Massachusetts Global Warming Solutions Act
The Northeast Climate Impacts Assessment, organized by the Union of Concerned Scientists, illustrated that global warming poses a serious threat to the economic well-being, public health, and natural resources of Massachusetts. Potential adverse impacts include worsening air quality, a loss of many of the state's indigenous species of plants and animals, a rise in sea levels threatening thousands of coastal businesses and residences, damage to coastal and marine ecosystems, and an increase in the incidences of infectious diseases, asthma, and other human health-related problems.
Massachusetts has long been a national and international leader in energy efficiency, renewable energy development, and environmental protection. The Global Warming Solutions Act, passed in July 2008, continues this tradition of environmental leadership by bringing Massachusetts back to the forefront of national and international efforts to reduce global warming pollution. Similar laws have passed in California, Minnesota, and New Jersey.
The Act sets up a broad framework for reducing heat-trapping emissions to levels that scientists believe give us a decent chance of avoiding the worst effects of global warming. It sets mandatory, science-based targets for global warming pollution reductions from all sectors of the economy of 10 to 25 percent below today's levels by 2020 and 80 percent by 2050. It also requires the Patrick administration to formulate and implement a plan to meet these targets—with input from the public and other state agencies.
While national and international actions are necessary to fully address the issue of climate change, action taken by Massachusetts to reduce global warming pollution will have far-reaching effects by encouraging other states, the federal government, and other countries to act. By exercising a global leadership role and investing in the development of innovative and pioneering technologies, Massachusetts will also position its economy, technology centers, financial institutions, and businesses to benefit from national and international efforts to reduce global warming pollution.