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Massachusetts sets state GHG emissions limit for 2020 at 25% below 1990 levels, releases plan with additional measures, including Pay As You Drive auto insurance

30 December 2010

Massachusetts Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA) Secretary Ian Bowles has set the statewide greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions limit for 2020 required by the Global Warming Solutions Act of 2008 at 25% below 1990 levels, the maximum authorized by the Act, saying that measures already in place will get Massachusetts much of the way toward that goal.

A targeted portfolio of additional policies, chosen because they promise overall cost savings, will allow the state to reach the most ambitious target for GHG reduction of any state in the country, Secretary Bowles said. Included among these is a pilot program for Pay As You Drive auto insurance, intended to incent reduction in vehicle miles travelled (VMT).

The Global Warming Solutions Act (GWSA), signed by Governor Deval Patrick in August 2008, mandates the reduction of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions 80% below 1990 levels by 2050, and requires the Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs to set a legally enforceable GHG emissions limit for 2020 of between 10% and 25% below 1990 levels by 1 January 2011, and to issue a plan for achieving those reductions while growing the clean energy economy.

Secretary Bowles set the limit today at the statutory maximum of 25 percent and released the Clean Energy and Climate Plan for 2020, which contains a portfolio of policies designed to meet the limit.

In his formal determination of the 2020 emissions limit, Secretary Bowles noted that “established state policies to promote energy conservation and cleaner energy sources are expected to produce GHG reductions of 18% below 1990 levels by 2020,” and that the remaining question before him in making the determination was “where in the remaining statutory range of 18 to 25% reduction it is practical and appropriate to set the 2020 limit. Central to that question is what additional actions of policy, regulation, and legislation could be pursued that would achieve additional emissions reduction by 2020 and beyond.

Though he considered “a wide range of measures,” Secretary Bowles included in the implementation plan for 2020 “only those additional measures that provide significant energy cost savings and create clean energy jobs,” but those he found sufficient to support the maximum emissions reduction requirement of 25 percent.

The 136-page Clean Energy and Climate Plan for 2020 contains a portfolio of established and new measures that reduce energy waste, save money, and stimulate the adoption of clean energy technologies, thereby creating jobs at the same time that they reduce GHG emissions.

Transportation. The state is targeting a 7.6% reduction below 1990 levels for the transportation sector. Existing policies contributing to this include:

  • Federal and California light duty vehicle standards (2.6% reduction);
  • Federal emissions and fuel efficiency standards for medium- and heavy-duty vehicles (0.3% reduction);
  • Federal renewable fuel standard and regional low carbon fuel standard (1.6% reduction);
  • Sustainable development principles (0.1%)

New policies outlined in the report include:

  • Clean Car Consumer Incentives. Incentives for consumers to shift their vehicle purchases to more fuel-efficient (or lower GHG) models. This includes varying the rates on new car sales taxes, annual auto excise (property) taxes, and registration fees, with rates raised on low-MPG vehicles and reduced on high-MPG ones. The change could be designed to be revenue-neutral to consumers as a whole and to the state. EEA and MassDOT will conduct a study to examine critical implementation challenges and possible regulatory or legislative paths for this policy. (0.5% reduction)

  • Pay As You Drive (PAYD) Auto Insurance Pilot. PAYD would convert a large fixed annual premium into a variable cost based on miles traveled, creating a major incentive to reduce discretionary driving, while cutting the overall cost of insurance due to fewer accidents. Miles driven would fall substantially, according to state estimates, along with CO2 emissions and costs for gasoline, accidents, and congestion. The Commonwealth plans to conduct a PAYD pilot program initially, and, depending on results, work with the insurance industry to make this payment method more widely available. (1.1% reduction)

  • GreenDOT. GreenDOT is MassDOT’s sustainability initiative, announced through a Policy Directive by the Secretary of Transportation in June 2010. GreenDOT is focused on three related goals: reducing GHG emissions; promoting the healthy transportation modes of walking, bicycling, and public transit; and supporting smart growth development. (1.2% reduction)

  • Smart Growth Policy Package (Expanded Policy) Additional smart growth would make it easier for households and businesses to decrease the number and distance of vehicle trips, reducing VMT and related emissions. Massachusetts already has several policies promoting smart growth, but new, complementary policies are necessary to achieve the smart growth targets. Such policies would focus on influencing infrastructure investments by state agencies and planning decisions made by local governments. (0.4% reduction)

Outside of the transport sector, existing policies include the Green Communities Act requirement of capturing all cost-effective energy efficiency, projected to yield $6 billion in customer savings from $2 billion of investment over three years. Continuation of these energy efficiency efforts, plus additional building-related measures such as deep-energy improvements in buildings; advanced, flexible building energy codes; and a new energy rating and labeling system that will be the equivalent of miles-per-gallon auto fuel efficiency ratings for buildings, beginning as a pilot program in western Massachusetts will reduce GHG emissions statewide nearly 10% by 2020.

