One challenge of addressing the threat of climate change through policy and advocacy is maintaining hope through the process. We’ve all seen or heard the discouraging reports issued by climate activists and experts, but it is important to acknowledge our successes and remain hopeful about the future.
Yesterday, the Senate passed groundbreaking climate legislation I helped craft that would help Massachusetts meet its climate goals and reach net-zero emissions by 2050. To meet these goals, this bill accelerates the transition to zero-emission vehicles, allows 10 communities to restrict fossil fuels in new construction, and expands the deployment of clean energy like solar and wind. In total, it invests $250 million in Massachusetts’ efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
During debate, the Senate adopted dozens of amendments that I worked on to further strengthen the bill, including one that will help Massachusetts determine how to replace every fossil fuel-powered school bus in the Commonwealth with a zero-emission school bus, and another setting a timeline for the MBTA to electrify the commuter rail. An electrified regional rail system will be able to provide faster, more frequent, and more flexible service—making it a more attractive option and helping us reduce congestion and emissions on our roads.
This is the second major climate legislation passed by the Senate this session, which demonstrates our strong commitment to reach net-zero emissions by 2050. This should instill a sense of progress—and hope for the future.
As Chair of the Global Warming and Climate Change Committee, I am proud to work alongside colleagues, staff, and advocates who share my belief that Massachusetts should be a national leader on climate policy. Together, we’ve fostered ambition and optimism to create policies to address climate change head-on and prepare Massachusetts for a resilient future.
This legislation now heads to a conference committee, stay tuned.
Below are bill highlights and details:
Cindy Creem is a Massachusetts state senator representing the 1st Middlesex and Norfolk district, which includes Newton, Brookline and parts of Wellesley. The above passage was excerpted from Senator Creem’s April 22, 2022 email newsletter. Green Newton is grateful to Senator Creem for championing this bill.