With the Baker administration announcing new listening sessions to reduce pollution from transportation I wanted to cross-post this blog post from UCS’ The Equation on the need for a cap and invest program covering transportation in Massachusetts. For those interested in participating in the listening sessions there will be an upcoming webinar on the topic this Tuesday (and you can register here).
Under the Global Warming Solutions Act, Massachusetts established the strongest legally binding limits on global warming pollution in the country. Massachusetts leadership helped establish the first regional limits on pollution from power plants through the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative. We have the most efficient economy in the country, saving consumers millions on our energy bills. We have abolished the use of coal, we have created over 100,000 clean energy jobs, and last year Massachusetts made an investment in offshore wind that will make us a national leader in that technology.
But most of the progress that we have made is in the electricity sector. When it comes to transportation, we have tried but struggled to make overall progress.
Our cars and trucks, rather than our power plants, are now the largest sources of pollution in Massachusetts. Every year, pollution from transportation causes over 3,000 asthma attacks, 500 preventable deaths and $1.3 billion in combined health costs in the state. While emissions from electricity is overall down by 58%, in transportation emissions are about the same as they were in 1990.