Gov. Charlie Baker’s administration has issued new regulations for reducing greenhouse gas emissions in Massachusetts which target the natural gas distribution network, the transportation sector and the electric sector.
The regulations announced out on Friday are the final steps that build upon previous state efforts to comply with reduction limits under the Global Warming Solutions Act.
To meet that, the Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs set a limit, to be reached by 2020, of 25 percent below 1990 emissions levels. The ambitious law also requires at least an 80 percent reduction by 2050.
The final regulations address limiting carbon dioxide emissions for state vehicles; reducing methane emissions from natural gas services and carbon dioxide emissions from electricity facilities, and increasing clean energy requirements.
“Combatting and preparing for the impact of climate change remains a top priority of our administration, and requires collaboration across state government and with stakeholders throughout Massachusetts,” Baker said in a statement.
“These regulations will help ensure the Commonwealth meets the rigorous emission reductions limits established in the Global Warming Solutions Act,” he added, “in order to protect our residents, communities, and natural resources from the effects of climate change.”
By 2014, Massachusetts reduced its emissions by 21 percent from 1990 levels, according to the state. The final regulations announced Friday will help achieve and even surpass that final 4 percent.
The state is ensuring that it is “leading by example,” as with the restrictions on state vehicle emissions, and also that it sets up systems not just to reduce the reliance on greenhouse gases but to replace that infrastructure with more clean energy options.
“Combating climate change requires that we do as much as we can to avoid the worst impacts of climate change by reducing emissions, while also working to build resilience and adapt to ongoing impacts that we’re already experiencing across the state,” said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Matthew Beaton in a statement “Completion of these regulations in under a year marks a significant milestone towards implementing Governor Baker’s Executive Order on Climate Change and demonstrates our continued commitment and leadership on this issue.”
Read more about the state's total efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions here.