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MA Joins 8 Other States to Announce Further Efforts to Fight Climate Change

Thursday, August 24, 2017


MA Joins 8 Other States to Announce Further Efforts to Fight Climate Change

Massachusetts has joined with eight other Northeastern and Mid-Atlantic states to take part in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) to come up with a plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions beyond 2020.

The proposal calls for an additional 30% cap reduction between 2021 and 2030.

“The Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative builds upon the strong collaboration of nine diverse states committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and promoting a clean energy economy in a regional, bipartisan manner. RGGI continues to be led by states that are collaborating to achieve state and regional greenhouse gas emission reduction goals and deliver overall climate change solutions,” said MA Governor Charlie Baker.

The New Proposal

The proposed program improvements include a new regional cap of 75.148 million tons of CO2 in 2021, which will decrease by 2.275 million tons of CO2 per year thereafter, resulting in a total 30 percent reduction in the regional cap from 2020 to 2030.

The RGGI states have already reduced power sector carbon emissions by nearly 50 percent since 2008, while generating more than $2.7 billion in proceeds across the region for reinvestment in programs to benefit consumers and build a stronger and cleaner energy system.

“The Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative has a proven track record of delivering significant greenhouse gas emission reductions while fostering regional economic growth and accelerating the deployment of clean energy solutions. The changes proposed to the RGGI program will lower the 2030 cap more than 65 percent below RGGI’s initial emissions cap, bolstering the Commonwealth’s progress to reduce emissions and implement comprehensive strategies called for by Governor Baker’s climate change executive order,” said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Matthew A. Beaton.

Reducing Green House Gases in MA

Since 2008, Massachusetts has reinvested $306 million in auction proceeds to increase the energy efficiency of residences and businesses, provide clean-energy solutions to 155 “Green Communities,” and to support the implementation of alternative energy resources.

“Today’s announcement by the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative will help Massachusetts continue to achieve short- and long-term emission reduction goals under the Global Warming Solutions Act while recognizing the benefits of an early transition towards clean energy,” said Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito. 

RGGI auction proceeds have helped Massachusetts earn the nation’s top ranking for energy efficiency six years in a row.


Related Slideshow: 25 Ways to Go Green This Fall - 2016

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Walk and Bike More

There are only a few more weeks before the temperatures here in Massachusetts start to really dip to frigid numbers.

Enjoy the cool, crisp weather of fall and walk or ride your bike. You'll save on gas, save the environment, and it's good for you!

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Donate Clothes

When you take out your warm winter wares and put away your summer clothes, check to see what items no longer fit and which you no longer wear.

"If you have items that are usable that you just don’t need or want anymore, don’t throw them away," Mattson said. "Help them find a new home by connecting with people locally who want to give and get things for free.  Sign up for a free website called Free Cycle. You can receive information about what people near you want to give or get and then you make arrangements to do the exchange."

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Take Shorter Showers

Who doesn't love the feeling of a nice hot shower after spending some time outdoors in the brisk fall air?

Only one problem—those long showers waste lots of water. Try taking shorter showers in order to go green this fall.

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Opt-Out of Junk Mail

Junk mail is the worst. No one likes it, and it only serves to clutter up our homes, trash cans and landfills. But, did you know there is a way to "opt-out" of junk mail?

You can get off most unsolicited mail lists simply by calling 1-888-5-OPTOUT (1-888-567-8688). Also, instead of browsing through catalogs, look at products online—most catalog companies publish online versions of their products, perfect for saving paper and going green.

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Car Pool

Mattson said that during the holiday season, there is plenty of energy to be saved on the highway by sharing rides with family members or friends headed to the same place.

"A few days before you’re going somewhere, start thinking about who you might be able to carpool with and make arrangements so one car instead of two or three are on the road for the trip," Mattson said "Even if it’s just for a few miles, this adds up and can reduce gridlock and air pollution."

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Ditch Bottled Water

Everyone knows that water is the healthiest beverage option, but next time, instead of grabbing for a bottle of water, drink tap water out of a reusable cup or bottle. 

You can buy reusable water bottles at nearly any department or home goods store, and you'll save money by not constantly paying for bottled water.

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Open Shades to Naturally Heat Your Home

Few things can warm a room as well as the sun. Those warm rays of the sun can heat homes, even when temperatures outside begin to dip.

In order to save energy and reduce heating costs, open your shades during sunny days, even on colder days. The sun's radiation will do the work so your home heating system doesn't have to.

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Recycle Batteries

Changing the batteries to your smoke detector when you switch your clocks this Sunday? Make sure to recycle your batteries rather than throwing them away.

Recycling your batteries keeps them out of landfill, where heavy metals may leak into the ground when the battery casing corrodes, causing soil and water pollution. If batteries are incinerated with household waste, the heavy metals in them may cause air pollution.

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Use Pinecones as Natural Bird Feeders

Are you an ornithology enthusiast? DO you love the sights and sounds of songbirds outside your window?

Keep your feathered friends returning to your yard by using a pinecone as a natural bird feeder. Recycle pinecones found in your yard by adding birdseed and peanut butter to your pinecone. Find more instructions here.

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Reusable Lunch Boxes

Do you send your kids off every day with their lunch in a brown paper bag? Try using a reusable lunch box instead to cut down on waste.

Even after middle and high schoolers have grown out of using their favorite superhero lunch box, there are plenty of subtle and understated designs to complement their style.

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Don't Dry Clean Only

Surprisingly, dry cleaning is far more harmful to the environment than your standard load of laundry done in a conventional washing machine.

If you have clothes that can be machined washed rather than dry cleaning, try giving them a run through the washer. And, if you're in the market for a new wardrobe, don't buy clothes with the "dry-clean only" label on them.

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Visit Your Local Park

Mattson said that fall is the perfect time to get involved with your local park. Parks are an important part of environmental conservation, as they preserve public green spaces and habitats for local wildlife.

Find out more about Massachusetts' parks here. For even more fun, join a local "Park Friends" group. More info on those groups can be found here.

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Eat Less Meat

Unbeknownst to most people, meat requires a far larger ecological footprint to produce than fruits and vegetables.

Next time you plan a family dinner, try cooking with more vegetables and less meat. You'll save the environment and cook a healthier meal.

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Carve Fewer Jack-O-Lanterns

Halloween celebrators beware! According to the U.S. Energy Department, pumpkins cause major waste issues each year on Halloween.

The majority of the 1.3 billion pounds of pumpkins produced in the U.S. end up in dumps and landfills, according the Energy Department’s website, becoming part of the “more than 254 million tons of municipal solid waste (MSW) produced in the United States every year.”

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After you've finished using that rake to pack up your lawn's leaves, don't just throw them in the trash.

Instead, compost them! By combining the leaves with a nitrogen source such as manure, you can make a great natural fertilizer. For more info on how to start composting, click here.

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Turn Down the Thermostat

In order to save some energy (and some money) turn down your house's thermostat a few degrees this fall. You may not notice the difference, but the environment sure will.

If you're still a little cold, throw on a sweatshirt. For even more savings, turn your heat down even lower when your family leaves for work school or a vacation.

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Get Involved

Erica Mattson, Legislative Director for the Environmental League of Massachusetts, said that working to make changes to local, state and federal laws surrounding energy use can have a huge impact.

"Policies play a huge role in shaping how healthy our communities are and how clean our environment is," Mattson said.  Get involved with an environmental advocacy organization like the Environmental League of Massachusetts.  We’re working to get strong environmental protection laws passed and implemented. Start learning about our work by signing up for our e-bulletins on our website."

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Put Down The Leaf Blower

When it comes time to get all the fallen leaves off of your lawn, don't reach for your electric or gas-powered leaf blower. Appliances like those can release pollutants into the atmosphere, and that is definitely not going green.

Instead, use manual lawn tools to save energy. Nothing gets the job done better than a good, ol' fashioned rake.

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Plant Some Bulbs

Think fall is for harvesting, not for planting? Think again!

Fall is the perfect time to plant spring-flowering plants like tulips to make sure you have gorgeous flowers when warmer weather rolls around again next year. For more tips on fall planting, click here.

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Green Cleaning

Preparing for your holiday? Want to make sure your house is sparkling clean for your friends family and other guests?

Well, instead of using chemical-ridden commercial cleaners, try using homemade, all natural cleaning supplies. All you need are a few comments lemons, vinegar and baking soda. For more information, click here.

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Make Fewer Trips to the Grocery Store

If you're headed to the grocery store to pick up food and supplies for your next party try to take as few trips as possible. You'll save money on gas, and have to drive less, making this a perfect way to go green.

If you can, try to get all your items at one store. This way, you'll use even less gas when shopping.

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Schedule a Home Energy Audit

Want to know exactly how much energy you could be saving? Then schedule a home energy audit. You can learn about opportunities for making your home more energy efficient and affordable.

"Many of the energy efficiency measures you can take are available at a heavily reduced price (i.e. 75% off), thanks to incentives," Mattson said. "Learn more about scheduling an audit here."

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Use Cloth Towels Instead of Paper

When you go to clean up the next glass of spilled milk don't cry—and don't reach for any paper towels.

Instead, try a cloth towel or rag. You can wash them repeatedly, save money on paper towels, and save the environment by creating less waste.

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Seal Drafts

To keep the cold fall wind out of your home, and keep your warm air inside, be sure to seal up any drafts around windows or doors in your house or apartment.

Drafts can do serious damage to your heating bill, and will be a major drain on energy usage, so make sure to seal them up soon. For more information on how to seal them, click here.

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Insulate Your Home

Insulation is one of the best ways to save money and energy in your home. Insulation will keep the cold air out of your home, and, better yet, keep the warm toasty air right inside your house where you want it.

If you better the insulation in your home, not only will your home be warmer, you'll go green and save money on your heating costs.


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