Building on its ambitious commitment to achieve Net Zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the Commonwealth by 2050, the Baker-Polito Administration today released two reports – the Massachusetts 2050 Decarbonization Roadmap Report and an interim 2030 Clean Energy and Climate Plan (CECP) – that detail policies and strategies to equitably and cost-effectively reduce emissions and combat climate change. To maximize the Commonwealth’s ability to meet its 2050 target, Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Kathleen Theoharides set an interim 2030 statewide emissions limit of 45% below 1990 levels.
“The people of Massachusetts are experiencing record droughts, increased risk of wildfire, severe weather, and flooding in our coastal communities. The costly impacts of climate change are on display in the Commonwealth, making it critical that we take action,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “I was proud to commit the Commonwealth to achieving Net Zero emissions, and the reports released today move the Commonwealth toward that goal equitably and affordably.”
“The release of the 2050 Roadmap and Clean Energy and Climate Plan for 2030 marks an important step forward in the Commonwealth’s strategy to reduce emissions and take meaningful action against climate change,”said Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito. “Our ambitious Net Zero target offers us a great opportunity to build a healthier, more resilient Commonwealth, delivering significant benefits to our communities including clean, reliable energy, improved air quality, and new pathways for job creation and economic growth.”
The first-in-the-nation 2050 Roadmap outlines eight potential pathways to Net Zero emissions, including an analysis of potential energy resources, projected energy demand, and the energy supply necessary to meet the demand in all sectors of the economy while meeting the 2050 emissions limit established by the Commonwealth in April 2020. The Roadmap includes a summary report and six technical appendices, each detailing analysis and conclusions for specific sectors: Energy Supply; Transportation; Buildings; Land Use; Non-energy; and Economic and Health Impacts.
The 2050 Roadmap finds that, with careful attention to the strategies it selects, the Commonwealth can achieve Net Zero emissions by 2050 affordably while maintaining a thriving economy. Based on its analysis of a range of potential pathways, the Roadmap finds that the most cost-effective, low-risk pathways to Net Zero share core elements, including a balanced clean energy portfolio anchored by a significant offshore wind resource, more interstate transmission, widespread electrification of transportation and building heat, and reducing costs by taking action at the point of replacement for energy infrastructure.
The Roadmap also finds that achieving Net Zero emissions will deliver significant benefits to residents across the Commonwealth, including a precipitous drop in air pollution, particularly in environmental justice communities currently overburdened with poor air quality; savings in health costs of up to $100 million per year by 2030; and the creation of thousands of high-quality local jobs.
“We know that achieving Net Zero emissions by 2050 will require hard work and collaboration across all sectors of the economy in the Commonwealth,” said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Kathleen Theoharides. “The 2050 Roadmap establishes a blueprint that will help us achieve our climate goals in a way that is cost-effective and delivers significant benefits to residents across the Commonwealth, especially those in our most vulnerable communities. The steps the Commonwealth takes in the next decade will help to advance the decarbonization of our buildings, transportation, and electricity sectors, and be central to meeting our 2030 emissions limit.”
The 2030 CECP will help the Commonwealth meet its 2030 emissions limit of 45% below 1990 levels, which will require a reduction in statewide emissions about 19 million metric tons below current levels.
In the electricity sector, the plan finds that the Administration’s landmark, nation-leading clean energy and clean transmission procurements including offshore wind, hydropower, and the SMART solar program will be essential to achieving the 2030 limit, while the Commonwealth will work to add an additional 2,000 Megawatts of clean energy.
The transportation sector highlights a renewed focus on the deployment of electric vehicles with new, nation-leading state and regional programs including the Transportation and Climate Initiative Program. Building on that progress, Massachusetts will join California in requiring that by 2035, 100% of new light-duty vehicles sold in the Commonwealth are zero emission vehicles (ZEVs) support the continued build-out of statewide charging infrastructure, including additional consumer incentives for residential EV charging systems.
