On the day that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released its latest report calling for “immediate and deep emissions reductions across all sectors,” the state Senate sent for review a handful of bills meant to promote electric vehicle adoption.
Six bills filed by Senate Majority Leader Cynthia Creem were referred to committees during Monday’s session: the Committee on Telecommunications, Utilities and Energy got petitions to incentivize adoption of zero-emission vehicles and the early retirement of high-emission vehicles (SD 2945), to reduce the emissions of transportation network companies and private vehicle fleets (SD 2944) and to promote access to zero-emission school buses (SD 2943); a petition (SD 2942) to establish guidelines for the installation of electric vehicle charging stations by condominium owners was referred to the Housing Committee; a proposal (SD 2941) to promote the recovery and recycling of electric vehicle batteries was handed over to the Committee on Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture; and a petition (SD 3010) relative to the use of low embodied carbon concrete in state projects was passed along to the Committee on State Administration and Regulatory Oversight.
The Senate is expected to consider a broad climate bill dealing with offshore wind policy, transportation sector emissions, solar programs and more in the coming months. Senate President Karen Spillka suggested in February that the Senate bill will seek to move Massachusetts further away from fossil fuels, which continue to play a prominent role in the economy.
“It does certainly emphasize the need for us to go electric and take off our reliance on gas and that’s something that I know in the Senate we’re planning on looking at anyway,” she said when asked about soaring gasoline prices. “So this really emphasizes the need for electric public transportation and personal transportation.”
At about the same time Monday that the Senate sent the new bills to committee, the United Nations-backed IPCC released a report that said limiting global warming to no more than 1.5 degrees Celsius this century, which scientists have said is necessary to avoid catastrophe, “is beyond reach” without immediate and aggressive action.
“In order to tackle climate, we need to employ nature-based strategies that protect, restore, and better manage forests, farms, and wetlands to reduce and remove carbon from the air and store it long term,” Deb Markowitz, Massachusetts Director of The Nature Conservancy, said. “This is the kind of work that we are doing every day, on-the-ground in Massachusetts. Unless we make significant new investments in nature-based solutions to help counteract rising emissions, the world will fail to meet the global goal of limiting warming to +1.5c.”