State not doing enough to curb greenhouse gas emissions, court rules
In a ruling that could, among other things, force Massachusetts to devise automobile emissions standards even tougher than California's, the Supreme Judicial Court today ordered the state to do better at reducing overall greenhouse emissions.
The state's highest court said the state Department of Environmental Protection wasn't doing enough to comply with a state law that calls for annual reductions in the total amounts of gases Massachusetts companies and residents release into the atmosphere.
In adopting the law, the legislature specifically set a policy of reducing the total amount of emissions generated in the state, and state regulators could not just wave that away as an "aspirational" goal, the court said.
As an example, the justices pointed to the state's adoption of California emissions-control laws. Although those have led to a reduction in emissions from the average car, the statewide totals could still increase if enough additional cars are bought in Massachusetts:
As a consequence, the [low-emission vehicle] regulations may contribute to lower emissions from vehicles, but they cannot ensure that aggregate emissions do not increase. Therefore, they do not comply with [the state law].
The court used similar reasoning in dismissing state support for a Northeast regional compact in which Massachusetts power plants that exceed carbon-emission goals could buy credits at auction from plants in other states that had met their goals: As with car emissions, the regional compact has a laudable goal, but Massachusetts legislators went even further in adopting the state law, the court ruled.
Because of this feature, there is no way to ensure mass-based reductions in carbon dioxide emissions from power plants in the Commonwealth that participate in the [regional compact] ... [T]he [compact] may contribute to reductions in emissions, but does not comport with the specific requirements of [the law]. Any other interpretation would diminish [the law]'s purpose of achieving measurable and permanent reductions to emissions in the Commonwealth.
|Complete ruling, Isabel Kain and others vs. Department of Environmental Protection||266.49 KB|
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It's Too Bad They Didn't Include Mitigation In The Big Dig
The pollution from the extra traffic generated by the Big Dig could have been mitigated, if they required mass-transit improvements as part of the overall plan.
Just imagine how much nicer it would be now, if the state had agreed to build crucial projects such as the Red-Blue Connector, The Blue Line extension to Lynn, and the Green Line extension to Medford, as part of the Big Dig approval process.
string of broken promises and lies
With Bakers delay (and probable eventual cancellation, since he has said the project wouldn't start at earliest again for 18 months, ie after the election) the state is going to have a near impossible time doing any large highway and road projects, since we know any commitments they make are no good. If the state tries to move forward with the 90 straightening project or the 3rd cape cod canal bridge, environmental groups, instead of fighting for remediation they know will never happen, will just fight the projects even moving forward. Lying/breaking promises eventually comes back to haunt you, even if you are the governor/a state. Short term Charlie needs to start working to fulfill promises made to citizens and stop dithering.
Extreme asthma in MA
We have about the highest rates in the country.
We also have an ozone problem from LOCAL automobile emissions that means lots of extra ER visits and hospitalizations, particularly in children.
20% of yearly hospitalizations for asthma are due to summer ozone according to MDPH and the USEPA.
This is a very expensive problem. Time to stop sucking the tailpipe and fix and expand the transit system for our own sake, let alone the planet.
Diesel trucks are the worst.
Diesel trucks are the worst.
I find that interesting.
Massachusetts has higher rates of Asthma than NY and NJ. I doubt anyone would argue that both NY and NJ are certainly more polluted than MA.
Kentucky, Maine and Vermont have higher rates than Massachusetts. All relatively rural compared to MA.
So I guess the question is, why?
Do we have more cases of asthma, or do we just have better healthcare for detection?
As a personal note, my asthma went away right about the time I moved to Massachusetts about 25 years ago.
a guess as to why
We are downwind from NY/NJ and their air pollution comes our way. KY, ME and VT have a LOT of wood smoke, very potent. And yes, we have much better health care and tracking. But that's only part of it. we also have old housing stock, horse hair plaster, leaks and mold, rodent and roach infestations (very potent trigger).
That still doesn't explain
The state which is closest to the source of pollution should be more affected. Why is NH which is sandwiched between the two most affected, not in the top 10? Are the burning habits of NH that much different than VT or ME? VT has good healthcare. Does ME?
Housing material in NY, NJ, VT, CT, MA and others are all basically the same. Same with rodent and roach infestations. NY and NJ should trump all in that category. No pun intended.
Not necessarily, for at least two (related) reasons:
1. Smokestacks. If the stacks are high enough and the winds easterly enough, the pollution blows across state lines and has more harmful effects on the state to it's east.
2. Saint Louis MO air pollution doesn't effect Missouri much. Same for Chicago IL, Milwaukee WI, Detroit MI, or Philadelphia PA. Those cities are on the eastern border of their respective states, so their pollution tends to harm the neighboring state. The same phenomenon holds true for polluting power plants, which are often located on the very same rivers that define state boundaries in the eastern half of tUSA (e.g. Mississippi River, Ohio River, Savannah River).
