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CO2

The October 2018 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) special report on climate change highlights the importance of averting catastrophic climate change. Centrally, it finds that global carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions must reach net zero by 2050 in order to limit global warming to 1.5°C. With the United States’ announced withdrawal from the 2015 Paris Climate Accord, the future of its commitment to reduce emissions 80 percent from 1990 levels is in peril.

The Trump administration took another step toward replacing the Clean Power Plan with its proposed Affordable Clean Energy (ACE) rule, published on August 21, 2018. The Clean Power Plan was developed by the Obama administration in 2015, but was stayed by the Supreme Court the following year and never implemented.  

Today’s electric system is almost unrecognizable from the electric system a decade ago. Generation from natural gas and renewables has accelerated to replace the rapid and unprecedented retirement of coal-fired generators. Wind, solar, and geothermal electric generating capacity in the United States has now eclipsed capacities from hydroelectric and nuclear resources combined.

Massachusetts has long been a national leader in efforts to capture clean energy economic development opportunities, enhance energy security, and reduce emissions. The state’s Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) legislation is an important part of this leadership in combatting climate change. RPS policies are the foundation for clean energy markets and a proven policy tool to support successful, cost-effective renewable energy development at the state level. An RPS is a market-based mechanism that creates demand for clean energy, which can be met by a variety of cost-effective resources.