By Beth Daley, Globe Staff
The healthcare debate is getting most of the ink lately, but the battle over climate legislation is bound to compete with three months to go before almost 200 nations meet in Copenhagen to hammer out the next international treaty on reducing greenhouse gases.
Winterizing a home in Boston to save energy. (Dina Rudick/Boston Globe)
Yesterday, the U.S. top negotiator urged Congress to act quickly to bridge a divide between developed and less developed countries. Todd Stern, the State Department's special envoy for climate change, told a House panel that less developed countries feared their economic growth would be hamstrung with caps on carbon dioxide emissions – and needed commitments from developed countries before they signed onto meaningful reductions. See an AP story here on it and Bloomberg here.
Locally, climate groups are trying to do their part to get legislation passed – including Environment Massachusetts which is highlighting a new report by The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy that says Massachusetts’ households would save an average of $274 per year and15,200 sustainable jobs would be created in the state over the next decade if the Senate did what the U.S. House narrowly did in June and passed a version of The American Clean Energy and Security Act. If enacted, the Act would reduce annual carbon emissions by 8 million tons in Massachusetts by 2020, the report.
The efficiency provisions, the report says, would remove the equivalent of 1,454 million cars from the road for a year.
Still, Environment Massachusetts – along with the Northeast Energy Efficiency Partnerships - says the Senate has an opportunity to bump up the environmental benefits from the plan in part by requiring utility companies to reduce energy usage by at least 10 percent by providing incentives to help customers make their homes and businesses more energy efficient. The House version included a five percent requirement with an optional three percent increase.
“By supporting stronger energy efficiency components as part of energy and climate legislation, our senators can bring big economic results when their constituents need them most.” Said Ben Wright, global warming advocate for Environment Massachusetts.