Still doesn't explain NH
Still doesn't explain NH
I know, it's like watching
I know, it's like watching someone trying to base an argument on entrail reading...
we get to breathe in Jersey's tire fire via the trade winds. My cousin does research on birds and you'd be amazed the kinds of chemicals found in bird eggs in the middle of the deep woods of Maine, where you would think they are untouched by pollution.
Birds have a tendancy to migrate
Even they (mostly) have the good sense to leave in the winter.
Symbolic greenhouse gas reduction law has real consequences
Thank you Adam for covering this. This is a huge story with national consequences. Several states have passed symbolic feel-good laws on greenhouse gas reduction never having thought they would be held accountable. Well, CLF called them on it and the court is holding politicians and bureaucrats accountable! I can't wait to see what lawmakers across the country do, confronted with having to meet unrealistic goals they voted in. Admit they were delusional? Never!
How does the Court enforce
How does the Court enforce this opinion? Do they threaten to jail the Governor and some of the bureaucracy. Maybe they should threaten a really large fine on the Commonwealth. Or maybe the Court could put the needed parts of the bureaucracy under a court appointed receiver.
Anyway, I think Baker and Co. can, if they want, pretty much ignore this ruling.
As President Obama said to the US House regarding spending on Obamacare... "Ok sue me"... and the House did sue in the DC District Court, and the President lost and so what.
Ger ready for higher costs
Ger ready for higher costs for everything! How long until the middle-class completely disappears?
Dead kids are free?
Seriously - this pollution hurts us locally IN THE WALLET through health care costs.
And so do obese people who
And so do obese people who choose to live unhealthy lifestyles. Or what about cigarette smokers and their related medical issues? Asthma can be caused by things other than pollution.
1. You do not appear to know very much at all about asthma. Not only is ozone responsible for a lot of hospitalizations (not just causing asthma, but causing asthmatics who initially developed asthma for those "other reasons" to go to the hospital), it potentiates allergic asthma. Ozone will only get worse as the heat builds in the next century unless we drop the emissions that convert to ozone with heat and light.
Climate change is also ginning up the pollen counts, and, in some cases, increased CO2 is making pollen MORE allergenic.
I do this for a living, and know the problem inside and out.
2. Obesity is caused, in part, by driving rather than more active transportation. Increasing transit facilitates active transportation (T riders walk a lot more than drivers), and it also reduces ozone.
3. This argument is the equivalent of "but my brother eats glue" or similar logical fallacy. Just because obesity causes ill-health doesn't mean that we can't ameliorate the problem of people dying from asthma! Also, if people breathe better, they are better able to stay active, reducing obesity.
we lived in a country where you don't get to tell people how to live, for their own good, because you're so much smarter than th rest of us.
Oh wait, we do!
We might prefer to live in a country where you don't get to tell people how they should get sick and die because your preference is to burn a lot of fossil fuels, or your business makes a lot of money providing them. May be convenient for you, but it isn't at all convenient for people who develop asthma.
Kids shouldn't have to suffer
Kids shouldn't have to suffer with asthma and people shouldn't have to die from lung cancer because people are too lazy to walk or take public transportation. Be lazy and shortsighted all you want as long as it only hurts yourself. Once you hurt others you have made it other peoples business.
And you're a horrible person for posting on the internet with a computer that's made with dangerous chemicals that cause cancer in third world sweatshop workers. Why couldn't you be more compassionate and not have a computer and not use the internet?
See what I just did there?
"Active transportation?" What
"Active transportation?" What does that even mean? Even if someone walks to the T, the then sit or stand until they get off; how is that really different than sitting in a car? You're completely ignoring the fact of diet and eating unhealthy foods. "Active transportation" is useless if someone is eating 4,000 calories of fast foods.
You also state that heat will build in the next century. You know this for certain? In the 70s scientists were predicting an ice age. Now its global warming. Sure the planet has warmed slightly, but less than 3-tenths of a degree in the last 30 years. Real-world observational evidence contradicts model-driven predictions of temperature increases. None simulated the absence of warming over the last 18 years.
I've noticed you conveniently always have some sort of anecdote or real world experience or on the topic or discussion at hand. Always...
Oh, hey ...
You know that one thing? You're wrong about that.
Oh, and that other thing? You're wrong about that, too.
If you want to know what actual climate scientists are actually saying, you could read this site.
Or you could just keep on being all 'edgy' and 'independent,' and listening to people being paid by the oil companies to lie to you.
No climate scientist would has any personal stake in continuing the narrative. They would totally keep getting grants and promotions if they published anything skeptical of global warming alarmism.
