Mike Capuano strongly believes that we must address climate change before it is too late.
* He supported the Climate Stewardship Act to create a cap and trade system and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
* He supported the SAFE Climate Act, to freeze 2010 emissions at 2009 levels, gradually lowering the targets to reduce emissions below 1990 levels.
Every year that we fail to take action only makes the changes required to stop global warming that much more drastic. Mike is hopeful that this year we will finally see real progress on this serious issue. The House recently passed a bill to freeze emissions at 17% below 2005 levels by 2020 and slowly reduce them to 83% of 2005 emissions by 2050. He fought to strengthen the bill by:
* Advocating for strong building code provisions so that new homes and commercial buildings are energy efficient,
* Pushing for a strong renewable electricity standard to require that a certain percentage of a power company's portfolio came from renewable sources,
* Calling for more funding to be dedicated to green jobs.
Mike also led efforts to ensure that the bill addressed the very serious issue of emission from our transportation sector, which accounts for almost 30% of our country's emissions. The bill that passed in the House gave states the flexibility to use up to 1% of funds raised by the climate change bill for transit projects, which will not only help the environment and reduce emissions, but will also create good, well paying, jobs. This is a small step toward pushing leaders to recognize that transportation must be part of the climate change solution.
Mike is a proponent of green jobs. Massachusetts, with its perfect mix of technology, education, and research centers stands to uniquely benefit and be a national leader in the rapidly expanding green economy. Clean technology jobs are already one of the largest sources of employment in Massachusetts and also one of its fastest growing sectors. Mike supported authorizing $125 million per year for green jobs training in the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 and joined with his colleagues in the House asking that the authorized green jobs training program be fully funded in fiscal year 2009. Mike and his colleagues succeeded in getting $500 million for green jobs training in the stimulus bill, and billions more for energy and environmental research that will directly create thousands of new green jobs.
Mike supports increasing Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) Standards. This is by far one of the easiest actions we can take to decrease our country's transportation related emissions, while also reducing our reliance on foreign sources of energy. He co-sponsored the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 which raised the CAFE standard for the first time in 30 years.
Mike believes that we must increase our efforts to produce alternative fuels, including wind energy. Because of this, he supports projects like Cape Wind. He has long maintained that discussion can and should be had about the size, scope and environmental impact of such projects, but that we must find ways to incorporate wind energy.
Mike has long advocated for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), fighting every year for adequate funding. This advocacy finally paid off when Congress approved $5.1 billion for the LIHEAP program in fiscal year 2009, $2 billion more than the Fiscal Year 2006 appropriation, which itself was a record amount of funding.
As Mayor of Somerville, Mike was often described as an urban environmentalist. Some of his accomplishments included:
* Creating the first municipally based environmental strike force, which virtually eliminated illegal dumping in Somerville;
* Hiring the first municipally based Environmental Protection Officer in Massachusetts;
* Establishing a comprehensive recycling program that included full-scale curbside -- paper, glass, plastics and electronics recycling as well as, composting and yard waste collection; user friendly, centralized collection was made available also for paint, motor oil and household hazardous waste recycling;
* Planting thousands of new trees;
* Reclaiming acres of industrial land and turned them into open space.