In electricity supply, established programs like the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative and the Renewable Portfolio Standard will be supplemented by efforts to obtain additional clean energy imports such as Canadian hydropower and a proposed Clean Energy Performance Standard, which would require electricity suppliers to favor lower- and no-emissions sources in the mix of electricity delivered to their customers, will reduce emissions 7.7% by 2020.

In non-energy related sources of emissions, new and expanded programs will address leaking refrigerants that are more powerful greenhouse gases than carbon dioxide, for additional reductions of 2%.

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December 30, 2010 in Climate Change, Emissions, Policy | Permalink | Comments (21) | TrackBack (0)

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Good move by Mass. The major part of the 20% reduction will come from clean Hydro Electricity shipped from Canada instead of Crude Oil from Tar Sands. A wise approach. We could produce enough surplus hydro to satisfy 100%+ of their requirements. All we need is a long term commitment and enough lead time to build more production facilities and power lines. The same applies for Conn, Vt, NY, and other nearby states.

Correct....20% should read 25%.

It takes courage to bring change, but that is the only policy worth voting for.

Yes Arnold, but in our NEW democracy, very well financed campaigns use scare tactics and false propaganda to deviate votes away from what it should be. Good ideas suddenly become bad ideas associated with socialism or other scary political ways that we have been told, over and over again, to avoid and turn down. Money can swing votes and it does,
more so than worthy policies.

One definition of propaganda is convincing people that something good for them is bad for them and vice versa.

The most recent available comparison of state debt that I could find was for 2007, per capita:

Massachusetts was 1st (in per capita); Alaska was 2nd, with California, 23rd.

For debt as a % of personal income, Massachusetts was 2nd behind Alaska, with California, 28th.

In budget gap (total, not per capita - but for 2010 this time) we see California has claimed it's rightful place as today’s number 1
and little Massachusetts is number 7.

Conn, Vt, NY, and other nearby states have similar situations.

It takes courage, but this GWSA is a good move by Massachusetts to close the gap, but since they are a small state, their per capita budget gap might be horrendous already.

But no, it is not enough, California has been awarded $1.14 billion in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds while Massachusetts gets a mere $0.33 billion; so you can see why they must try harder.

Some say that in our NEW democracy, “what we would like to be true, can be true, if we only believe” (I think this is a quote from Harry Potter).

They say that cries of warning to deviate votes away from what we would like things to be, is just false propaganda.

Good dreams suddenly become bad ideas associated with socialism, bankruptcy or other scary political ways that we have been told, over and over again, to avoid and turn down.

Monetary responsibility is just materialism. Tea party protesters are nothing but lowly taxpayers and can swing votes, more so than pure ideology, by appealing to common sense.

One definition of propaganda is convincing people that something that they cannot afford is actually OK, because they want it.

Compelling people to use less, drive less, and use bicycles without stabilizing the population is the kind of conservation I oppose. It restricts freedom for the middle class, while the rich enjoy more benefits of the increased income gap. 75,000 people per month are legally immigrating for no real purpose except "this country was built by immigrants" and other such propaganda. Their impact on global warming and ocean acidification should be directly addressed the Energy Plan, but it is not even mentioned.

Increasing efficiency, non-fossil energy sources, more stringent power plant regulation is good in the long run. But this is only after there are only jellyfish in the ocean and massive extinction of wildlife due to excessive habitat destruction and demand for food, and water. This is independent of global warming and ocean acidification caused by burning fossil fuels. However, what is common to all these problems is overpopulation, which is a reality now.

Population stabilization should be an integral part of the GWSA and Energy Plan. How much pressure has Patrick put on the federal government to reduce immigration or the Catholic church in Boston to promote family planning?

TT: What your saying is that the philosophy (Buy now and Pay latter) has spread across USA and has become very difficult to manage. The credit bubble is being inflated day by day and it will sooner or latter burst in our face.

Instead of correcting the situation, we cut taxes and increase benefits wrongly believing that is the right thing to do.

The worse may come latter unless we react properly.

Debt for business investment can work because the company has new plants and equipment to make more to pay the debt. Consumer debt is another matter all together. In the past, when goods were made in the U.S. it circulated, now with most of the goods made in another country it does not.