And I have a bridge over the Charles to sell to you. Just getting renovated too. Should be open any day now.
The problem with your conspiracy theory...
The problem with your conspiracy theory is that if the scientific community were that vunerable to being bought off wholesale, the largest amount of money to do so actually sits in the coffers of the fossil-fuel industry. VoE (one step removed - my younger brother is a geologist for Exxon).
Believe me, climate scientists are not in it for the money. In fact, of the dozen or so very close friends of mine that went to MIT to study that exact subject, only two are actually working in the field today. The rest went on to other careers that they could actually make a living at. (Full disclaimer - I was a student at the 'tvte of the related (and similarly impecunious) field of planetary science. Went on to be a sw designer).
Also, of course, is the annoying truth that there is little that scientists love more than to poke apart their peers' work. Data is always being resampled and compared across types, models are constantly being tested and tweaked. (That's kind of science's thang).
If the data supporting climate change were vunerable to significant argument, and the scientific community were the sort of hive-mind cabal you suggest, then it'd be way more lucrative to square off into roughly equal camps of star and non-star bellied sneeches and argue about it forever.
Instead, a group which is usually much more akin to a herd of anarchist cats, is somehow 99% in agreement that radical climate change is taking place.
But by all means, avoid unpleasant truths by assuming that science ain't real and that corporations always have your best interests at heart, you cute little dickens. And enjoy your bridge.
I respectfully submit that
I respectfully submit that you're missing the point I'm trying to make.
That point is that the error bars on the data and the short amount of *calibrated* data that there is leave too much uncertainty in any prediction to justify enforcement of the kind of sweeping changes often proposed to "solve" the problem.
If you've done astronomy/planetary science, you might appreciate the following (imperfect) analogy:
Ms Leavitt sits in the basement of Harvard College Observatory eyeballing the brightness of stars and notices a pattern between pulsation rate and brightness in a star cluster. She tells Mr Schapley who jumps on the relationship and runs with it and declares that he knows the size of the universe, and that it's only as big as the milky way. Based on eyeball measurements or brightness and angular separation on photographic plates. Mr. Curtis says that's nonsense because, again by eyeball method, all those faint smudges in his telescopes looked like miniature versions of our own milky way. Fifteen years later Mr. Hubble finds that those smudges are moving really fast away from us and seventy years later a satellite named after Mr. Hipparchus goes up and makes actual measurements of these things to milliarcseconds and millimagnitudes. During the time in between, putting actual numbers to base these estimates on.
In 1920, who in the scientific establishment, using all the best practices of review and replication could decide what the right answer was?
Answer: no one. Not enough data; existing dataset not in conflict with either interpretation.
My assertion is that climate science is in its infancy because it is data-starved, and in lieu of data, there can only be extrapolation and argument. And that's not enough of a basis to tell people how to live.
Don't let middle class stand in the way
Of my Eco-topia
You realize that we are talking about SURVIVAL not ecotopia.
No place on earth is going to be spared what is coming. Nothing kills the middle class like instability and refugee status. How's that middle class in Syria doing now? Oh, and my brother's community has taken in many of the climate refugees from the Alberta wildfires - they might be middle class now, but it will be difficult for them to stay that way without ... socialism!
There won't be a middle class once MA has 500,000 climate refugees from loss of coastline alone. (and NY and NJ have a million a piece, etc.)
You "conservatives" are anything but. You don't care about the middle class - you only care about yourself with a exceptional belief that your greed will provide you with immunity from the coming upheaval.
And Al Gore
Is doing it all from the goodness of his heart and not at all to scare gullible liberals in need of something to feel guilty about into lining his wallet.
Half a million climate refugees?! Pathetic.
Who makes more money?
The CEO of Exxon or the CEO of the NRDC? I'll wait.
Where is Elizabeth Warren
I remember she cared about us for five minutes.
You think the CEO of Exxon
You think the CEO of Exxon Mobil cares about people? You think Donald Trump knows more than scientists? You think inhaling toxic fumes from cars and burnt coal is healthy? Pathetic.
Go move to Venezuela
No carbon emissions or rich people down there, you'll like it.
Go move to Russia
Or wherever the hell it was you came from.
There. I'm immature too!
Yes, you are
There we agree.
It's time for this
OK, you win
Your funny cartoon has converted me 101% to your cause.
Ooh idea time!
How about you raise the tax on gasoline! This will encourage people to buy more fuel efficient cars and drive the cars they have less. Then you can take that revenue from the gas tax and invest it in things like better transit and solar energy.
Oh, wait, was I dreaming? We can't have that because raising the gas tax a few cents will mean the END OF THE MIDDLE CLASS!!!!11! I've noticed that as gas prices fell by two dollars, the middle class came a-roaring back.
