The Commonwealth of Massachusetts
Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs
April 2020

Findings of Fact

  • As identified and described by the IPCC, global warming and its associated climate change remain a grave threat to the health, economy, citizens, and natural resources of the Commonwealth
  • The Commonwealth and its people are already experiencing damaging and life-threatening impacts caused by climate change
  • Sea level rise and increased storm-severity and frequency particularly threaten the Commonwealth’s more than 3 million coastal residents with loss of life and potentially hundreds of billions of dollars of economic damage by 2100 if climate change is not mitigated
  • Inland flooding associated with unmitigated climate change threatens the health and welfare of citizens across the entire Commonwealth, with property damage estimates exceeding $60 billion.
  • Unless mitigated on the pace, scale and scope identified by the IPCC, climate change is likely to exceed the capacity of natural, managed and human systems globally and in the Commonwealth to adapt to it
  • In order to avoid significantly damaging and potentially irreversible climate change, global atmospheric CO2 concentrations should be stabilized at levels consistent with no more than a 1.5°C rise in global mean temperature above pre-industrial levels
  • To ensure no more than a1.5°C rise in global mean temperature above pre-industrial levels, global GHG emissions should be reduced to at least net zero in 2050
  • Although it will require the rapid decarbonization of the Commonwealth’s energy system, multiple technically viable pathways exist that are capable of economically and equitably delivering net zero statewide GHG emissions in 2050.
  • A statewide emissions level of at least 85% below the 1990 level and complementary negative emissions level by or attributable to the Commonwealth are technically feasible using existing technologies including the protection and enhancement of natural sequestration resources in the Commonwealth and regionally
  • As it has to date, emissions reduction activity on the pace and scale recommended by the IPCC is likely to continue to present the Commonwealth with increased opportunities to realize cost savings and increased energy independence, and to promote growth in clean energy jobs in Massachusetts

Determination of 2050 Limit

Based on the findings above, I hereby determine that net zero emissions by 2050, as defined above, is a reasonable and appropriate 2050 statewide emissions limit necessary to adequately protect the health, economy, people and natural resources of the Commonwealth and maintain Massachusetts critically important role as a national and international leader in the global effort to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions that cause climate change in a manner consistent withthe goals of the GWSA.

 Kathleen Theoharides
The Commonwealth of Massachusetts
Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs