The 2018 IPCC report changed everything. The stakes were higher, and with that energy, we were able to write the Next-Generation Roadmap bill, through the collaboration of representatives, climate experts, and various activist groups. And while the bill wasn’t perfect, it delivered the runway needed to get there, which is something we never had before. It was widely supported by citizens and representatives alike, so why did it fail to pass during the last session? A new study gives us some insight into the forces that have long fought popular climate legislation.
In 2019, I was honored to be sponsored by my State Senator and take the Citizens Legislative Seminar, a two-day seminar covering the ins and outs of the legislative process. It was in that seminar that the chatter emerged regarding the release of Brown University’s recent bombshell climate report. The report was confined to the back of my head until its release last week. Nevertheless, to see what I had suspected from my experience of sitting through countless testimonies on climate legislation, having it in print is incredibly sobering.
Whether I am observing a local government hearing over what to do with a piece of land or sitting in a legislative hearing listening to testimony about laws that will tweak the way we do business, the same opponents can be found in both places. The surprising part, to me, was to learn how deeply the real estate industry has been lobbying against energy efficiency bills.
Between 2013 and 2018, real estate groups lobbied on climate and clean energy legislation 114 times, primarily against efforts to regulate homes and construction energy efficiency. Their lobbying seems to have paid off. The report found that only 9 out of 245 climate bills filed between 2013 and 2018 were brought to a full vote, despite near-unanimous support.
This year, the Next-Gen Roadmap Bill passed 38-2 in the Senate and 138-9 in the House. Still, the governor’s veto stopped the bill’s passage, and even though it has been refiled with the promise of a vote from leadership, the Governor may, by way of his lobbyist allies, be able to water down the bill. The longer it takes, the more time the real estate and other climate-denying lobbies have to whittle down the bill’s supermajority support. This cannot happen.
Urge our legislators to pass the Next-Gen Roadmap bill by the end of January by signing this petition. It’s time for Baker and his cronies to stop suffocating progress in the name of profit.