Downing urges 80% commitment of ARPA funds to climate-related goals

For Immediate Release:
August 9, 2021


East Boston – In light of the latest report from the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, former state senator, clean energy business leader, and current gubernatorial candidate Ben Downing today urged leaders on Beacon Hill to commit 80% of federal recovery dollars to climate-related goals. This includes everything from public transportation, affordable housing, a Massachusetts Climate Corps, vocational technical education, and investments in our clean energy economy that allow us to put an end to new fossil fuel infrastructure in the Commonwealth.

“From raging wildfires to once-in-a-generation floods and dangerously erratic weather patterns, the consequences of climate inaction have become part of our daily lives over the past several years,” said Downing. “Now, the UN’s latest report puts those experiences in stark relief. Things will get worse. Our window to course correct is closing. Doing so will require bold action and big behavior change from those responsible for this devastation: complacent leadership from Beacon Hill more interested in protecting the fossil fuel industry than saving our planet.”

Downing continued: “These findings make Massachusetts’ climate lethargy all the more inexcusable. Governor Baker and Beacon Hill need to meet the moment we are in and act with unprecedented urgency to ensure that Massachusetts helps lead our country down the path that the survival of our planet demands. I urge our state government to commit 80% of all federal recovery dollars to climate-related goals and to release this funding as expeditiously as possible. If there is one resource we are out of, it is time.”

Climate action has been the centerpiece of Downing’s campaign from the start. Four months ago, he rolled out the Downing Climate Plan, which commits to the following bold benchmarks: Achieve 100% clean electricity by 2030; Achieve 100% clean energy by 2040; Require 50% of climate spending directly benefit environmental justice communities; Undertake “Restructuring 3.0” to reform utilities & modernize grid; Create a climate impact mandate across state government; and maximize the economic benefit of a clean energy economy in Massachusetts.

A well-respected climate leader in Massachusetts, Ben was a leading voice for climate action during his time in the state senate. He served as Senate Chair of the Joint Committee on Telecommunications, Utilities, and Energy where he passed transformative legislation to improve energy efficiency, jumpstart renewable development, and help the state meet its carbon reduction goals. For the last four years he has dedicated himself full-time to solving the climate crisis, serving as a Vice President at Nexamp, a leading renewable energy company. Downing also served on the board of the Environmental League of Massachusetts.

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