The dropout from climate action

Published: 08/17/2022 19:29:43 Modified: 08/17/2022 19:26:17 On July 20, President Joe Biden visited the site of the former Brayton...



Published: 08/17/2022 19:29:43

Modified: 08/17/2022 19:26:17

On July 20, President Joe Biden visited the site of the former Brayton Point coal-fired power plant on the South Shore of Massachusetts to call for action on climate change. Less than a month later, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and Congress have answered that call, in what I hope will be the start of a cascade of climate action.

When you think about global warming, you might feel concerned – and for good reason. We see the effects of global warming all around us, as anyone who experienced this summer’s heat wave can attest.

Responding to the call to action, last week Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker signed a far-reaching climate bill that will help make our homes and businesses more energy efficient, put more electric vehicles on the road and increase the amount of clean electricity. we get sun and wind. Then, over the weekend, Congress tabled on President Joe Biden’s desk the Cut Inflation Act, which includes about $369 billion in climate spending. Estimates predict that the Cut Inflation Act’s suite of policies will reduce pollution from global warming by 40% below 2005 levels by 2030, putting the Paris Agreement targets on the climate of the United States at a striking distance.

Political victories like this do not happen by chance. Both bills are the product of years of work by lawmakers, environmental groups, industry leaders and grassroots activists. Thousands of people raised their voices to urge leaders to act on climate. I am grateful to everyone who held the vision of a greener and healthier world in their hearts and who worked together to find common ground. Today, as always, this is how we are making tangible progress that moves our state and our nation forward.

What does the Massachusetts climate bill do?

■Creating a new pilot program that will retrofit low- to middle-income housing to be energy efficient and use clean, all-electric heating and appliances.

Removes arbitrary barriers that hinder offshore solar and wind projects, making it easier for more of our electricity to come from renewable sources.

Requires owners of large buildings, such as offices, apartment buildings, hospitals and universities, to disclose their energy consumption annually, an essential first step in making those buildings more energy efficient.

Enables up to 10 cities and towns to adopt local policies requiring new buildings to use fossil fuels – free heating and appliances, laying the foundation for healthier, cleaner homes and offices for us all.

■ Require 100% of new cars sold in Massachusetts to be electric vehicles (EVs) by 2035.

Demand that the MBTA transition to an all-electric bus fleet, and state agencies will help regional transportation authorities like PVTA adopt electric buses.

What are the climate provisions of the Federal Inflation Reduction Act?

■Funding $9 billion in consumer rebates to electrify appliances and make homes more energy efficient.

Extends consumption tax credits for 10 years to make heat pumps, rooftop solar panels, electric HVAC systems and water heaters more affordable so homes are more energy efficient and run on electricity. ‘clean energy.

■Establishes a tax credit of $4,000 for consumers buying used electric vehicles and up to $7,500 for consumers buying new EVs;

■$3 billion for US Postal Service electric trucks;

■$1 billion for heavy-duty electric vehicles, such as school buses and garbage trucks;

■$3 billion for zero-emission technology in US ports.

A program to reduce methane emissions.

■$50 million to inventory and protect old-growth forests, which absorb carbon emissions from global warming, on National Forest System lands.

Both bills represent a compromise. For example, some of the provisions of the federal bill will benefit fossil fuel development, including requiring the sale of leases for offshore drilling and providing tax incentives that would help coal and gas plants.

But we cannot let the perfect be the enemy of the good. Energy Innovation’s modeling found that increases in emissions due to these provisions are offset 24 to 1 by the bill’s climate-friendly provisions. The group also found that the bill could prevent 3,700 to 3,900 deaths in 2030, in addition to 99,000 to 100,000 asthma attacks averted. With numbers like these, you take what you can get, go back to the vision in your heart, and figure out the next steps to get closer to that vision.

Today I have high hopes. Both of these bills will significantly advance climate action. While there’s still work to be done, it’s easier than ever to see how Massachusetts and our nation can transition to 100% clean, renewable energy in the decades to come.

Johanna Neumann, of Amherst, has spent the past two decades protecting our air, water, and open spaces, championing consumers in the marketplace, and advancing a more sustainable economy and democratic society. She can be contacted at columnists@gazettenet.com.



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Newsrust - US Top News: The dropout from climate action
The dropout from climate action
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