Mass Power Forward Statement Re: Baker Net Zero Earth Day Announcement
The Mass Power Forward Coalition (MPF) calls for more aggressive and ambitious climate justice targets from the Baker Administration. For the last year and a half, the Mass Power Forward Coalition has been calling for environmental justice, 100% renewable energy and equitable investment. The Global Warming Solutions Act requires Massachusetts to commit to reducing carbon emissions by at least 80% compared to 1990 levels. This Earth Day, the Baker Administration announced that their administration will create plans to achieve at least an 85% reduction and add a “net zero” component, meaning that any remaining emissions - up to 15% of 1990 levels - would be offset by carbon removed from the atmosphere.
Mass Power Forward is dismayed at the disregard for the recommendations made by climate justice activists. As acknowledged by the announcement, over 1000 comments were received, hundreds from grassroots organizations and climate experts who called for drastically higher targets. The coalition calls for what science demands given scientific consensus and the need for leadership, including:
Achieving 100% renewable energy for electricity, heating, and transportation by 2040.
Reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 60% by 2030.
Getting to a 100% reduction in human-caused emissions by 2050, and aggressively drawing down carbon from the atmosphere.
Not considering biomass or trash incineration as a carbon-neutral source of energy.
Including municipal light plants in the Clean Energy Standard.
Prioritizing environmental justice communities.
Including carbon pricing, an important solution that must consider environmental justice communities.
In addition, the announcement came with no acknowledgement of the administration’s approval of multiple expansions of the fracked gas distribution system in the Commonwealth- most notably the Weymouth Compressor station.
During the COVID-19 crisis, the Baker administration's top priority should be to protect the state's most vulnerable populations, through policies like emergency sick time, expanding homeless shelters and testing, providing access to testing and treatment for immigrants, collecting and reporting equity data, and creating a plan for health in prisons and jails. At the same time, we know that continued dependence on fossil fuels and expansions of the fracked gas distribution system threaten our health and climate. After the most vulnerable populations are protected and included in state policies, the Legislature and Governor must work together to extend the legislative session to pass climate justice policies, namely environmental justice, 100% renewable energy for all, and large scale equitable investments in the green economy.
“Our current situation requires deep change, and we call on the Baker administration to reset their goals for a 100% renewable energy powered economy, to provide good green jobs as we pull out of this pandemic, to prioritize healing the communities hardest hit like Chelsea by air pollution before, that added to their vulnerability to Covid-19. That is what science and our shared humanity require of us.” - Claire Miller of Toxics Action Center
“The current drastic shift in global economic activity shows that our society is capable of a swift pivot. Our long-term survival demands an equally swift and bold long-term shift in climate action. This is not that.” - Katy Eiseman of Pipe Line Awareness Network for the Northeast.
“The Baker administration’s goal and definition of “net zero” would allow for 15% of carbon pollution from Massachusetts to continue through 2050, burdening communities with the health impacts of pollution and the risks of climate catastrophe for generations to come. We need to reach 100% renewable energy as soon as possible.” - Alan Palm of 350 Mass and the Better Future Project
“Continued dependence on the framework of allowable emissions and net zero goals without guaranteed protections for environmental justice communities will create sacrifice zones in our Commonwealth. Once again, the Administration has made a climate announcement that does not address fossil fuel related public health crises that have been disproportionately affecting communities of color and low income communities for decades in Massachusetts.” - Vick Mohanka of Clean Water Action.
“Massachusetts should aim higher than Governor Baker’s weak global warming goals. We should achieve zero emissions from key sectors like electricity, heating, and ground transportation, on a timeline sooner than 2050, to prevent the worst impacts of climate change and ensure a safe, healthy future for all. Our Commonwealth has a history of leading the way on climate action. Now is the time for us to take bold steps forward.” - Ben Hellerstein, Environment Massachusetts