A Massachusetts climate official said people who heat their homes and fuel their cars will need to have their “will” broken in order to combat emissions and climate change.
“I know one thing that we found in our analysis is that 60% of our emissions come from … residential heating and passenger vehicles,” said David Ismay, Massachusetts, undersecretary for climate change, during a virtual meeting with the Vermont Climate Council. “Let me say that again: 60% of our emissions that need to be reduced come from you, the person on your street, the senior on fixed-income. Right now, there is no bad guy left, at least in Massachusetts, to point the finger at and turn the screws on and now break their will, so they stop emitting. That’s you. We have to break your will.”
Ismay reasoned that climate agencies were running out of options.
“We can’t have no offshore wind, no transmission, no solar, and have clean energy,” he said. “Something has to give. There has to be some mechanism we trust to find a place to site a transmission line.”
But Ismay also admitted his remarks would not be popular.
“I can’t even say that publicly,” Ismay said.
That prediction seemingly came to fruition when the state’s Republican Gov. Charlie Baker got wind of the statements, which he insisted “no one who works in our administration should ever say or think.”
“First of all, no one who works in our administration should ever say or think anything like that,” Baker said. “Secondly, Secretary Theoharides is going to have a conversation with him about that. And third, one of the main reasons we didn’t sign the climate bill when it got to our desk was because we were specifically concerned about the impact it was going to have on people’s ability to pay for many of the pieces that were in it, which means it also doesn’t represent administration policy or position.”
The Massachusetts Fiscal Alliance also weighed in on the clip, calling it “frightening” that someone with as much power as Ismay was calling for such proposals.
“It’s frightening to think an official so high up in the Baker administration is bragging to an out-of-state group about the economic pain he wants to inflict on the very people who he’s supposed to work for,” Paul Craney, a spokesman MFA, told Commonwealth Magazine. “Remarks like this have no place in state government. Ismay should be dismissed from his position in state government, as he’s clearly demonstrated he does not have the best interests of the residents of Massachusetts at heart.”