Massachusetts has responded to the challenge of global climate change by enacting new laws and policies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. But effective responses will require active involvement and voluntary action by non-government stakeholders. CBI has been facilitating the work of an innovative public-private partnership to meet Massachusetts climate change goals.

The 2008 Massachusetts Global Warming Solutions Act sets mandatory, science-based targets to reduce global warming pollution to 10-25 percent below today’s levels by 2020, and 80 percent by 2050 – for all sectors of the economy. To advance implementation of the Act, in 2009, the Environmental League of Massachusetts (ELM) retained CBI to help design a high impact advocacy group. The BARR Foundation provided support.

To determine how a new advocacy group could add value without duplicate existing efforts, CBI conducted an extensive stakeholder assessment, interviewing members of the Commonwealth’s business, academic, faith, and envi­ronmental communities. CBI discovered that stakeholders wanted a small group of informed experts that would focus on specific, attainable targets. Participants stressed that any effort would be unsuccessful without involvement of the larger community and grassroots groups.

Based on the assessment, CBI helped ELM design the Global Warming Solutions Project (GWSP). At the core of the Project is a group of subject matter experts and leaders from state and local governments, business, labor, academia, public health, and environmental justice.

In June 2010, GWSP began monthly meetings, facili­tated by CBI, to refine its purpose, identify priorities and discuss strategies. GWSP decided to concentrate its efforts on three policy areas to support the Act’s implementation and effectively reduce green house gas emissions:

  1. promote state-supported development projects that create fewer net green house gas emissions;
  2. support effective implementation of current state energy efficiency policies; and
  3. ensure that Massachusetts coal plants are closed by 2020.

To inform and engage the larger environmental commu­nity, diverse civic leaders, and other stakeholders, GWSP hosted the Commonwealth Climate Leadership Summit at Suffolk University Law School in Boston in January 2011. CBI facilitated a series of strategic discussions and breakout sessions focused on transportation, energy ef­ficiency, coal, and state supported development projects. Summit participants explored problems, opportunities, and outstanding issues and developed joint, near-term actions to address them. Implementation of those actions is now underway.

The Global Warming Solutions Project now has core members in place, a clear sense of goals and strategies, and a broad base of supportive constituents. GWSP is now well positioned to carry out its mission to promote “policies that yield the greatest possible reduction in Greenhouse Gas emissions and contribute meaningfully toward a more sustainable climate for future generations.”