BOSTON — Senator Eric P. Lesser voted to pass a bill aimed at preparing the state for the effects of climate change, including public health challenges, on Thursday. The bipartisan bill passed on a 35-0 vote.
“There are many ways for us to fight climate change and adapt to its effects. This bill is an important step in doing both,” said Sen. Lesser. “By working to transform our energy efficiency standards and address the effects of climate change on public health, Massachusetts is once again stepping up to lead the nation.”
The bill, S. 2545 An Act to promote a clean energy future, sets ambitious new 2030 and 2040 statewide greenhouse gas emissions limits, lifts the cap on solar net metering, authorizes additional hydropower and offshore wind procurement and implements statewide energy storage goals.
The bill also establishes the state’s first ever carbon pricing mechanism. The revenue-neutral “pollution charge” on fossil fuels would incentivize companies in the transportation, industrial, commercial and residential sectors to use cleaner low-carbon energy sources. The funds raised from the charge would be used to help these companies transition to cleaner fuel sources.
“Future generations of Massachusetts residents depend on our actions today,” said Senate President Harriette L. Chandler (D-Worcester). “This legislation sets Massachusetts on a path towards an even cleaner energy portfolio and invests in the future of our children and their environment. I would like to thank Senators Pacheco, Barrett, and Chairwoman Spilka for their tremendous contributions to this bill, and to the rest of my members for their commitment to clean energy and climate preparedness.”
“It is urgent that we move as quickly as possible to mitigate the worst effects of Global Climate Change. The quality of the air we breathe and the water we drink, and the number of extreme weather events that we experience will depend on what we do at the local, state, and national level. The legislation that the MA Senate has passed today promotes a clean energy future that will protect public health, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and create thousands of new clean energy jobs that will continue to benefit Massachusetts and the New England economy,” said Senate President Pro Tempore Marc R. Pacheco (D-Taunton), who filed the bill.
“Climate change is relentless, and ‘putting a price on carbon’ is the single most effective thing a state government can do to fight it. But this isn’t about the Legislature forcing one design, and one design only, upon a governor. We’re firm on timing because the problem is urgent, but we don’t mandate the method,” said Sen. Mike Barrett (D-Lexington).
The bill now heads to the State House of Representatives for consideration.