Gov. Patrick Joins Environment Massachusetts to Celebrate Progress on Clean Energy and Climate Solutions
Boston, MA – Governor Deval Patrick and Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs Richard Sullivan were joined today at the Hatch Shell by Ben Wright from Environment Massachusetts and more than 200 activists to celebrate Earth Day by highlighting environmental progress that has been made and to look forward to the opportunities to do even more.
At the event, Environment Massachusetts released a report, “A Record of Leadership: How Northeastern States Are Cutting Global Warming Pollution and Building a Clean Economy”, highlighting how clean energy and environmental policies have helped states reduce global warming emissions while challenging claims that these actions undermine economic growth. According the report, Massachusetts and other states that participate in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) have cut per capita carbon dioxide emissions 20% faster than the rest of the nation, even as the region’s gross product per capita grew 87% faster than the rest of the United States.
“We have developed a nation-leading clean energy agenda because it is the right thing to do for our environment, our energy independence and our public health,” said Governor Patrick. “As a result of our nation-leading policies, we have accelerated job growth and economic development, and will leave the Commonwealth a better place for the next generation.”
“Thanks to Governor Patrick, his agencies and other state leaders, Massachusetts has been a leader among leaders when it comes to policies that reduce global warming pollution and promote energy efficiency and renewable energy. Our successes to date should give us the confidence that we can do so much more. We look forward to working with Massachusetts’ leaders to keep us on the clean energy path,” said Ben Wright, advocate for Environment Massachusetts.
“With your help, we’ve achieved some significant clean energy goals that will protect our environment, stabilize our energy costs and create local jobs,” said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Richard K. Sullivan Jr. “Thank you for your hard work and advocacy on behalf of our environment.”
The speakers highlighted specific initiatives including:
Governor Patrick’s commitment to clean energy: Under Governor Patrick, solar installations in the Commonwealth have increased 30-fold and the administration has been a vocal and committed supporter of Cape Wind, the nation’s first proposed offshore wind project.
Massachusetts’ leadership on energy efficiency: Massachusetts’s strong utility energy efficiency programs coupled with strong policies to improve the energy performance of buildings have earned the state the honor of being the most energy efficient state in nation, according to the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (ACEEE).
Capping global warming emissions: In July 2008, Massachusetts Governor Patrick signed the Global Warming Solutions Act; which requires Massachusetts to reduce emissions by 25% from 1990 levels by 2020 and 80% below 1990 levels by 2050.
The Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI): Massachusetts played a leading role in the development of RGGI; which has played a critical role in the states effort to reduce pollution and move to clean energy. Massachusetts has invested 100% of the RGGI program revenues—more than $142 million so far — in programs to improve energy efficiency, accelerate the deployment of renewable energy technologies and reduce carbon emissions.
While the speakers acknowledge the progress Massachusetts has made, they also pointed to specific initiatives they noted were crucial to continue growing the clean energy sector in Massachusetts. Ben Wright specifically pointed to the need to build on the success of the state’s solar programs by strengthening the state’s net-metering program and to the importance of strengthening the landmark RGGI program. He also called on the federal government to do its part by ensuring that it is doing it’s part to support the growing clean energy sector in the state.
“We’ve made tremendous progress. But, with global warming and pollution from fossil fuels threatening our health and our environment – the region cannot afford to rest on its laurels,” said Wright. “We look forward to working with our state and national leaders to keep us on track by improving RGGI and strengthening policies that promote clean energy like wind and solar. ”
Environment Massachusetts is a state-wide, citizen supported environmental advocacy organization working to protect Massachusetts’ clean air, clean water and special places.