Dear Speaker DeLeo,
As Winthrop residents deeply concerned about our climate and the health of our planet, we ask you to act on two climate policies that will create clean energy jobs and protect our children’s future. As parents and those who love children, we know it is our responsibility to provide them with a safe, healthy and livable planet. Yet each of the last few years has seen the global average temperature rise higher than the previous year, and around the country, Americans are experiencing a seemingly endless chain of severe weather.
As the federal government continues to put deeply entrenched fossil fuel interests above the needs of the people, states must take the lead in transitioning to a clean energy economy. Massachusetts can be a leader in this effort, taking a different pathway than the one chosen by President Trump and the Republican leadership in Congress. The two policies we request that you support would (1) increase the Renewable Portfolio Standard by at least 3% per year and require 100% clean energy by 2050 and (2) put a price on carbon. We can keep our smart college graduates and entrepreneurs here by creating an environment that encourages clean energy development and innovations.
First we ask you to support H.2700 “An act to increase the Renewable Portfolio Standard and ensure compliance with the Global Warming Solutions Act” introduced by Rep. Khan and S.1876 “An act relative to enhancing RPS standards", introduced by Sen. Pacheco. These bills would get us on a path to reach 100% Renewables by 2050. According to a recent analysis from Synapse Energy Economics, with no changes to RPS policy, or just a 2% annual increase in Massachusetts, the electric system is unlikely to see substantial additions of renewables before 2030, beyond the already mandated off shore wind procurement. This is not consistent with meeting our Global Warming Solutions Act climate pollution reduction mandates and it does not fully tap our local clean energy development potential.
We also ask you to support putting a price on carbon, and bills S.1821 “An Act Combatting Climate Change” and H.1726 ”An Act to Promote Green Infrastructure, Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Create Jobs”, introduced by Sen. Michael Barrett and Rep. Jennifer Benson, which would provide incentives for local clean energy projects while reducing the approximately $20 billion Massachusetts sends out of our economy every year to import fossil fuels. The bills establish a fee-and-rebate system of carbon pollution fees charged to fossil fuel importers, rebated to Massachusetts residents and businesses. This year, the Harvard School of Public Health analyzed the health co-benefits from these policies and found they “would generate nearly $3 billion in health benefits – saving an estimated 340 lives, preventing heart attacks and other adverse health outcomes, and reducing hospitalizations in Massachusetts and its neighboring states.”
It is important that these bills also pay special attention to the needs of lower income, rural residents, and businesses. Since most lower income residents use less fuel than more affluent residents, they would get a bigger rebate and come out ahead. There would be extra support for rural residents with longer commutes, and state officials would have the authority to provide relief for business sectors if need be.
Enacting these policies will put us closer to the clean energy future that our children need and deserve. Winthrop, Revere, and all of our coastal areas are at enormous risk from huge flooding because of climate change. The proposed legislation will help us make great strides toward a safe and healthy future, while at the same time creating jobs that cannot be outsourced, thus strengthening our Massachusetts’ economy. We ask your help in bringing about these critically needed programs.
Winthrop Mothers Out Front and your constituents: