Climate

Maura has the experience, vision, and know-how to lead Massachusetts through the clean energy transition and to deliver on the promise of the opportunities presented. This is our chance to create good-paying jobs, protect our communities, and address environmental injustices that have existed for far too long.

The climate crisis is our greatest risk and our greatest opportunity. Our choice is clear: to protect our families, communities, and the environment that sustains us, we must rapidly transition to clean energy. As Governor, Maura will make climate change a top priority. She understands the critical urgency of this issue and she knows what is at stake—especially for the Commonwealth’s most vulnerable communities. The actions we must take now to protect our families and communities from climate change also present a once in a lifetime opportunity to build a healthier, more equitable future and to position Massachusetts as a global leader in clean energy technology and innovation. She will make that vision a reality by innovating state government, working directly with communities, implementing science-based policy, partnering with clean technology businesses, and supporting clean energy research and development. 

Maura is a nationally recognized leader on climate and has led successful efforts to boost clean energy, protect ratepayers from costly and unnecessary investments in fossil fuel infrastructure, fight for health protective federal action on climate and push for market reforms that level the playing field for clean energy. She has the experience, vision, and know-how to lead Massachusetts through the clean energy transition and to deliver on the promise of the opportunities presented. This is our chance to build a better future for all—let’s seize it! 

MAURA’S RECORD

Maura knows how to get this done. As Attorney General, she led groundbreaking efforts to combat the climate crisis. In 2019, Maura sued ExxonMobil in a first-of-its-kind lawsuit that alleged the company lied to consumers and investors about the risks of climate change. Maura understands that climate change harms our most vulnerable communities first and worst—she was among the first leaders nationally to draw attention to the unequal effects of COVID-19 on low income communities and communities of color due to environmental factors. She launched several initiatives to support environmental justice communities, including taking on polluters across the state, instituting a program to combat idling vehicles, and installing air monitors in Springfield, which has one of the highest rates of asthma in the country. Maura secured nearly $100 million in mitigation funds from Volkswagen for clean transportation and electric vehicle infrastructure. Her team also led the multi-state effort to block the Trump environmental rollbacks in court and called on the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities to investigate the future of natural gas utilities. Her settlement with Columbia Gas is sending millions of dollars back to low-income communities for climate resiliency and utility relief. As the ratepayer advocate, she worked to keep utility bills low, saving consumers $4.5 billion. Maura will make sure that equity is at the core of all state actions to reduce the threat of climate change and make our communities more resilient. 

Last year, Massachusetts enacted An Act Creating a Next-Generation Roadmap for Massachusetts Climate Policy (the 2021 Climate Act). The 2021 Climate Act requires that, over the next eight years, we reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 50 percent below 1990 levels. Massachusetts’ greenhouse gas emission reduction mandates are on track with the most recent recommendations of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. The next Governor needs to be laser-focused on meeting this requirement, creating good-paying and sustainable jobs, and bringing direct economic benefits to the people most deeply impacted by the climate crisis. Maura has the strongest, proven record on climate change of any gubernatorial candidate in Massachusetts history. She is the right leader at the right time to guide Massachusetts to a clean energy future.

GOVERNMENT MUST ACT NOW ON CLIMATE

Climate change is not just an environmental issue—it is an issue of public health, economics, food security, national security, and housing. Our response to climate change must be as multifaceted as the problem itself. Now is the time to innovate in state government and work hand-in-hand with our local and regional partners. 

The Healey Plan

Massachusetts must take swift, decisive, and comprehensive action to mitigate the risks posed by the climate crisis. In order to do this, government must be nimble and action must be coordinated across agencies. Maura will create a cabinet-level Climate Chief who will be responsible for driving climate policy across every Massachusetts agency and ensuring that climate change is considered in all relevant decision-making. The Climate Chief will report directly to the Governor, and coordinate efforts between the Executive Offices of Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA), Labor and Workforce Development, Housing and Economic Development, the Department of Transportation, Health and Human Services, Public Safety and Security, MBTA, MassDevelopment, and more. Maura will also establish a network of state, regional, and local partnerships to ensure every community in all parts of the Commonwealth has a say in the energy decisions that affect them and receives necessary support to build climate resilience in ways that address community priorities. 

The state will lead by example by achieving net-zero emissions by 2030 across state operations and rapidly transitioning the state fleet to electric vehicles. State agencies on the frontlines fighting climate change must have the funds to win the war. As Governor, Maura will commit at least 1 percent of the state budget to the states’ environmental and energy agencies and work with the Legislature to increase funding for the Department of Public Utilities (DPU) to support its growing mission and responsibilities. 

Under Maura’s leadership, environmental and energy permitting agencies will build in equity from the ground up and ensure that new and upgraded infrastructure supports, rather than undermines, our climate mitigation, adaptation, and resilience goals. All agencies and programs will use the best science and forward-looking climate data in their planning and decision-making. 

INNOVATE & CREATE JOBS

Massachusetts knows how to solve problems and build new industries. Becoming the nation’s hub for clean energy innovation will bring industry to the state and create thousands of good-paying, sustainable jobs. 

The Healey Plan

Maura will establish a Climate Action and Innovation Leadership Council charged with making Massachusetts the best place in the country to start, staff, and grow a firm that solves environmental and climate challenges. This council will bring together the private and public sectors, and our universities and non-profits to continue Massachusetts’ national leadership on incubating and scaling next-generation technology. This includes advanced storage, networked and deep geothermal, hydrogen, distributed energy, floating offshore wind, non-carbon industrial and building processes, smart modular reactors, and fusion. 

As a part of their workforce development agenda, the Healey Administration will work to rapidly deploy workforce development funding to training programs. They will partner with community colleges, vocational schools, workforce investment boards, and labor in order to meet the worker demand of the clean energy economy and transition existing energy workers to high-quality clean energy jobs. They will build a skilled, trained, and large workforce to install electric heat pumps in millions of homes and buildings across the state. Workforce development programs will include wraparound services and stipends to incentivize more women, people of color, and people with low incomes to participate. Training and recruitment programs will be held within overburdened communities. 

Maura will reinvigorate the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (CEC) to spur clean tech job growth. With its strong relationships in the private sector and with our world-class academic institutions, the CEC has helped boost the clean energy sector in Massachusetts, which has grown 68 percent since 2010, with over 100,000 people employed as of 2021. Under Maura’s leadership, the CEC will realize its full potential as the state’s clean tech accelerator, driving innovation in everything from high performance buildings to clean transportation to offshore wind, and creating the finance and business models we need to grow the clean energy economy right here in Massachusetts. The CEC will also nurture the skilled workforce needed to meet this growth, creating 40,000 jobs – double the number lost to the pandemic. Maura will work to triple the CEC’s budget and charge it with establishing a Massachusetts Green Bank to facilitate investment in low-carbon, climate-resilient infrastructure and empower it to utilize other economic tools to attract and retain companies that will create new clean energy jobs, particularly in low-income communities. Using the power of public funds to leverage private investment, the Massachusetts Green Bank will finance green projects where they are most needed to deliver community benefits, jobs, reduced emissions, and climate resilience. The Green Bank will also provide seed money to clean energy companies founded in overburdened communities and by people of color.

In a Healey Administration, communities will be empowered to innovate and lead on climate change. Our municipalities have the will to act, but current state law stymies these efforts. Maura will support legislation that provides communities with the legal authority to innovate and demonstrate successful clean energy initiatives. She also will strengthen and expand municipal aggregations and climate partnerships addressing community priorities that create climate co-benefits and the sharing of ideas between communities. 

CENTER OVERBURDENED COMMUNITIES

Over the next two decades, we will be investing billions of dollars in clean energy, clean transportation, energy efficiency, and climate adaptation. We have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to invest in our environmental justice communities, which bear the brunt of increasing temperatures, dangerous pollution, extreme weather, and rising sea levels, and ensure that all communities in Massachusetts are stronger, more resilient, and benefit from these clean energy investments. This is an opportunity for transformational change. 

The Healey Plan

A Healey Administration will ensure that American Rescue Plan and Infrastructure Law climate spending directly benefits our overburdened communities and advances our climate goals. They will address and reverse historical disinvestment and disempowerment, and empower community members as decision makers. Communities will drive this effort from the ground up, so that the people most deeply impacted by the climate crisis are involved at every stage. The Healey Administration will support projects like clean energy improvements in public and subsidized housing, schools, or municipal buildings, converting fleets of dirty fuel vehicles to clean electric buses, and community solar. State, regional, and local agencies in urban, suburban, and rural communities alike will work together to apply for and receive every dollar available for Massachusetts and will do so with efficiency and inclusivity. Maura will work to get rid of the unnecessary fossil fuel infrastructure that plagues so many overburdened communities and will work with these communities to repurpose the land in a way that makes sense for them. 

Maura also will ensure that overburdened communities have a seat at the table. Agencies like the DPU, the Massachusetts Environmental Policy Act Office (MEPA), Energy Facilities Siting Board (EFSB), and the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) are making decisions that directly affect the health and economic success of our overburdened communities. Agency decision-making must be equity-focused and responsive to community concerns. Maura will appoint representatives from environmental justice communities to the EFSB, create a new DPU Office of Public Participation, and establish intervenor funds to level the playing field and support all interested parties having a voice in agency proceedings. Maura will require that these agencies have diversity, equity, and inclusion programs. Top-level officials will all be trained in environmental and energy justice decision-making. And Maura will finally convene the Environmental Justice Advisory Council, which will advise her and her team on the needs of overburdened communities and ensure that the process for distributing climate investments is inclusive of community voices. 

Maura will dramatically expand community-based environmental monitoring in overburdened communities across the state, including air monitoring data, using new and transparent technology, and acting on the opportunities the data present to address local air and water pollution. In a Healey Administration, DEP will be empowered to aggressively implement the 2021 Climate Act’s directives and to address cumulative impacts of air pollution and other environmental degradation. 

ELECTRIFY EVERYTHING

Today, fossil fuels used by our gas furnaces, oil-fired furnaces and boilers, water heaters, and gas stoves in residential and commercial buildings are responsible for 27 percent of the state’s greenhouse gas emissions. Transportation is responsible for 42 percent of greenhouse gas emissions and industrial uses emit 5 percent. In the next two decades, we need to electrify everything—including our buildings and transportation system. We can do this. Our state is home to industrious and innovative workers who can lead this swift transition. Doing so will create jobs, improve public health, and strengthen our economy. 

THE HEALEY PLAN 

Clean Buildings 

Electrifying buildings will be one of our biggest challenges– but also an opportunity for safer, healthier homes and buildings. We have the technology that we need, but we need a bold set of policies to obtain the level of greenhouse gas emissions reduction necessary and to do so equitably. 

We also need to change the business model of our gas utilities, which are, after all, public utilities. The Healey Administration will require the gas utilities to adopt transition plans that are customer-focused, equitable, and consistent with the state’s emission reduction requirements. Maintaining the status quo by kicking the can down the road will not be acceptable. Maura will also work with the Legislature and stakeholders to ensure that the state’s law on gas pipe repair and replacement reduces leaks and is consistent with the state’s climate requirements. 

Energy efficiency is the most cost-effective way to address emissions and lower customer costs. We must continue and expand our award-winning MassSave energy efficiency program. But we cannot get the job done by relying solely on the MassSave program or by continuing to build homes and buildings that rely on fossil fuels. That is why, in a Healey Administration, municipalities will have the option to adopt a specialized energy code that gives them the authority to ban gas use in new construction. 

A Healey Administration will also install one million heat pumps by 2030 by focusing on market transformation: workforce training, customer and installer education, and lower installation costs. Maura will prioritize whole home retrofits for low-income households to help them weatherize, install heat pumps and other efficient electric appliances, and make other health and safety home improvements. And, she will work with the Legislature to establish building emission standards like the new ordinance in effect in Boston (BERDO) and establish a home energy rating system. 

