Everything You Wanted to Ask Your State Official About Carbon Goals, But Were Afraid to Ask

 Energy Exodus-Susan

Photo from 350MA Energy Exodus, Summer 2013

Given the lack of action at the Congressional level on setting limits to carbon extraction, the states must play a leading role in the urgent task of transitioning to a low-no-carbon future. This Guide can be helpful to you in many situations, for example, when meeting with your state legislators to express concern about their delay in enacting plans to meet the carbon-reduction deadlines of the Massachusetts Global Warming Solutions Act[1].

Also, the Guide is useful during this current election campaign for Governor, when you will be able to ask the candidates questions regarding the state’s energy policies—quickly you can separate the competent candidates from the climate-ignorant candidates. Accompanying each of the following questions is a link (in endnote) to a reference document, article, or video to further educate the officials that can only respond with “That’s a very good question.”

Questions re--The Context of the Problem

If a 2-degree C increase in global temperature is to be avoided, how much of the existing carbon reserves must stay in the ground?[2]

 Has the Massachusetts average temperature been rising since 1990? How much?[3]

 What are the projections for changes in regional temperature and rainfall due to climate change?[4]

 What are the projections for sea level rise and inundation?[5]

Where will the flood level be in Boston under different storms?[6]

 Questions re-Accountability for the Problem of Global Warming

What percentage of global green house gases are caused by sources in the United States?[7]

 How is the national government addressing the problem?[8]

 What are the main contributors in Massachusetts to carbon-loading of the atmosphere?[9]

Questions re-State Actions to Reduce Carbon Emissions

What is the law in Massachusetts regarding percentage reductions and deadlines for meeting its carbon reduction goals?[10]

 Given that the individual states have considerable authority to enact programs and policies to reduce carbon, what is Massachusetts doing?[11]

 How would additional fossil fuel infrastructure, e.g., gas plants, affect the state’s plan to reduce carbon emissions?[12]

 Questions re-State Transition to Renewable Energy

 How will state government ensure a transition to a fossil free energy economy?[13]

 Are you aware that the state government does not yet have a plan for meeting the reduction goals for 2050 (i.e., 80% of its 1990 carbon levels) as required by law?[14]

 Do you support passage of S.1225 to divest state pension funds from fossil fuels? (The Massachusetts state pension fund holds approximately $1.4 billion worth of assets in fossil fuel companies.  If the companies continue with business-as-usual to profit from wrecking the planet, shouldn’t Massachusetts divest itself from these funds, especially since our local economy is well-suited to designing and building renewable energy infrastructure?)[15]

 [1] Global Warming Solutions Act of 2008, http://www.mass.gov/eea/air-water-climate-change/climate-change/massachusetts-global-warming-solutions-act/;

 [3] http://www.cru.uea.ac.uk: and http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/hadobs/crutem4/ ;  (go to Google Earth crutema4 map with Boston Station_42.5N 67.5Wkmz);
Submission by Susan Redlich to “Turning Down the Heat” https://class.coursera.org/warmerworld-001



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