Extinction Rebellion Demands Net Zero Carbon Emissions by 2025
Extinction Rebellion (XR) Demands Net Zero Carbon Emissions by 2025 to Address Climate Emergency & Ecological Crisis
State 2050 Decarbonization Plan Condemns Tens of Thousands of Bay State Homes to Frequent Flooding and Inundation from Rising Seas & Extreme Weather
After 2020’s Record Setting Wildfires, Hurricanes, and Temperatures, XR Decries Massachusetts 2050 Net Zero Emissions Goal as Too Little, Too Late
BOSTON, MA — On Thursday, January 14, Extinction Rebellion-Massachusetts (XR) supporters marched from Boston City Hall to the Massachusetts State House to demand aggressive climate action from local and state leaders. XR demands an immediate and urgent decarbonization of Massachusetts energy, transportation, and industry to achieve Net Zero emissions by 2025, citing worsening damage from the ongoing Climate Emergency and Sixth Mass Extinction. (1) The short-term costs of a rapid transition to a fossil free economy will be tiny compared to the catastrophic planetary and societal impacts of waiting until 2050. The National Resources Defence Council tells Americans to expect $500+ billion in annual climate-related costs by 2050 and $1.8 trillion by 2100. (2) To express our displeasure with this lengthy timeline, XR carried a large banner reading “Fck 2050” to the State House, with our XR symbol in place of the ‘u’.
Arriving at the State House on Thursday following speeches at City Hall and a march up Beacon Hill, XR supporters firmly stated that we will not accept waiting another 30 years for Net Zero. Three major reports from the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (3) and one from the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services were released in 2018 and 2019. (4) These reports paint a dire picture: if we do not act immediately, we will face global famines, water shortages, increased transmission of disease, worsening wildfires, more frequent and deadly heat waves and weather events, flooding from rising sea levels, and mass climate migrations which expose already vulnerable populations to human rights abuses. (5)
The State’s current legislation, passed by the House & Senate on January 4, 2021, has set a goal for Net Zero carbon emissions by 2050, with interim goals and check-ins every 5 years. (6) The State’s Net Zero by 2050 goal is based on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC’s) 2018 report that stated that the entire world must by Net Zero by 2050 to provide a reasonable chance of avoiding 2-degrees Celsius or more of warming. (7) XR argues that a government claiming to be a “Climate Leader”, as stated in the Mass 2030 progress report (3), should be ashamed to tout doing the bare minimum recommendations of the IPCC. Moreover, Massachusetts is on track to miss the 2020 emissions milestone, indicating that the current incrementalist approach is not working (6). XR-MA believes that leading on climate means telling the truth and responding to the scale of the climate crisis by acting now, not years from now, to achieve Net Zero over the next 5 years.
“The current Massachusetts decarbonization plans condemn nearly 10,000 coastal homes across our state to chronic flooding, being underwater every other week by 2050,” says Nic Bryant from XR-Massachusetts. “The climate crisis is on track to displace over 178,000 people from nearly 90,000 homes in coastal communities and drain $413 million in property tax revenue by the late 21st-century. And yet, the Massachusetts Clean Energy and Climate Plan for 2030 repeatedly argues that cost be the primary concern for selecting a climate strategy. How can you argue that we should be pinching pennies when the climate emergency is already costing lives and billions of dollars? How can we accept a slow transition when communities from Plum Island to Cambridge, Revere to Provincetown will have a quarter of their homes destroyed by floods and seas within my lifetime?” This information is based on the latest Massachuestts-specific independent scientific research on the medium-term impact of the climate crisis on the Bay State. (7,8,9)
XR also critiques the MA Decarbonization Roadmap for 2050 and the interim report for 2030 for having incomplete and often conflicting proposals. For example, the 2030 report repeatedly cites the long life-span of equipment such as automobiles and HVAC as a limiting factor in the pace of adoption for green technologies. (7) It also finds that the most significant reduction in state emissions needs to come from transportation and buildings. Yet, under this bill Massachusetts will still subsidize fossil fuel heating systems, which the report acknowledges have a 30-year lifespan, until at least 2024. This means that Massachusetts taxpayers will pay for these systems twice—once to subsidize fossil fuel heating between now and 2024—and again to replace them with green systems or mitigate emissions from these systems come 2050.
Everyone in Massachusetts witnessed dire omens from the climate crisis in 2020, from wildfires a country away making our skies glow red, to half a dozen tropical storms churning in the Atlantic simultaneously. We saw the crisis of justice for communities of color who suffer the most from racial prejudice and simultaneously from unchecked pollution, such as the construction of natural gas facilities in our state. (10) In light of this threat, XR Massachusetts urges communities and local, city, and state governments across Massachusetts to demand an inclusive vision for achieving Net Zero carbon emissions by 2025. The global track record on climate action has consistently been too-little, too-late, and XR believes that the Massachusetts 2050 Decarbonization Roadmap is another case of accepting unconscionable consequences in 5, 10, and 20 years in favor of comfort, cost, and convenience today.
Extinction Rebellion Boston is an autonomous chapter of the international grassroots movement, Extinction Rebellion (XR), which started in London in 2018. The purpose of XR is to tell the truth about how dire the ecological and climate crisis is and spark immediate action in order to prevent complete climate and ecological collapse. We aim to mobilize people around the world to utilize nonviolent direct action to demand that governments take radical action to avert societal collapse caused by widespread climate and ecological disaster, and to protect front-line communities, biodiversity, and the natural world. This movement is non-partisan, and unites all of humanity behind a singular goal of a just and livable future. Learn more at: xrmass.org
- “Vertebrates on the brink as indicators of biological annihilation and the sixth mass extinction”
- “The Cost of Climate Change: What We’ll Pay if Global Warming Continues Unchecked”
- IPCC 2018 Report, IPCC 2019 Special Report on the Land, IPCC 2019 Special Report on the Ocean and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate
- IPBES 2019 Report
- CBS, “Human civilization faces "existential risk" by 2050 according to new Australian climate change report”
- “Negotiators Reach Deal On Major Climate Bill”
- “MA Clean Energy and Climate Plan for 2030 (Interim Report)”
- “Underwater”, Union of Concerned Scientists, 2018
- [Sea Level Rise Could Threaten 90,000 Homes In Mass., Study Finds](https://www.wbur.org/news/2018/06/18/sea-level-rise-massachusetts-homes
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