Clean Transportation 

Affordable, reliable transportation is a crucial backbone of the economy. Massachusetts is among the lowest ranked states when it comes to commute times, and the Greater Boston area has some of the worst traffic congestion in the country. Impoverished riders all face longer commute times, often because their communities are poorly served by public transit, or the cost of housing near transit is prohibitive. Maura understands that access to transportation is access to opportunity. And she knows that transportation is also the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in Massachusetts, and a source of other dangerous air pollution. Fixing the state’s transportation system is a win-win-win for equity, the Commonwealth’s economy, and the environment. 

We need to quickly electrify all modes of transportation. At the same time, we need to reduce car usage by improving the reliability and frequency of transit services, expanding transit to economically growing zones, and adjusting land use patterns so more homes and jobs are near transit. Maura’s vision for a clean transportation system will increase transportation choice, reduce emissions, and improve public health. As a part of her transportation agenda, a Healey Administration will electrify public transportation so that all modes operate on 100 percent clean power by 2040, starting with school and MBTA buses by 2030. 

Maura will ensure that the nearly $3 billion in new federal transit funding for Massachusetts state and regional transit authorities will pay dividends in better, expanded, and affordable MBTA and RTA service and she will leverage state dollars to target additional federal funds. But she knows that these additional funds are not sufficient to maintain and expand the Commonwealth’s public transportation system to meet our goals. The Commonwealth needs long term, sustained state funding sources to support the RTAs and tackle the projected shortfalls in the MBTA capital and operating funds. Maura will evaluate options, including revenue-generating incentives to decarbonize transportation, as part of her commitment to solving this longstanding problem. 

Maura will also put 1 million electric vehicles on the road by 2030 by providing larger rebates for used and low-cost electric vehicles, while making it easy for customers to access these rebates at the time they buy or lease their vehicle. She will prioritize public spending on electric vehicle charging infrastructure projects that benefit low- and moderate-income households and overburdened communities. 

The Healey Administration will end the sale of new passenger cars and light duty trucks powered by gasoline or diesel by 2035. All public fleet purchases will be electric by 2028. They will require utilities to offer discounts for charging at night when electricity demand is low. The Healey transportation agenda will also include bold investment in electric vehicle infrastructure and strong incentives for their adoption, including for heavy duty vehicles, as well as pedestrian walkways, and safe, expanded bike lanes. 

The last two years have demonstrated that telework is a viable alternative to the daily commute for many jobs and industries. The Healey Administration will work with employers to reduce car usage through smart telework policies and expand on measures to reduce single occupancy vehicles. These policies are not only good for the environment, but they also reduce commuting times. 

Recognizing that different communities and regions have different clean transportation needs, Maura will put communities in the driver’s seat by establishing a community-based transportation equity program to support planning for projects that local communities most need. 

BUILD A MODERN, CONSUMER-ORIENTED CLEAN ENERGY GRID 

To meet the goal of electrifying everything, Massachusetts needs to exponentially expand clean energy to power all electricity. This means deploying wind, solar, hydro, storage, and other emerging clean technologies—and to do so faster than ever before. We need to expand our electric transmission system to move power to where people are, modernize our distribution grid, and invest in energy efficiency and long-duration energy storage. Accelerating the pace of renewable development will create jobs, strengthen our economy, and enhance reliability while addressing climate change and local air pollution. 

The Healey Plan

Under a Healey Administration, Massachusetts will achieve 100 percent clean electricity supply by 2030. 

Maura will position Massachusetts as the nation’s offshore wind capital by expeditiously permitting the 5,600 MW of offshore wind procurements currently authorized by law and more than doubling the Commonwealth’s target to 10,000 MW offshore wind by 2035. She will do that by increasing our offshore wind procurements and exploring market mechanisms to procure wind-powered energy at the lowest cost as well as facilitating corporate, municipal, and non-profit agreements to buy directly from the power producer. Through project labor agreements, she will ensure that union workers build this industry and do so with prevailing wages. Maura will also increase investments in port infrastructure to $200 million to ensure that Massachusetts retains its leadership role in offshore wind development. 

