Last Friday, after months of campaigning, Better Future Project / 350 Massachusetts and our partners at Students for a Just and Stable Future sat down with Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick to discuss his remarkable climate record and our call for him to further build upon it by banning the worst, building only the best, and beginning to price the rest.
We decided to focus our energies on Governor Patrick because he has been such a strong leader on climate change, having made clean energy and climate action a cornerstone of his administration and having led the nation with policies around energy efficiency and clean energy.
Once again, just a week after our meeting, Governor Patrick has stepped up to the plate on climate change: while speaking today at the commencement ceremony of the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, he referenced “heat waves, coastal flooding, intense precipitation and more extreme storms” and invoked a “future free of fossil fuels.” Excitingly, he also called for Massachusetts to “finally end all reliance on conventional coal generation” within the next four years.
We honor leaders who take bold action in difficult times. By calling for a clean energy future that moves beyond all fossil fuel usage, Governor Patrick has shown himself to be a leader willing to take on the crisis of climate change — starting with an end to coal. It’s clear that our efforts to advance the conversation around climate change in Massachusetts are already paying off.
And with our support, Governor Patrick is not just changing the conversation around climate change, but translating that talk into action. Among other things, the Governor announced a new Clean Energy Standard, which would favor efficiency and zero-emissions energy sources like solar and wind over fossil fuels, and put an end to “high-emissions sources” like coal.
We are still in conversations with the Governor’s office about the rest of our platform, but I hope you share my enthusiasm for this major step forward to a clean energy future.
Many groups and people share this victory: environment and public health groups and frontline communities, among others, have pushed for changes like this for years. But I believe that our grassroots movement-building was instrumental in making this possible. When you unite people across the state around a common purpose and a clear strategy, you can accomplish great things.
So take some time to grab a drink with a friend, jump in the air, or just pat yourself on the back. Remember this feeling: we will need this reminder about the power of grassroots organizing when the odds are against us and the situation looks grim. For today, let’s celebrate!
Onward and upward,
Craig S. Altemose
Better Future Project Executive Director
P.S.: We just put this meme on Facebook announcing the news. Share it far and wide!
P.P.S. Here’s the full text of the governor’s speech.