I'm sure our state government will leap to action...
...and take the necessary steps to remove this law from the books, before we have to do something wild and crazy like taxing fossil fuels to pay for cleaner alternatives.
Maybe in MA it did....
But go ask many-a-middle class family elsewhere, like Texas, about how plummeting O&G prices have liberated their wallets. I'm with you on the end-goal, don't get me wrong. We need to move away from petroleum sources for energy, as do our jobs. But how we mitigate the effects on the middle class while dealing with that is a big _______/????? that is going to hurt a lot of middle class jobs elsewhere. We have it good in MA, but we shouldn't have our blinders up to other places in the nation.
I think you're missing a
I think you're missing a critical element of sarcasm here.
Let me dig it up, but I'm pretty sure Commonwealth Mag did an article on how this O&G crash has helped MA lock down low gas rates for the years to come. Again, good for MA, but not great for the country at large, per se.
Sometimes sarcasm does go above me, but I really don't think it was this time. And if it was sarcasm, it was short-sighted, missing the forest for the trees sarcasm. Like I said, I agree with Mr. Ofsevit in the endgame.
No, you really did miss the sarcasm.
You seem to be having a violent agreement with Ari.
Some problems with your thought...
If you want to go green, go electric, right? One option. Yet electric cars are still quite expensive for the majority of folks and then there is the battery disposal issue. Yes, there are cars out there with better emissions but folks tend to like to purchase and to drive those high performance engine cars as well as large trucks and/or SUVs which tend to drive dirty:
So raising the tax on gasoline will probably not encourage many to do anything different and probably would not pass as a ballot question.
Your mention about the END OF THE MIDDLE CLASS seems odd. I can assure you that the END is coming and it has little to do with whether there is a gas tax or not.
Electric cars are mostly coal
Electric cars are mostly coal powered. Our local grid is burdened enough with generation shortfalls without getting into mass EV fleet expansion.
More nukes please. Thoroum pebble bed reactors. Cheap electricity would bring lots of manufacturing back to MA too.
How about ...
Five of them in your town.
But, hey, find a place to put one where it will have water but be immune from projected climate hazards and it might be worthwhile.
Solar, of course, is an entirely possible thing.
No revenues like power plant revenues. Just sit back and watch them atoms split.
Are you sure you went to MIT? Solar powered cars don't really close the power budget even if you had a magic battery for them that didn't take an hour to recharge off a 100 amp circuit.
Theory is nice
Reality is a very different thing.
You talk like the "lets all burn wood" people - all "ideas", no actual understanding of barriers to implementation.
One thing I learned at MIT
Be skeptical about any claims that any one technology will save the world. Particularly when they come from people with a very weak track record for predicting the benefits and risks of their favored technologies.
How's that "too cheap to meter" coming along?
They must not teach this at Chicken Scratch Tech.
Be skeptical about any claims
But bicycles, buses and solar panels will turn back the oceans and heal the planet, if you do them *just right* of course?
I'm pretty happy with Chicken Scratch Tech, and I've been underwhelmed with what I saw at MIT when I was there. For every one person who's got his or her head on straight and is the best of the best, there's two or three hangers-on who are there for the name and no other reason than to fill seats. Especially the grad students. But they've all got the attitude.
Was it like that in the 80's too?
You don't need much water for Thorium reactors
Depending on the specific desgn, not any! It's one (of many) potential benefits of that type of reactor.
The end game for these things is awesome - small, relatively inexpensive reactors that are by their very nature immune to melt-down, and make far less long-lived waste (and what they do make is not ameniable to weapons use).
I would much rather live near an urban-located Thorium reactor than a large NG distribution station.
Of course, there's still significant engineering hurdles to figure out. Even if we poured lots of money into development (which almost no one (but China) is doing yet), we're still at least a couple decades away from having solid, bugs-removed designs for commercial Thorium reactors.
low gas prices saved us 50-100/week
I'm fine with doing social control, I think there are a lot of environmental problems too. I ride a bike and the T and carpool etc.
Climate change is a herd action, a terror campaign that has been taken over by the wind arm of oil companies. Oil companies are now getting paid more, through high rates mandated by the government, not to pump oil.
Underneath it is the usual hate of the middle class by useful idiots.
Climate change is reality.
Climate change is reality.
The terror campaign is what will happen when we don't do anything about it or prepare.
The status quo of idiotic climate change denial comes from those who hate the middle class, since they are also the ones destroying it.
You might want to take a class in facts, logic, and reasoning sometime - and open your goddamn eyes to the reality that is already here.
But you won't because you are the one that hates the middle class - and your children, too.
You know what would help?
Nuclear power instead of natural gas electricity.