Boston – As world leaders meet in California for the Global Climate Action Summit, Environment Massachusetts is showing its support for this cause by hosting a press conference in downtown Boston, to highlight local progress on climate and clean energy action. Similar events are taking place across the country today, showing unity among states and cities to speak out on the need to safeguard our environment and public health from the effects of climate change.
“Global warming is a real and present danger to Massachusetts — from record breaking heat waves over the summer, to rising sea levels in Boston Harbor,” said Sunday Swett, an organizer for Environment Massachusetts Research & Policy Center. “Now, more than ever, is a chance for Massachusetts to prove itself as a leading state in implementing far-reaching renewable energy and energy efficiency programs. It is time to commit to a 100 percent renewable energy future.”
Since 2007, the amount of electricity generated from solar power has increased more than 240-fold in Massachusetts. The Commonwealth ranks first in the nation for the amount of electricity saved through energy efficiency measures.
Offshore wind is poised to become another major source of clean, renewable energy for Massachusetts in the coming years, with the recent selection of Vineyard Wind to build the first large-scale wind farm in the United States. Massachusetts' offshore wind potential is equivalent to 19 times the state’s annual electricity consumption.
“Wind resources off the New England coast are some of the world’s best, and thus, offshore wind represents our greatest opportunity to produce locally-sourced clean energy,” explained Nathaniel Mayo, Manager of Development and Policy for Vineyard Wind. “We are excited to play a role in the region’s energy future, and we hope that Vineyard Wind will anchor a new clean energy industry in Massachusetts.”
In July, legislators passed a clean energy bill that will increase the amount of Massachusetts’ electricity from renewable sources to 34 percent by 2030.
Advocates pointed to the need for continued action in order to reduce harmful pollution and minimize the risk of dangerous climate change impacts. Caps on the state’s most important solar energy program, net metering, are holding back clean energy progress in more than 200 communities across Massachusetts.
"The effects of climate change are already upon us," said Alyssa Rayman-Read, Vice President and Director of Conservation Law Foundation, Massachusetts. "We're long past the time for paper pledges and promises. With the federal government intent on rolling back climate protections, we need strong laws and enforceable action at the local level. Our future depends on it."
Earlier this week, Governor Jerry Brown signed legislation to source 60 percent of California’s electricity from renewable technologies like solar and wind by 2030, and provide 100 percent carbon-free electricity by 2045.
These actions stand in sharp contrast to the Trump administration’s plans to roll back major federal climate policies, such as the Clean Power Plan and Clean Car Standards. The state groups remain undeterred and ready to double down on the work ahead.
“Massachusetts can achieve new and lasting energy solutions, both off our shores in harnessing wind power, and on our shores by lifting the solar caps on our net metering program,” reported Sunday Swett. “We are proud to stand united with other states and localities in bringing attention to the need for immediate climate action.”