Executive Order

Executive Order No. 596: Establishing the Commission on Clean Heat

Date: 09/21/2021
Issuer: Charlie Baker
Mass Register: No. 1454

Table of Contents

WHEREAS, affordable heating is a critical health need for every citizen of the Commonwealth;

WHEREAS, in 2020 my Administration took executive action to commit the Commonwealth to achieving net zero greenhouse gas emissions in 2050 and, in March 2021, I signed An Act Creating a Next-Generation Roadmap for Massachusetts Climate Policy which codified this commitment in statute;

WHEREAS, the heating of buildings currently accounts for nearly one third of statewide greenhouse gas emissions, and the current level of emissions from buildings must be reduced to achieve at least a 50% reduction in economy-wide greenhouse gas in 2030, as measured against a 1990 baseline, a requirement of the recently passed climate legislation;

WHEREAS, the Massachusetts 2050 Decarbonization Roadmap (the “Roadmap”), published in December 2020, identified the need to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions from heating of buildings to meet the net zero emissions target in 2050;

WHEREAS, the Interim Clean Energy and Climate Plan for 2030 recommended a special Commission on Clean Heat to advise the Commonwealth on how best to achieve legally mandated greenhouse gas reductions by reducing greenhouse gas emissions associated with heating fuels;

WHEREAS, a cap on greenhouse gas emissions from heating fuels will be a key policy to meet greenhouse gas emission reduction sublimits and the overall statewide limits on emissions;

WHEREAS, reducing and eliminating greenhouse gas emissions from the heating of millions of buildings in the Commonwealth represents a significant undertaking that will impact homeowners and businesses;

WHEREAS, input and feedback from leaders, experts, and other stakeholders outside of the Executive Branch will help to more clearly define the need for a declining cap on emissions from heating fuels, the framework for establishing such a cap, and potential policies to implement such a cap taking into consideration regional differences;

NOW, THEREFORE, I, Charles D. Baker, Governor of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution, Part 2, c. 2, § I, Art. I, do hereby order as follows:

Section 1. There is hereby established a Commission on Clean Heat (the “Commission”) to advise the Governor on the framework for long-term greenhouse gas emission reductions from heating fuels, consistent with the findings of the 2050 Roadmap and the total emissions limits and sublimits for the Commonwealth established pursuant to the Global Warming Solutions Act.

Section 2. The Commission shall be chaired by the Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs or her designee. The Commission shall further include not more than 22 additional members to be appointed by the Governor upon the recommendation of the Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs who shall not be full-time employees of the Executive Branch and who shall serve at his pleasure, and without compensation.  The Secretary shall ensure that her recommendations for these additional members reflect a diversity of perspectives and backgrounds from outside stakeholders including representatives from the fields of affordable housing, energy efficient building design and construction, healthcare, heating system design and technology, real estate and heating fuel distribution.  The Chair shall be responsible for convening meetings of the Commission.

Section 3. There shall be an Interagency Building Decarbonization Task Force (the “Task Force”) consisting of subject-matter experts from across the Executive Branch, including staff from the Department of Energy Resources and the Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development to support the work of the Commission between meetings.  Members of the Task Force shall be designated by the Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs and the Secretary of Housing of Housing and Economic Development, as applicable.  Members of the Task Force may attend Commission meetings as observers and participate at the discretion of the Chair.

Section 4. The Commission shall be responsible for providing policy recommendations to the Governor to meet requirements of the Global Warming Solutions Act, particularly with respect to emissions from heating fuels.  In developing these policy recommendations, the Commission shall review the Roadmap and other relevant analyses that the Commission deems informative.  Policy recommendations shall include options to accelerate the deployment of energy efficiency programs and clean heating systems in new and existing buildings and transition existing distribution systems to clean energy.  Policy recommendations should include financing mechanisms, incentives and other regulatory options, including a framework for a cap on greenhouse gas emissions from heating fuels.  The Commission shall develop these recommendations with consideration of various benefits of the recommended policies to Massachusetts, as well as affordability, regional differences, equity, and costs. 

The Commission shall, by November 30, 2022 and with the assistance of the Task Force, produce a set of policy recommendations to sustainably reduce the use of heating fuels and minimize the GHG emissions from buildings while ensuring the costs and opportunities arising from such reductions are distributed equitably.  Such policy recommendations shall be conveyed to the Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs for transmission to the Governor.  The policy recommendations shall include an explanation of anticipated burdens and opportunities for the Commonwealth’s businesses and residents.  The Commission, with the assistance of the Task Force, will set target dates for interim decisions and work product that would help the Commission complete its final recommendations.

The Commission shall disband on December 15, 2022.

Section 6.  This Executive Order shall take effect upon execution and shall continue in effect until amended, superseded or revoked by subsequent Executive Order.

Given at the Executive Chamber in Boston this 20th day of September in the year of our Lord two thousand twenty-one and of the Independence of the United States of America two hundred forty-five.

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