Students advocate for 100% renewable commitment

Media Contacts
Peter Schneider

Environment Massachusetts

Boston – Student activists gathered at the State House today in support of powering Massachusetts with 100% renewable energy.

“Massachusetts must lead the way to a 100% clean and renewable future,” said Kaitlyn Mitchell, 100% Renewable Energy Campaign Coordinator for MASSPIRG Students. “Our generation is united in calling for a rapid transition away from fossil fuels.”

The day of action brought together dozens of college students from 10 campuses to ask legislators to support the 100% Renewable Energy Act (H.2836, S.1958). This legislation, filed by Representative Marjorie Decker, Representative Sean Garballey, and Senator Jamie Eldridge, would transition Massachusetts to 100% renewable electricity by 2035 and 100% renewable energy sources for heating and transportation by 2045.

So far, 113 legislators, including a majority of the House of Representatives and Senate, have cosponsored the 100% Renewable Energy Act.

“It is exciting to see how much enthusiasm and support has been generated for this bill, especially by our young people. As a mother, I am grateful for their organizing efforts but as a legislator I recognize that gratitude is not enough,” said Representative Marjorie Decker (D-Cambridge), House Chair of the Joint Committee on Mental Health, Substance Use and Recovery. “Our students recognize the crucial need for renewable energy legislation—they feel the urgency. They are looking at us, as adults, and as elected officials who are not acting with the same sense of urgency despite having the power to meet this profound crisis with bold and immediate actions. I welcome their advocacy and acknowledge that their security depends on the ability of myself and of my colleagues to legislate changes. Massachusetts must continue to be a leader on progressive climate policy, and we must ensure that environmental justice communities, working families, and all other stakeholders have seats at the table.”

Students also voiced their support for other bills to increase the use of clean energy. MASSPIRG Students and Environment Massachusetts are supporting 15 bills as part of the 100% Renewable Energy Agenda.

Support for a future powered by 100% renewable energy is growing. Recently, the Mayors of Somerville, New Bedford, Easthampton, and Worcester announced the launch of Mayors for 100% Renewable Energy, a new coalition supporting a statewide commitment to 100% renewable energy.

In a letter delivered to legislators last month, 86 clean energy businesses expressed their support for the 100% Renewable Energy Act.

“We can power our lives without polluting our air or changing our climate,” said Peter Schneider, Clean Energy Organizer with Environment Massachusetts. “For years, Massachusetts has led the nation in reducing harmful pollution and expanding renewable energy. Our Commonwealth’s leadership is needed now more than ever.”

Six states (Hawaii, California, New York, New Mexico, Washington, and Maine), along with Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia, have committed to phase out the use of fossil fuel electricity by 2050 or sooner. Under existing state law, Massachusetts would not reach 100% renewable electricity until 2095.

More than 50 environmental, civic, and business organizations have endorsed a statewide commitment to 100% renewable energy. Mass Power Forward, a statewide coalition with 200 member organizations, has included the 100% Renewable Energy Act among its top priorities for the 2019–2020 legislative session.

Through the RE100 initiative, more than 200 global companies have committed to a goal of 100% renewable energy. Major institutions have also committed to 100% renewable energy targets, including Boston University and Partners HealthCare.