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PRESENTATIONS

Massachusetts Leads: Protecting the Environment and Greening Up the Bottom Line

The Honorable Marc Pacheco, Massachusetts Senate, Boston
Wednesday, June 18 @ 11:30am

ABSTRACT

Every nation of the world shares the problem of climate change, as well as the burden for its consequences if we do not address the threats we face. Considering this, one would expect the best way to defend our world against climate change is to develop policy that can be coordinated on a national and global scale. Despite the United States’ status as a superpower, however, we have yet to even ratify the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, for example, or to implement a national strategy that competes with that of the European Union. As a result, it is clear that state governments must lead the way on climate change initiatives until a federal policy can be agreed upon and executed. Massachusetts has taken that lead.

As founding Chairman of the Senate Committee on Global Warming and Climate Change, I am proud of the policies Massachusetts has put into place that not only protect our environment and natural resources, but also green up the bottom line in the process. Today the Commonwealth is aggressively pursuing our target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions 25 percent below 1990 levels by 2020, and 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050, through landmark clean energy policies such as the Global Warming Solutions Act, which I authored in 2008. Our economy supports a booming clean energy industry comprised of nearly 80,000 employees and more than 5,500 jobs. But as successful as we have been in dealing with this issue from an economic development perspective, we’re still far and away from where we need to be to meet the environmental goals we’ve set forth. The State Legislature passed climate change legislation prior to our understanding of the full consequences of CO2 emissions; we’ve reached low-hanging fruit in areas such as energy efficiency and renewable fuel sources, but we still have a long way to go to make the more difficult choices that will preserve us from the worst effects of climate change, such as the implementation of a carbon pricing system. It is the public’s responsibility to make sure the strong political will to act on climate change continues with the next administration and with all future legislative leaders in Massachusetts in order to continue the progress we have made so far.