The Healey Administration will capitalize on the strong existing Massachusetts solar industry with a total of 10 GW of deployed solar by 2030. They will deploy rooftop solar installations in the communities where widespread adoption is lacking and encourage smart siting of large solar facilities. Maura will also press utilities to plan for and upgrade the distribution system to integrate this new solar equitably, without the delays customers face today due to utility backlogs. Investing in a smarter grid will help ensure that it will continue to perform as we increase our dependence on electricity for heating and transportation. 

Maura will quadruple energy storage deployment by 2030 and invest in research and development to make long-duration storage a reality. She also will build upon Massachusetts’ award-winning energy efficiency programs by ending fossil fuel incentives, encouraging fuel switching and beneficial electrification, and focusing on whole building electrification in low-income and overburdened communities. And a Healey Administration will give customers greater control over their energy use through home solar and storage systems, community energy systems, advanced meters, time varying rates, and smart appliances. 

Regional transmission lines, both within New England and connecting with other regions, will allow Massachusetts to import and export power. These lines are crucial for a reliable and clean electric system. There are large reserves of reliable hydropower from existing dams in Canada which would complement solar and offshore wind energy, but thus far, Massachusetts has not succeeded in finding a way to bring these supplies to the Commonwealth. Maura will be a leader among our neighboring states that, like Massachusetts, are seeking to decarbonize their economies and leverage our region’s shared vision for our energy transition. Maura will work closely with regional partners to ensure that ISO-New England markets for buying and selling power do not discriminate against clean power. Federal markets, transmission planning, and siting all must align with our path to a modern, renewable energy grid focused on consumers. In the first six months of a Healey Administration, Maura will convene a regional energy summit to develop a strategy for addressing transmission, siting, market reform, and cost allocation issues. A Healey Administration will also reduce technical process delays that keep clean energy from connecting to the grid, increase the states’ roles in transmission planning, and ensure that our distribution and transmission systems are up to date and can work with each other. 

Maura will establish a new DPU division on grid modernization to remove delays and barriers to renewable resources connecting to the distribution grid and ensure that utilities plan for and build a modern grid that will support distributed resources and building and heating electrification. She will support programs that decrease electricity use during times of high demand and incentivize electricity use when demand is low. Maura will direct the EFSB, together with an advisory group, to review and make recommendations to the Governor and the Legislature on how the Commonwealth can best facilitate the siting of clean energy in appropriate places. The recommendations will prioritize energy and environmental justice and develop options for more efficient and less costly permitting processes. 

KEEP CARBON IN THE GROUND AND PROTECT OUR FARMS & FORESTS 

To meet our climate goals, we have to both reduce emissions from all sectors and remove existing carbon dioxide pollution from our atmosphere. Protecting our forests, agricultural soils, and wetlands reduces emissions, and removes carbon pollution from our atmosphere. Massachusetts’ forests are of an age and condition to draw down significant quantities of carbon from the atmosphere in the next decade, by 2050 and by 2100. These natural climate solutions offer other benefits, including making our ecosystems more resilient, providing natural cooling and shade, flood control, protecting species, promoting biodiversity, recreation, and supporting local agriculture and access to healthy food. Establishing Strategic Forest Reserves to provide these services and preserve our matured forests to draw down carbon is essential to meeting our climate goals. Providing incentives for sustainable forest and farm management practices will allow us to preserve our agricultural heritage and continue to produce forest products over the long term. 

The Healey Plan

There are currently about 3 million acres of forested lands in Massachusetts, and most are unprotected or lack sufficient protections. The Healey Administration will establish a Forest Protection Program that will provide enhanced incentives to willing private landowners to keep their trees growing rather than harvesting them. The program will reward private landowners who manage their forests for reducing emissions over each harvest cycle, including by increasing intervals between harvests, conserving the oldest mature trees, protecting soil carbon during harvest, and other improved harvesting and management practices. 

Rapid growth in solar power is crucial to ensuring Massachusetts meets its emission reduction mandates, yet it must be sited appropriately. The Healey Administration will carefully tailor solar incentive programs to ensure a balanced approach that achieves our solar potential while protecting our mature forests. They will do this by prioritizing deployment of rooftop solar and solar installations in parking lot canopies, brownfields, landfills, unused industrial or commercial sites, powerline and other rights of way, and suitable agricultural and horticultural lands.

