Massachusetts could be the first state in the nation to get 100% of the energy it needs for transportation, heating, manufacturing from renewable sources. Legislation introduced by three Democrats would make it mandatory for all electricity consumed within the state to come from renewable energy sources by 2035. Then it goes beyond that ambitious goal and seeks to extend renewables to ever aspect of energy use in the state.
“This legislation provides a bold step by placing the Commonwealth on a path to a cleaner and more sustainable future,” said Representatice Sean Garballey, who co-sponsored the bill. “It encourages job creation, protects and sustains our natural resources, reduces our carbon footprint and would benefit the health and well-being of our citizens in immeasurable ways. More importantly, it signals to the country our commitment to long-term solutions in meeting the very real challenges of climate change, and lights the way for similar efforts across the nation.”
The state of Massachusetts already leads most other states in the quest for strong climate policies. The Global Warming Solutions Act of 2008 requires the state to reduce carbon emissions by at least 80% below 1990 levels by the year 2025.
Massachusetts is also a founding member of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), a cap-and-trade program between nine northeastern states. Under that program, participating states have reduced carbon emissions from the electricity sector 15 percent since 2011, while saving $460 million in electricity bills.
“I am energized by the goals and ideas laid out in this bill,” Rep. Marjorie Decker (D), a co-sponsor of the bill, said in a statement. “This signifies a tremendous opportunity to put the environment at the forefront of our public policy discussion.”
Massachusetts may be the first state to commit to the goal of 100% renewable energy, but many cities across America have already done so. In all, 23 cities, including San Diego, Los Angeles, Ithaca, Pueblo, and Moag have made that pledge,“No matter who is in the White House, cities and towns across the country will continue leading the transition to 100 percent clean, renewable energy,” Sierra Club executive director Michael Brune said in a statement.
With an avowed climate denier now in charge of the EPA and laws being proposed in Congress to eliminate the agency entirely, local action by cities and states may be needed to keep America moving forward to a fossil fuel free future.
Source: Think Progress