Back in the 1980s Hydro Quebec was ready to invest in additional hydro electric plants in order to supply clean energy needs to the New England States as well as New York. They called a meeting with the Governors of the affected States to presnt their proposal. The plan was well received by all concerned. The project was ready to proceed to the next phase. You guessed it, the Green Radicals stepped in and put the kabosh on the whole deal. That was the end of clean hydro power for New England.

More recently in 2006 a proposal was tabled to import wind energy from the Canadian Maritimes to the New England region. Again the Green Radicals put the kabosh on that as well. This time they had a problem with transmission lines spoiling the environment.

Until these clowns are sidelined and not given a veto at the decision making table no clean energy will ever be imported to this part of the US.

Reducing taxes on the rich to create jobs hasn't worked for eight plus years. The rich spend money to maintain their standard of living. Their surplus surplus income they invest overseas. So much for the Republican recipe for job creation.

Incidentally, I'm neither a Democrat or Republican.

I vote my pocketbook.

@ Zhukova

The number of children born to Catholic couples in the US is about the same as for non Catholics according to most surveys on population statistics.

Cutting down on teen pregnancy as well as having children out of wed lock would reduce the population more effectively than bashing the Boston Catholic leadership.

Don't let your religious bias get in the way of drawing the right conlusions based on facts.

Yes I believe that the philosophy (Buy now and Pay latter) has spread across USA.

Many households are reversing this trend (however slightly) but many states are in very deep and slow to cut spending.

The federal government just prints more money.

As to reducing taxes on everyone, including the rich, to create jobs; it is a valid principal. Don't forget that it is our money and I do not view "the government taking less" as charity; particularly when the government wastes it.

Virtually everyone spends money to maintain their standard of living.

And most everyone buys goods from overseas.

Mann....Have you looked in who had vested interest in blocking clean hydro and clean wind power for New England States. Don't be mislead by Group Names. It is very often very different from the sponsor's.

Coal lobbies and cold fired power plants were the vested interests in this case, not green organisations.

@Harvey&Mannstein
I believe the term "astroturfing" applies here.

@Mannstein
It's not bias, it is well-known fact that the catholic church opposes contraception, s_x education, and abortion, all of which are methods of family planning.

I didn't say anything about family size in my other post, but I will now. Millions of immigrants from south of the border are 99% catholic and do have larger family size.

Population stabilization could start with limiting the child tax credit for families with a large carbon footprint (too many children). It should be part of Patrick's GWSA and Energy Plan.

ai_vin...thank you for the correct word. Astroturfing or rent-a-crowd and similar disguided public relation exercises/propaganda are powerful communication tools used by interested parties to promote their vested interests. According to Wikipedia, the Repulican party (and many affiliates and supporters) and China are the major users of this dubious practice. Tobacco companies made extensive used of it for decades.

According to Wikipedia... - a hearsay-based "encyclopedia?" Sorry, Widipedia is not an authority on anything. Authors who write for them might be.

As for Massatwosets GHG emissions... Trying to control global warming by limiting CO2 is following a Massatwosets tradition that started in 1692:

http://www.nationalgeographic.com/salem/

Why not address the REEL issues?? As Zhukova points out, population is primary. AND Energy Independence is the real goal that ends fossil addiction.

Reels: How do you explain that many highly populated countries have per capita pollution 4 to 10 times lower than us. Our acquired living style may have more to do with our very high per capita pollution emissions.

If we had built better built homes and higher efficiency HVAC, better lights and appliances, electrified vehicles and rails, clean electrical power generating plants and ate 50% less, we could reduce the pollution we create by 80% and more and be 50% less sick and 90% less overweight. USA's population could grow to 1.5B with less pollution.

HarveyD, you should know by now that the emission of CO2 - a vital plant fertilizer - the atmospheric density of which was 1800-2100ppm during the Devonian Period when Earth's first forests emerged - IS NOT A POLLUTANT.

But I agree with your second paragraph with regard to REAL pollutants which are toxic to man and the environment. Especially the issue of obesity which thank God is being addressed by an astute Michelle Obama.

Ladies and Gentlemen! Instead of having technical discussions we talk politics (rightfully so) because in MA (taxochusetts as we call it) it is difficult not to do so. Introducing new insurance rules is going to hurt trucking companies (some drivers drive 100K miles/year)and let me remind you that competition in this socialist state is absent. So, health providers, insurance companies are told what to charge and "Obamacare" is in full swing out here. The state is in debt (gigantic) and it is getting deeper and deeper and our socialist Governor does not have brain to solve problems in other way but taxing.
Going green by mandate is good(?) but going green because competition pushes so is superb and sustainable. Thank you for your attention.

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