation Advisory Committee (IAC) and the group held its first kickoff meeting in June 2012. The group plans to meet again this fall.

The committee is charged with advising the environmental and energy agencies on plan development and strategy implementation to meet the Commonwealth’s targets of 80 percent reduction of greenhouse gas emissions economy-wide by 2050 and a 2020 reduction target of 25 percent below 1990 levels.

The co-chairs have also convened subcommittees on energy efficiency, energy generation, transportation, adaptation, and non-energy emissions that have been developing a tracking system to monitor and report on progress towards the 2020 target while evaluating and developing new policies. Policy experts from Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA), the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT), the Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development (HED) and other state agencies will lead and staff these subcommittees while working closely with stakeholders from the environmental, energy, and business communities.

“We have made great progress the past few years in developing a plan for 2020, and we have since shifted our focus to implementing that plan. I am pleased that such a dynamic, bright, and committed group of leaders will serve on this committee and provide invaluable guidance to the Patrick-Murray Administration,” said Secretary Sullivan. “Communicating our progress on a regular basis to the public at large is critical to this implementation process to ensure the public is informed and engaged.”

“I look forward to collaborating with the Commonwealth to achieve the goals of the Global Warming Solutions Act.  In serving on the IAC, A Better City and its members will continue to advance transportation and environmental policies to increase energy efficiency and reduce GHG emissions that will strengthen the economic competitiveness and quality of life of Massachusetts, solidifying our position as the country's greenest state in which to do business.” said President and CEO of A Better City Richard Dimino, an IAC member. 

“The Commonwealth is to be commended for taking a leadership position in dealing with greenhouse gases emissions, the effects of which are increasingly evident. The Nature Conservancy welcomes this opportunity to assist the Patrick Administration in taking specific action to address both the cause and the effects of this global threat.” said The Nature Conservancy Vice President Wayne Klockner, an IAC member.

The members of the IAC are listed below:

Susan K. Avery, PhD., President & Director, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

George Bachrach, President, Environmental League of Massachusetts

Cynthia Barnhart, Associate Dean, Ford Professor of Engineering, MIT

Nolan Browne, Managing Director of the Fraunhofer CSE

Geoff Chapin, CEO, Next Step Living

Richard A. Dimino, President & CEO, A Better City

Marc Draisen, Executive Director, Metropolitan Area Planning Council

Brian Fairbank, President & CEO, Jiminy Peak Mountain Resort LLC

Berl Hartman, New England Chapter Director, Environmental Entrepreneurs (E2)

Russell E. Hill, President, R.E. Hill & Company

Jim Hunt, Chief, Environmental & Energy Services, City of Boston

Laura A. Johnson, President, MassAudubon

Wayne A. Klockner, Vice President/State Director, The Nature Conservancy

Penn Loh, Professor of the Practice, Urban & Environmental Policy & Planning, Tufts University

Jeremy C. McDiarmid, Massachusetts Director, Environment Northeast

Marcy Reed, President, National Grid

Sue Reid, Vice President and Director, Conservation Law Foundation (CLF) – Massachusetts

Peter Rothstein, President, New England Clean Energy Council

“MassDOT, HED, and EEA have and will continue to work very closely together to implement the GWSA, and usher in a GHG emission free future for the Commonwealth,” said MassDOT Secretary and CEO Richard A. Davey. “As part of our GreenDOT initiative, MassDOT encourages smart growth and alternative modes of transportation which will put us at the forefront of reducing the carbon intensity of our transportation system.”

Governor Deval Patrick signed the GWSA into law in August of 2008, ensuring that Massachusetts has one of the most ambitious regulatory programs to address climate change in the country (80 percent reduction of greenhouse gas emissions economy-wide by 2050). It also called upon EEA, in consultation with other state agencies and the public, to set a 2020 target between 10 and 25 percent below 1990 levels and to develop a plan to reach that target. EEA subsequently set the most aggressive GHG target possible for 2020 at 25 percent below 1990 levels, and released The Massachusetts Clean Energy and Climate Plan for 2020 in December 2010.

The 136-page Clean Energy and Climate Plan for 2020 contains a "portfolio" of established and new measures that reduce energy waste, save money, and stimulate the adoption of clean energy technologies, thereby creating jobs while simultaneously reducing GHG emissions. It is estimated that 42,000 to 48,000 jobs would result from full implementation of the plan by 2020, from clean energy jobs like installers and scientists to other jobs throughout the economy as lower fossil-fuel energy expenses lead to more spending on in-state goods and services.

Existing policies in the 2020 Plan such as the Green Communities Act, The Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS), and Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) have already reduced GHG emissions while creating economic development. These policies have bolstered the Massachusetts clean energy revolution. An October 2011 Massachusetts Clean Energy Center report identified over 64,000 jobs in the Massachusetts clean energy sector, and over 5,000 companies. The sector also grew by almost 7 percent last year, a faster growth rate than the economy as a whole. Across state government agencies like MassDOT are developing other pioneering strategies like GreenDOT or the Clean Energy Performance Standard. These new, nation-leading policies are born out of the GWSA targets.

The IAC and subcommittees will also begin to investigate policies and measures best suited to reaching the 2050 target.

“With this new, ambitious commitment, Massachusetts establishes itself as a national leader in reducing climate change pollution. That means cleaner air, healthier residents and a boost for the clean energy economy in the state,” said Frances Beinecke, President of the Natural Resources Defense Council.

“Any effort that ensures the complete and efficient implementation of the Global Warming Solutions Act is a step in the right direction,” said Senator Marc Pacheco, Chair of the Senate Committee on Global Warming and Climate Change. “This act contains a number of provisions and benchmarks that need to be adhered to if our efforts to combat climate change are going to be successful.  I applaud the Patrick-Murray Administration and Secretary Sullivan for continuing to make climate change a priority.”

“Governor Patrick, his executive branch and legislative leaders continue to strive to reach the targets set by the Global Warming Solutions Act and the Green Communities Act. By working together they have assured Massachusetts residents that their state remains a leader in addressing climate change issues. With more and more storms, extreme temperature changes, and forest fires caused by dryness and heat as well as other unusual weather events around the country we must continue to show that a serious reduction in carbon, methane and other dangerous emissions can be achieved. These actions are necessary to protect the public health, our beaches and coastlines, our farmland and the future of the planet,” said Rep. Frank Smizik, Chair of the House Committee on Global Warming and Climate Change.

The GWSA also mandates EEA convene a Massachusetts Climate Change Adaptation Advisory Committee tasked with identifying adaptation solutions for climate change. EEA convened this committee in 2009 and it worked with EEA to develop the Massachusetts Climate Change Adaptation Report

EEA released the report last year and it is the first broad overview of climate change as it affects Massachusetts, the impacts of this change, vulnerabilities of multiple sectors ranging from natural resources, infrastructure, public health, and the economy. The report also provides an analysis of potential strategies that could better prepare us for this changing world. EEA and the IAC will use this report as a guide in implementing strategies that will assure the Commonwealth is capable of adapting to climate change.