Governor Charlie Baker's top energy aide said his proposal for net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 puts Massachusetts among a very small group of states and countries attempting to limit the impact of climate change.
Kathleen Theoharides, the governor’s secretary of energy and environmental affairs, said Massachusetts is joining Hawaii, New York, and California in pursuing net-zero emissions by 2050. A number of countries and foreign cities are also pursuing the same target, some on a faster timeline.
“This is the most aggressive goal that exists in the world,” Theoharides said.
Theoharides declined to say when Baker pulled the trigger on going for net-zero emissions by 2050, which he announced as part of his State of the State address Tuesday night. She said the idea emerged as part of an ongoing study her agency is conducting to figure out how to reach the previous goal – an 80 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from 1990 levels. That study, being carried out by a group of consultants, is nicknamed the 80-50 study.
According to state data, Massachusetts greenhouse gas emissions totaled 94.5 million metric tons in 1990. The goal for this year is 70.8 million metric tons and the goal for 2050 had been 18.8 million metric tons.