Referencing a draft technical report submitted as part of the Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs' (EEA) implementation of the Global Warming Solutions Act, Secretary Ian Bowles says the commonwealth is on its way to achieving a reduction in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The act calls for a reduction of GHG emissions of 10% to 25% below 1990 levels by 2020.
Prepared by Eastern Research Group Inc. (ERG), the draft report submitted to EEA's climate protection and green economy advisory committee for review and comment relies on a 1990 GHG emission baseline determined by the state last year. It outlines more than two dozen existing strategies, laws and policies projected to move the commonwealth toward an 18.6% GHG reduction from that level by 2020.
The Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, energy efficiency, renewable energy incentives, green transportation and smart growth, clean energy business development and workforce training, policies affecting large-scale private development, and reform of government operations are among the categories of programs moving Massachusetts toward a low-carbon future, according to the draft report.
Specific measures adopted during the Deval Patrick-Tim Murray administration that contribute to this projected reduction include expanded and energy efficiency programs, a more ambitious renewable portfolio standard, the commonwealth solar rebate program, adoption of smart growth/smart energy policies and adoption of a statewide energy efficient building code.
‘The Patrick administration has made great strides at making Massachusetts an environment for clean energy companies to grow,’ says Paul Gaynor, CEO of First Wind, a Massachusetts-based developer and operator of utility-scale wind projects. ‘The fact that this draft report shows there has been a significant reduction in GHGs demonstrates that we can protect our environment and keep our air clean while bringing real economic development to our state.’
Following review and comment by the advisory committee, ERG will file a final report on GHG reductions from established policies. Bowles will use that report to inform his establishment by the end of this year of a firm target for 2020 GHG reductions, within the 10% to 25% range, along with an economy-wide plan to achieve that target.