Still Using Economic (and Safety) Arguments to Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions: Massassachusetts Enacts Gas Leak Legislation


As I noted last year, there has been a concerted effort on the part of those fighting climate change to emphasize economic issues in connection with their policy proposals. That post concerned Senator Markey’s efforts to highlight the economic costs resulting from gas leaks. Of course, methane is a much more powerful greenhouse gas than CO2, with a global warming potential of 21.

Now Massachusetts – that leader in all matters progressive – has done something about it. As Governor Patrick announced earlier this week, Massachusetts has enacted H.4164, “An Act Relative to Natural Gas Leaks.” The bill puts several procedures in places to ensure that the worst gas leaks are repaired promptly.

It’s worth noting that the bill doesn’t mention climate change or global warming or greenhouse gases. Moreover, the Governor’s press announcement was focused on the public safety issues. The quote from EOEEA Secretary Maeve Vallely Bartlett led with public safety and cost savings, although it did also mention that the bill will help Massachusetts achieve its GHG reduction targets.

I don’t think that the Governor is doing anything cynical here. This administration has not been shy about talking about climate change and there is nothing wrong with pointing out economic and public safety benefits of legislation or regulations that have beneficial climate impacts. It’s just a bit of the tail wagging the dog. Expect to see more of it.

tail wagging dog



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