On friday night at 9PM the Massachusetts House of Representatives passed The 2050 Roadmap bill. Introduced by Rep Meschino, this bill updates the Global Warming Solutions Act and commits the state to create a roadmap to reach net-zero emissions by 2050.
This bill is the House’s response to the Senate Climate package passed in January of 2020. Both houses passing overarching climate policy demonstrates the power of grassroots organizing and coalition building.
In this legislative session that began January 2019, 350 Mass and our partners in the Mass Power Forward coalition and beyond have been advocating for a commitment to 100% renewable energy, environmental justice, and equitable investment in green infrastructure.
Bills with strong provisions, explicit 100% renewable goals, and a shorter time-line among other desirable provisions were not allowed to pass through committees. However, the Roadmap bill, with a focus on planning, was allowed to come to the floor. When it did, 350 Mass and our allies pushed for improving amendments, several of which passed.
For all its shortcomings, the Roadmap Bill does provide a foundation for future efforts. And it is a step forward for a Legislature that has not passed significant climate protection laws for years— we can thank our representatives who have tirelessly championed our bills, and we must continue to push for policies that go further.
Amendment (#52), introduced by Rep Madaro, Rep Dubois, and Rep Miranda includes most of the environmental justice bill and passed with overwhelming support. This was a top priority of many grassroots groups and it’s advance through the House is a significant victory.
In summary, we got amendments (#16), net metering for on-site renewable energy facilities,
(#31), 3% RPS, 40% renewable electricity by 2040 (our original bill was 100% by 2035 for electricity AND was economy wide, beyond just electricity),
(#17), explicit definitions for indirect emissions adding waste management and the agricultural sector,
(#81), which mandates a study to go along with (#17) that will provide data on those emissions,
And (Amendment A), an increase in offshore wind capacity.
Sadly, Rep. Sabadosa's timeline didn't pass (#61), this amendment would have moved the timeline to start reducing emissions— (The House bill will start in 2024, whereas the Senate bill starts in 2022) as well as established reporting dates.
These key amendments would not have passed without pressure from grassroots organizations like 350 Mass and our coalition partners. We can celebrate these victories, and we know that we still have far to go. The 2018 UN IPCC report outlines the desperate need for drastic action to reduce emissions by 2030.
The bill will now go into a conference committee with the Senate (S.2500), with a final bill expected sometime in the next few months. We will continue our advocacy throughout this process, and beyond.
350 Mass has been working to gather signatures for a ballot measure that would instruct representatives to support policies to get Massachusetts to 100% renewable energy by 2040. And a question on transparency of committee votes so that we have greater accountability for those committees where most of the original bills die.
We are on track to submit the thousands of signatures we have collected tomorrow at noon.
We will continue to build power in the climate movement and beyond through our Road to the Green New Deal campaign where we are lifting up the connections between addressing climate change and ensuring basic needs and human rights for all people. Rest assured we will be back next session demanding more. See below for solidarity actions to support this effort.
You can thank your Representative for voting in favor of the Roadmap Bill, amendments using this customizable form email. Please share this link to fellow MA residents to do the same. We want legislators to know their constituents are happy when they vote in favor of taking action on climate change.
The 2050 Roadmap bill is an important, albeit imperfect, step towards a sustainable future. While there are many more fights to go, it is appropriate to take a minute to celebrate this accomplishment.
This could not have happened without the hard work of so many committed individuals and grassroots organizations. Thank you for doing your part.
350 Mass for a Better Future
Last week the formal legislative session was extended until January 2021. This means that bills that are currently alive in committees still have a chance to become law this session. This includes bills championed by some of our partners: