On Tap: Senate plans climate bill rollout Thursday

Boston Statehouse

Sen. Marc Pacheco briefed reporters Tuesday about what he expects to see in the Senate’s climate bill when it is released later this week. (Photo: Sam Doran/SHNS)

BOSTON (SHNS) – The Massachusetts Senate plans to roll out a “comprehensive climate change bill” on Thursday, officials announced Tuesday, and one senator told reporters he expects the bill to feature a net-zero emissions requirement by 2050.

Senate President Karen Spilka and Sen. Mike Barrett, who co-chairs the Telecommunications, Utilities and Energy Committee, announced in a 30-second video posted to social media that they would unveil the bill’s contents on Thursday.

“The youth of the Commonwealth have urged us in no uncertain terms to take bold action to combat climate change right here in Massachusetts,” Spilka says in the video.

The Senate often introduces bills on Thursday, along with plans to debate the bills the following week.

Sen. Marc Pacheco, who chairs the Senate Committee on Global Warming and Climate Change, pushed his colleagues for months to address climate change before securing agreement from Spilka last November to produce legislation by Jan. 31.

Pacheco told reporters the Senate Ways and Means Committee is forming the bill based on other pieces of legislation. He said he expects the comprehensive bill will revise the Global Warming Solutions Act target of 80 percent emissions reduction by 2050 to a net-zero emissions requirement by 2050.

“We know that the world hasn’t acted as quickly as we should be and we haven’t acted as quickly as we should be at the state level,” Pacheco said. “If we’re going to do what (the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) and other science tells us, we have to have net zero by 2050.”

The House in July approved a $1.3 billion bond bill (H 3997) to fund climate resiliency infrastructure. That bill remains pending before the Senate Bonding, Capital Expenditures and State Assets committee.

In his State of the State address, Gov. Charlie Baker on Tuesday night plans to offer some details about “key initiatives” to address climate change.

Activists opposed to some of the Baker administration’s efforts on climate change, including its position on an unpopular natural gas compressor station in Weymouth, plan to take their activism to the State House Tuesday at 6:30 p.m.

Extinction Rebellion, a group that interrupted Vermont Gov. Phil Scott’s recent State of the State address, announced Tuesday that a “Governor Baker XR” affiliated with the group will “give a short address outside the State House announcing major measures to combat the climate emergency.”

“This is the speech local Massachusetts citizens concerned about the climate crisis wish the real Charlie Baker would make,” the group said.

(Michael P. Norton contributed reporting)

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