The Commonwealth’s wetlands also store large volumes of soil carbon. While we can be proud of our strong wetlands protections—among the most effective in the world—our wetlands are still being lost, in part because our no-net-loss policy permits wetlands to be replaced with man-made alternatives. Maura will strengthen wetlands protections to ensure they remain carbon sinks, not sources.

Burning wood for bioenergy depletes our forests, increases greenhouse gas emissions, and is a threat to human health. Maura will end subsidies for forest bioenergy for electricity and commercial-scale heat. 

Maura will place a temporary moratorium on commercial harvesting on state-owned public forest land. Within her first year as Governor, she will develop and implement a science-based state forest management plan that accounts for the impacts of climate change on our forest resources and the role our forests can play in protecting the climate. 

Massachusetts has a vibrant farming community, including young farmers, and farmers markets and Community Supported Agriculture opportunities are popular across the state. Through the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources, Maura will establish a Climate-Friendly Farming program to provide technical assistance to farmers interested in farm management practices that can reduce emissions and help drawdown carbon. And, the Healey Administration will measure and track outcomes to verify reductions and gain more knowledge about the techniques that work best for our soil types and crops. Through this voluntary program, they will also provide information and assistance to farmers seeking to reduce costs and climate-warming nitrous oxide emissions through smarter use of fertilizers—a measure that also protects our streams, wetlands, and waterbodies from polluted runoff. 

MASSACHUSETTS STRONG—BUILDING RESILIENCY 

Climate change is already causing more extremes in temperature, precipitation, runoff and flooding, extended droughts, high winds, and storms. Faster-than-historical increases in temperature and sea-level rise cause disruptive and irreversible shifts in seasons and shorelines. The expected extremes and gradual changes will combine in unexpected ways to cause ecological, agricultural, infrastructure, human, and economic impacts sooner and larger than expected. Making the needed investments now will strengthen our communities and protect our vital resources, while addressing community priorities. 

The Healey Plan

The urgent need for adaptation measures is one that spans our state, and adaptation needs vary from community to community. Rural Western Massachusetts has different needs from our coastal areas, which are in turn different from the needs in the urban centers of the Boston metro region, Worcester, and Springfield. 93 percent of Massachusetts cities and towns (328 municipalities) have enrolled in the Massachusetts Vulnerability Preparedness (MVP) program. Maura will increase the budget for this successful program, allowing more communities to focus on implementation and action. She will also work to build capacity in and provide technical assistance to lower-capacity rural and urban communities so that they can take advantage of funding opportunities to improve planning for climate resilience. 

Maura will prioritize efforts to ensure storm and flood preparedness (coastal and inland), with a focus on reviewing and improving existing flood protection and insurance, awareness campaigns, and training for emergency management personnel. She will establish a blue-ribbon commission charged with developing a statewide framework devoted to addressing the impacts of sea level rise, erosion, and extreme storms on our treasured and vulnerable coast. This commission will leverage our scientific community’s increasingly sophisticated data about the risks we presently face and consider best practices to encourage retreat in areas where sea level rise or riverine flooding is too extreme to be addressed by reasonable modifications. 

One of the most immediate impacts of climate change in Massachusetts will be heat. Heat waves disproportionately impact people of color, the elderly, people with disabilities, and people living in public and subsidized housing. Maura will implement an Extreme Heat Action Plan to build community resilience. The plan will include large-scale tree planting, identifying heat islands, training for local health officials, cooling schools, and a public health monitoring system to identify heat illness events early, and monitor trends. 

Climate resilience includes creating awareness of the potential health, including mental health, impacts of climate change. Maura will partner with Massachusetts’ leading health care providers to promote awareness of climate change related health issues.

Issues

  1. Child Tax Credit
  2. Climate
  3. Criminal Justice Reform
  4. Economic Development
  5. Education
  6. Health Care and Behavioral Health Care
  7. Housing
  8. Immigration
  9. LGBTQ+ Rights
  10. Reproductive Freedom
  11. Transportation
  12. Voting Rights