Around New England

War on Gas-Powered Cars Needed To Combat Climate Change, Environmentalists Say

October 1, 2019

Targeting motors that burn fuel and replacing them with electricity-powered mass transit, electric cars, and bikepaths are among the goals of a coalition seeking to fight climate change.

The coalition, called Our Transportation Future, anticipates government-mandated caps on emissions under a framework called the Transportation and Climate Initiative. The initiative includes 12 states — Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Maine, Vermont, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, and Virginia — plus Washington D.C., the nation’s capital.

An official of the Sierra Club, an environmental advocacy organization, praised the new framework.

“We are in a climate crisis and burning motor fuels is the largest source of climate-disrupting pollution regionally and nationally. Now is a time for states to make bold and transformative investments, particularly with and for communities overburdened by pollution and under-resourced for clean transportation opportunities, including setting a strong cap on pollution, expanding access to zero-emission vehicles, providing electric mass transit as an alternative to driving, and investing in safe walking and biking paths to revitalize neighborhoods,” said Mark Kresowik, deputy director of the Sierra Club’s Eastern Region, in a written statement Tuesday, October 1.

Supporters of the new framework consider Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker, a Republican, an ally.

“This announcement is an important milestone in the TCI process. The regional, bi-partisan, market-based program holds great promise and has real momentum thanks to leadership from Governor Baker. Massachusetts residents deserve a robust and equitable regional agreement that will clean up our air and enable new investments in our transportation system statewide,” said Chris Dempsey, director of Transportation for Massachusetts, in a written statement.

Our Transportation Future has 65 environmental advocacy organizations, including several in Massachusetts.

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