Faster Action Needed to End Fossil Fuel Dependence
October 31, 2014
The state's highly touted Global Warming Solutions Act (GWSA) is outdated, underfunded, and is not adequately addressing the problem of climate change , according to the team of three Green-Rainbow Party candidates appearing on the statewide ballot.
"The so-called Global Warming Solutions Act must be replaced by new legislation that reflects the seriousness of the climate crisis we face and makes firm, honest commitments to real solutions," according to Danny Factor, candidate for Secretary of State, Ian Jackson, candidate for State Treasurer, and M K Merelice, candidate for State Auditor.
According to Factor, there appears to be a deliberate attempt to overstate the impact of the GWSA upon greenhouse gas emissions. "When we hear that the legislation will lead us toward an emission reduction target of 20%, there is no effort to explain that only a small fraction of that reduction is due to the GWSA itself. The bulk of the claimed reduction is due to speculative claims about what the Federal government will do or what energy consumers will do. When you cut through the promotional hype and put actual numbers on the board, you see that the GWSA simply isn't doing much to avert the threat of global warming."
There is also a problem in the way the GWSA measures emission reductions, according to Factor. "The Patrick Administration is taking credit for end-point carbon dioxide emission reductions achieved by substituting natural gas for oil and coal. This fuel substitution is being driven almost entirely by fuel prices, not by the GWSA. But scientists have recently shown that when the full production cycle of natural gas is considered, that gas produces about the same climate impact as coal. That's because it releases methane into the atmosphere - and pound-for-pound methane does 72 times more damage than carbon dioxide. So the emission reductions being claimed for the GWSA are phony. You shouldn't claim to be showing leadership when you're just substituting one fossil fuel for another."
The Green-Rainbow candidates called for a new action plan that would make a commitment to a rapid phase-out of all types of fossil fuels in favor of conservation, smart electricity grids, solar power, wind power, and other forms of renewable energy. According to Mereice "Across the nation and Europe, governments are now making commitments to 100% renewable energy in the 2030-2035 time frame. In contrast, Massachusetts is talking about an 80% reduction by 2050 - a goal that is so far into the future that it justifies foot-dragging by the current administration. We must commit to a more ambitious time frame. Our failure to do that is why we are talking about spending billions of dollars on bigger gas pipelines."
"We've given lots of lip service to renewable energy, but the proof of our commitment will be the capital investments we make in energy infrastructure" added Jackson. "We need to start now to make investments that bring the fossil fuel era to an end. The funding of wind turbines at NCCI in Gardner through Green Bonds shows what is possible. The successful sale of Green Bonds shows that investors want to invest in the environment."
Merelice said that a serious action plan should cut the use of natural gas in half over a 20 year period. "This would make it completely unnecessary - and economically absurd - to spend billions of dollars on schemes for expanding gas pipelines in New England." She pointed to the newly installed solar panels on her own home as an example of how the right investments could cut demand for natural gas.
Jackson added that "the Patrick Administration claims that fracked gas is a 'bridge' to the future. But if we let new gas pipelines be built - followed by the inevitable massive surge of fracking pollution into the atmosphere - we won't have a future. There isn't time to build a bridge to fossil fuel disaster and then change course. The Green-Rainbow Party wants to put our resources into building a bridge that goes somewhere else - to a secure, clean, green future built on renewable energy."
- - - - -
Links to GRP candidate websites can be found at http://www.green-rainbow.org/candidates
Some references relevant to this media release:
 " Stanford researcher maps out an alternative energy future for New York"
 " Is a 100 Percent Renewable Energy Target Truly Feasible?" http://www.energydigital.com/renewables/3609/Is-a-100-Percent-Renewable-Energy-Target-Truly-Feasible
" Germany’s Windiest State Set to Achieve 100-Percent Renewable Energy" http://ecowatch.com/2014/06/25/german-state-100-percent-renewable-energy/
 100% renewable energy becoming the new normal? http://cleantechnica.com/2013/02/22/100-renewable-energy-becoming-the-new-normal/
 The Solutions Project, Possible 100% renewable future for Massachusetts, http://thesolutionsproject.org/infographic/ - ma
 "Beyond the 2020 Plan: A Review of the Massachusetts Clean Energy and Climate Plan, Harvard Law School, Emmett Environmental Law & Policy Clinic, August 2013