In an editorial, the Boston Globe urges Massachusetts legislators to “reject rhetoric that pits encouraging renewables and reducing fossil fuel-related emissions against each other, as if the Commonwealth can’t pursue both.”
The resulting capacity shortfalls during the winter forced power plants to switch to dirtier coal and oil, driving up greenhouse gas emissions, and caused the state to rely on gas imports from a sanctioned Russian gas company linked to one of Vladimir Putin’s closest cronies (a second ship carrying Russian gas docked Thursday in Everett). Keeping out pipelines has also meant that even new power plants in Massachusetts are planning to build higher-emitting oil generators as winter backup.
But it also exposes shortcomings in the broader abstinence-only ideology the pipeline vote embodied. Some kinds of fossil fuels burn cleaner than others, and some ways of transporting them do less damage. Using incentives and the limited powers of state government to steer industry toward less harmful outcomes should be a priority.