With new science emerging on the health impacts of fossil fuel consumption and increases in extreme weather and storm events relating to climate change, it’s clear that we need to do all that we can to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. It’s important because we are a coastal state, we have a vibrant agricultural industry and because we rely on imported energy for our electricity needs. Under the leadership of Governor Patrick, the Commonwealth has risen to the challenge of creating bold long-term goals to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions and investing in energy efficiency and renewable energy.
As a result of the Global Warming Solutions Act (GWSA), signed by Governor Patrick in August 2008, Massachusetts has greenhouse gas emissions limits of an 80 percent reduction of 1990 levels by 2050. In December 2010, our office released a the 2020 Clean Energy and Climate Plan plan that set the ambitious target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 25 percent from 1990 levels by 2020.
We’ve already made great progress on greenhouse gas reductions over a short period of time. We recognize the plan has to be dynamic but the investments we’ve made in solar, wind, electric vehicles and energy efficiency are already at work reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
With the implementation of the Green Communities Act, also signed in 2008, we now have 42 percent of Massachusetts residents (or 2.7 million people) living in Green Communities. All 86 Green Communities have committed to reducing their municipal energy consumption by 20 percent. This commitment by these patriots of our Massachusetts clean energy revolution equates to the annual energy consumption of more than 13,000 Massachusetts homes and the greenhouse gases emissions from more than 16,800 cars.
We have the most aggressive goals in the country and we know that means we have a lot of hard work ahead of us. This Administration has an absolute commitment to obtain those goals. I’ve assigned Undersecretary of Energy Barbara Kates-Garnick and Environment Undersecretary Phil Griffiths to oversee this ambitious plan with focus on transportation, buildings, energy generation, non-energy emissions and climate adaptation. We’ve got our team in place and a plan to engage with stakeholders. We are also unveiling an online tool to track our progress in May.
It will take all of us to meet these revolutionary clean energy goals. I hope you will join us.