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The Massachusetts Global Warming Solutions Act

Aisling O'Shea, Global Warming Solutions Manager, Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs
Wednesday, June 18 @ 9:30am


The Commonwealth of Massachusetts established the most ambitious, economy-wide reduction goals for greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions for any single state in the nation when Governor Deval Patrick signed our Global Warming Solutions Act (GWSA) in 2008. By 2020, Massachusetts aims to reduce GHG emissions by 25% from the state’s 1990 level. The GWSA requires an 80 percent reduction from 1990 levels by 2050. It includes requirements for a state-wide GHG inventory, plans to achieve the 2020, 2050 and interim limits, as well as progress reports and plan updates every five years.

In December 2010, the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA) published The Massachusetts Clean Energy & Climate Plan for 2020 (The 2020 Plan) which outlines a portfolio of twenty-seven key policies to help achieve the emission limits required by the GWSA. Substantial progress has been made in implementing the 2020 Plan as described in the GWSA 5-Year Progress Report, which covers the period 2008-2013. During this time, Massachusetts implemented a variety of legislative actions, new regulations and other strategies addressing climate change and promoting clean energy. These strategies include cost-effective energy efficiency, renewable energy generation, transportation, land use and smart growth policies, and reduction of non-energy GHG emissions. The Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), which provided significant funding for energy efficiency programs, was revised in 2013 to reduce the regional carbon dioxide (CO2) cap by 45 percent.

Based on EEA’s analysis to date, the 5-year report indicates that Massachusetts is likely to reduce emissions 18 percent by 2020 and has the potential to achieve at least the 25 percent goal with enhanced and supplemental strategies. Conducting this analysis requires significant inter-agency collaboration, capacity building and information management. To meet the incredible challenge of continually tracking hundreds of metrics and reporting on progress against dozens of policies, strategies, and projects to a range of stakeholder audiences, EEA recently launched a robust, cloud-based performance management system that feeds into a public-facing online dashboard. The system tracks both state-wide emissions reduction trends as well as reductions tied to specific policies. This enables state agencies to evaluate performance of policies and strategies and make necessary adjustments in a timely manner.

EEA and its agencies, in collaboration with other Secretariats, are working to implement the 2020 Plan and to promote supplemental strategies such as renewable thermal energy and the electric vehicle initiative. Evaluation of progress to date is helping to inform potential revisions to the 2020 Plan and discussions about a roadmap to 2050. The GWSA Implementation Advisory Committee (IAC), comprised of representatives from business, industry, academia and environmental advocacy organizations participate in policy discussions and workgroups, advising the Secretary on implementation issues.


Presentation Slides
842 kb uploaded September 30, 2014 4:57pm


GWSA 5-Year Progress Report

GWSA Dashboard