Policy Update

Massachusetts Advances Net-Zero Emissions Bill

Region

Northeast

NCEL Point of Contact

Clara Summers
Climate and Energy Manager

Contact
Massachusetts Passes Net-Zero Emissions and Defines “Environmental Justice Communities,” Promoting Equitable Impacts

The Massachusetts legislature just passed S9, An Act Creating a Next-Generation Roadmap for Massachusetts Climate Policy, sponsored by Sen. Mike Barrett. The legislation has passed both chambers twice and is on Gov. Baker’s desk for signature. The bill: 

  • requires the state to reach net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 and mandates emissions limits every 5 years, as well as sector-specific limits for transportation, buildings, and other emissions sources.
  • defines and requires protections for “environmental justice communities”
  • establishes a more robust building energy code that municipalities can opt into, which includes a definition of “net-zero building” and net-zero building performance standards.
  • directs utility regulators to balance priorities between system safety, security, reliability, affordability, equity, and, significantly, reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.

Ten states are considering emissions reduction targets this year. Net-zero emissions targets require all economic sectors to cease or fully offset emissions and allow states to identify the sectors that need the most policy attention. Incorporating environmental justice into climate plans helps redress harm, support healthy communities, and ensure that climate solutions are enduring.