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Press Release Massachusetts on Track to Meet 25% Greenhouse Gas Reduction Target for 2020

Clean Energy and Climate Plan for 2020 Addresses Progress, Existing Policies, and Continued Strategy
For immediate release:
  • Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs

Media Contact for Massachusetts on Track to Meet 25% Greenhouse Gas Reduction Target for 2020

Katie Gronendyke,

Boston — January 19, 2016 – In accordance with the Global Warming Solutions Act of 2008 (GWSA), the Baker-Polito Administration today issued an update to the Clean Energy and Climate Plan for 2020 . The Plan Update concludes that the Commonwealth is well-positioned to meet, or exceed, a greenhouse gas reduction goal of 25% by 2020 through the full implementation of the policies contained in the Plan Update, and also includes policies beneficial to achieving greater reductions for 2030 and beyond. Further, the report emphasizes the importance of Governor Baker’s proposed legislation for the procurement of cost-effective, low-carbon hydroelectric power, which if passed by the Legislature, will represent more than 4% of the 25% goal set forth in the Global Warming Solutions Act.

“The Clean Energy and Climate Plan Update reflects our Administration’s clear and practical approach to meet the Commonwealth’s emissions reduction goals in order to successfully combat and mitigate the effects of climate change,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “While progress to reduce greenhouse gas emissions has been made on many fronts, the Plan Update highlights the need for immediate action on our legislation for clean and affordable hydroelectricity and other renewable resources in order to achieve our 2020 goal and position us to meet the long-term reduction targets.”

“Consistent with the Clean Energy and Climate Plan Update, our Administration recognizes that reaching the 2020 emissions reduction goal is only one step in a process to achieving a low carbon future,” said Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito. “Our Administration continues to advance initiatives such as tree-planting, zero emission electric vehicles, and local investment in energy storage to progress toward the long-term goals of the Global Warming Solutions Act.”

The Clean Energy and Climate Plan for 2020 provides an inventory of greenhouse gas emissions and outlines policies which will continue to position the Commonwealth to meet its emissions reduction targets for 2020 and beyond. The data analyzed, and resulting plan, recognizes factors beyond the Commonwealth’s control that could impact actual emissions by 2020 include varying weather conditions, fuel prices, and economic growth. 

“The Commonwealth has made great progress in addressing climate change and the Plan Update lays out many innovative strategies to reach our 2020 goal, including the Baker-Polito Administration’s proposal for the procurement of hydroelectric power,” said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Matthew Beaton. “While Massachusetts is poised to meet our near-term emissions reduction goal, we remain focused on the long-term objective which will require a collaborative effort and the continued exploration of innovative technologies in the energy industry to reach the Commonwealth’s requirement of an 80% reduction by 2050.”

“We applaud the Baker-Polito Administration’s commitment to greenhouse gas reduction efforts and the progress that the state has made over the last several years,” said Mayor Martin J. Walsh. “We look forward to our continued collaboration to implement the City and State’s Climate Plans, especially by improving building efficiency and getting more of Boston’s energy from cleaner, renewable sources.”

In addition to procuring clean energy from large scale hydroelectric power, the report highlights the necessity of expanding the Commonwealth’s nation-leading energy efficiency programs, equating to 5.8% of the emissions reduction goal.  As such, the Baker-Polito Administration’s 2016-2018 energy efficiency plan sets nation-leading savings levels for both electricity and gas and is estimated to achieve $8 billion in economic, environmental, and energy benefits. The full implementation of the federal and California fuel-efficiency standards in vehicles, coupled with the Department of Public Utilities’ initiative for the accelerated replacement of leak-prone distribution pipes across the state, will together account for approximately 5.7% of the Commonwealth’s Global Warming Solutions Act target of 25% below 1990 levels for 2020.

The Clean Energy and Climate Plan for 2020 also highlights the impact of the development and implementation of policies to achieve Massachusetts’ goal of reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by at least 80% over 1990 levels by 2050. Through the Baker-Polito Administration’s expansion of the Greening the Gateway Cities Program which utilizes tree plantings as a way to reduce energy use in urban neighborhoods and lower heating and cooling costs, the Commonwealth is expected to achieve $400 million in energy savings for residents and businesses. Further, the Administration has implemented zero emissions vehicles (ZEV) rebate programs, designed initiatives encouraging the purchase and use of ZEVs, and joined seven states to coordinate ZEV adoption efforts. These, and other similar policies when started now, will result in measurable GHG reductions for 2030 and 2050.

“Reductions in greenhouse gas emissions from the power sector have been greatly helped by our work with New England and mid-Atlantic states,” said Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Martin Suuberg. “Since 2005, Massachusetts and its partners in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative have seen power sector carbon pollution decrease by more than 40%.”

“The Commonwealth is on track to meet emission reduction targets in large part due to our nation-leading energy policies,” said Department of Energy Resources Commissioner Judith Judson.  “Massachusetts’ energy efficiency programs, renewable energy initiatives and new renewable thermal incentives are driving innovation and creating energy, economic and environmental benefits for the state.” 

Beyond the strategies within the Plan Update, the Baker-Polito Administration is promoting advanced energy storage technologies and is engaged in regional and international partnerships to address and mitigate climate change. By launching a $10 million Energy Storage Initiative (ESI), the Administration is supporting the continued growth of renewable power generation to modernize Massachusetts’ energy generation portfolio. The Administration’s commitment to action on climate is demonstrated by active participation in three climate initiatives. In signing the Metro Boston Climate Preparedness Commitment as well as endorsing the Subnational Global Climate Leadership Memorandum of Understanding (Under2MOU), the Administration has expressed an unwavering commitment to climate resiliency efforts and addressing greenhouse gas and other pollutants contributing to climate change. Further, the Commonwealth has joined Eastern-Canadian Premieres and New England Governors in signing a climate change resolution calling for a 35-45% greenhouse gas reduction, below 1990 emission levels, by 2030. These commitments compliment the Clean Energy and Climate Plan for 2020.

“Massachusetts must meet the short- and long-term emissions reductions requirements of the Global Warming Solutions Act,” said Senate President Pro Tempore Marc R. Pacheco (D-Taunton), chairman of the Senate Committee on Global Warming and Climate Change. “This updated Clean Energy and Climate Plan makes available a vital inventory of the greenhouse gas emissions in Massachusetts, helping the Commonwealth make informed decisions about its energy mix. Based upon this information, it is clear that we must embrace an aggressive and diverse clean energy future by utilizing hydropower, offshore and onshore wind, solar power and energy efficiency in a balanced fashion. I commend the Baker-Polito Administration for its commitment to meeting the bold requirements outlined in the Global Warming Solutions Act and look forward to seeing further progress in reaching both our 25 percent emissions reduction target by 2020 and our 80 percent target by 2050 through the use of renewable resources; our environment and health are at stake.”

“The Plan proposes nature-based solutions, such as planting and retaining trees that will absorb more carbon and provide shade around buildings to reduce heating and cooling, which complements the approach of the recent global climate agreement in Paris,” said Wayne Klockner, state director of The Nature Conservancy. “We look forward to working with Governor Baker’s Administration to continue to address the issue of climate change.”


Media Contact for Massachusetts on Track to Meet 25% Greenhouse Gas Reduction Target for 2020

Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs 

The Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs seeks to protect, preserve, and enhance the Commonwealth’s environmental resources while ensuring a clean energy future for the state’s residents. Through the stewardship of open space, protection of environmental resources, and enhancement of clean energy, the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs works tirelessly to make Massachusetts a wonderful place to live, work, and raise a family.