To decarbonize the Commonwealth’s buildings sector, the report highlights the development of energy efficient solutions for homes and businesses. In order to better align Mass Save® with the state’s GHG emissions reduction targets, DOER will work with the Commonwealth’s Energy Efficiency Advisory Council (EEAC) and Mass Save® program administrators to ensure that incentives for fossil-fuel heating systems are limited during the program’s next 3-year cycle (2022-24) and all available program resources are directed to clean heating systems no later than the end of 2024. Additionally, Mass Save® will develop increased air source and ground source heat pump incentives, as well as consumer education resources. The Commonwealth will also develop a proposal for a new high-efficiency energy code for new residential and commercial buildings as an option for Massachusetts’ Green Communities, and a new Governor’s Commission and Task Force on Clean Heat.
The 2030 CECP is being released for public comment, and the Administration is seeking feedback from stakeholders and members of the public. Public comments on the plan will be accepted through February 2021, and the Administration plans to publish a finalized 2030 CECP in March 2021.
The first CECP, published in 2010, detailed the Commonwealth’s plan for achieving its initial interim 2020 emissions limit – a 25% reduction below 1990 levels. In October 2020, the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection updated its Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Emissions Inventory, showing that in 2018, emissions in Massachusetts were 22.2% below emissions in 1990, putting the Commonwealth on track to achieve its 2020 emission reduction limit.
The Baker-Polito Administration is committed to ensuring the transition to a new low-carbon economy helps to close the health and economic disparities experienced in Environmental Justice communities. Participation by residents of Environmental Justice communities in both the decision-making process and the implementation of emissions reduction programs is both beneficial and necessary to meet the 2030 and 2050 emissions limits, while fulfilling the commitments of EEA’s Environmental Justice Policy.
“This roadmap provides comprehensive, flexible and realistic strategies for achieving climate goals,” said Robert Rio, Senior Vice President & Counsel of the Associated Industries of Massachusetts. “We look forward to working with the administration to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050.”
“We congratulate the Administration on a rigorous, clear-eyed analysis of the pathways to a net-zero economy by 2050. The report makes it plain that with smart policy and good planning, we can unlock tremendous potential benefits for climate, economy and human health,” said Elizabeth Henry, President of the Environmental League of Massachusetts.“ELM is pleased that responsibly-developed offshore wind is rightfully centered as a critical, low-cost workhorse in this clean energy transition. We also appreciate needed attention to the building sector and the complex but necessary drawdown of natural gas.”
“In 2010, Massachusetts led the nation with the most ambitious legally binding greenhouse gas reduction target (25% below 1990 levels by 2020). Today Massachusetts again leads with a proposed 45% reduction by 2030, which is at the top of all states, and many countries, in its level of ambition,” said Ken Kimmell, former Commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection and President of the Union of Concerned Scientists. “I look forward to seeing more details on the plan of how we reach that target, but the overall focus of running both the transportation and heating sectors on clean electricity from renewable resources is the right approach, and will yield significant public health benefits, particularly for our most vulnerable populations, and job growth in this fast growing clean energy sector.”
In April 2020, the Baker-Polito Administration officially established Net Zero GHG emissions as the Commonwealth’s new legal emissions limit for 2050.
In October 2020, in order to meet its emissions goals, the Commonwealth joined with its neighboring states to call upon the regional electrical grid operator to build a more transparent, modern, and cost-effective power system. The statement calls for reform of the regional electricity market design, transmission planning process, and the governance of ISO-New England, the independent system operator for the New England power system.
This announcement builds on the Baker-Polito Administration’s leadership on climate change. Last week, Governor Charlie Baker joined Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont, Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo and Washington, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser in launching a groundbreaking multi-state program that will reduce motor vehicle pollution by at least 26 percent and generate over $1.8 billion in Massachusetts by 2032. The bipartisan Transportation and Climate Initiative Program (TCI-P) will allow participating jurisdictions to invest in equitable, cleaner transportation options, and create significant new employment opportunities while substantially improving public health across the Commonwealth and New England.
Massachusetts continues to lead the nation in climate action, including through the first-in-nation Clean Peak Standard, the Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness (MVP) Program, participating in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), clean energy procurements, nation-leading energy efficiency programs, electric vehicle and charging infrastructure incentive programs, and its Clean Energy Standard (CES).