Eliminate Internal Combustion Engine in 14 Years, Massachusetts Legislator Says

Printed from: https://newbostonpost.com/2021/01/29/eliminate-internal-combustion-engine-in-14-years-massachusetts-legislator-says/

A bill passed by the Massachusetts Legislature seeks to lower carbon emissions to net zero by 2050, but it doesn’t go far enough, a supporter said.

Mandating that all cars in the state be powered by electricity in 14 years and divesting state funds from oil and natural gas companies are also needed, said state Senator Marc Pacheco (D-Taunton).

The new Biden administration in Washington D.C. is showing the way on climate change, he said, and Massachusetts must follow.

“We need to be codifying their goal of clean energy vehicles by 2035 in the state statute. It’s not in this bill. But it needs to be done,” Pacheco said during floor debate Thursday. “We need to be looking at eliminating internal combustion engines in the Commonwealth by 2035.”

Climate change legislation supporters say that climate change is bad and that human activity has a significant effect on it. They argue that sharply decreasing emissions of carbon would slow increases in temperatures, which they predict will otherwise cause significant rises in the sea level that they say will adversely affect human beings.

The goal, according to a United Nations body called the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, is to decrease net emissions of carbon to zero by 2050, so as to try to limit predicted increases in temperatures from 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit to 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit. (The report uses Celsius measurements; those figures are 2 degrees Celsius and 1.5 degrees Celsius, respectively.)

Massachusetts Senate Bill 9 attempts to meet that standard. But Pacheco, who supports the bill, says it doesn’t go far enough in that direction, either.

“We will be on target for net zero by 2050. That’s what the international standards are, out of the IPCC. Although, when we look at the new science, we could very easily be passing a bill that says net zero by 2040. That’s where we probably should be heading, given the newest numbers we now have,” Pacheco said Thursday, January 28.

The Massachusetts Senate passed the bill Thursday, followed by the House. Governor Charlie Baker vetoed a similar bill earlier this month that was passed at the tail end of the last legislative session. The governor has until Sunday, February 7 to sign the new bill, veto it, or return it to the Senate with amendments.

Baker is generally a supporter of climate change measures. But he criticized the bill the Legislature sent him January 4.

“Many of the mandates in this legislation are not supported by scientific and detailed data analysis …” Governor Baker said in his pocket veto message.

The governor also cited a possible negative effect on building housing and on economic growth.

“As we are all learning what the future will hold, I have concerns about the impacts portions of this bill will have for large sectors of the economy,” Baker said in the veto message.

Baker administration officials have engaged in talks with state legislators seeking alterations in the bill, which has 14,866 words.