Politics

Charlie Baker’s answers to questions on environmental issues

The Globe sent 17 questions to each of the state’s gubernatorial candidates on environmental issues. Here are the answers provided by Charlie Baker.

1. Do you believe that human beings are causing global climate change? Yes or no and why or why not? If you have changed your mind on the subject, can you explain why?

Yes. Human behavior is driving the increase in CO2 levels.

2. Do you support the state’s current goals of cutting carbon emissions 25 percent below 1990 levels by 2020 and 80 percent by 2050? Do you think the state should be doing more or less to cut carbon emissions? Yes or no and why or why not?

I do support the current carbon cutting goals, but we have a lot of work to do to ensure we meet them. As Governor, one of my top priorities will be ensuring Massachusetts has access to reliable and affordable sources of energy. I will pursue a balanced approach, that includes natural gas, wind, solar and hydroelectric generation, with a strong emphasis on efficiency to reduce the cost of energy and reduce our carbon footprint. I will also strongly encourage the clean energy innovation sector, which will have a positive benefit both for our economy and our environment.

3. Can you provide specifics as to how you would achieve the state’s goals of cutting carbon emissions in 2020 and 2050?

As Governor, one of my top priorities will be ensuring Massachusetts has access to reliable and affordable sources of energy. I will pursue a balanced approach, that includes natural gas, wind, solar and hydroelectric generation, with a strong emphasis on efficiency to reduce the cost of energy and reduce our carbon footprint. I will also strongly encourage the clean energy innovation sector, which will have a positive benefit both for our economy and our environment.

4. Do you support tax credits for renewable energy? Yes or no and why or why not?

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I will strongly encourage the clean energy innovation sector, which will have a positive benefit both for our economy and our environment. I do not believe the government should pick ‘winners and losers’ but rather encourage innovation and investment in a variety of renewable energy sources.

5. As seas rise, what would you do to protect the state’s coast?

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In response to the threat of climate change, a Baker administration will act on several fronts:

• First, work to provide market-based incentives for the further reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, and work to harvest energy savings wherever and whenever possible.

• Next, support modernization of our regional electrical grid so that we are prepared to leverage new technology solutions and strengthen the grid’s resistance to violent storms and flooding.

• Third, drive the development of adaptation plans for our cities, our forests and our coastlines, so that the impacts of a changing climate are minimized.

6. Do you support the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s extension of the Pilgrim plant’s license? As governor, would you push to close Pilgrim or do you see it as a vital source of energy for the future? Yes or no and why or why not?

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I support the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s extension of the Pilgrim plant’s license and will pursue a balanced approach, that includes natural gas, wind, solar and hydroelectric generation, with a strong emphasis on efficiency to reduce the cost of energy and reduce our carbon footprint. We also need to ensure the safety and security of the Pilgrim plant.

7. Do you support Cape Wind? Yes or no and why or why not?

The Cape Wind project has progressed to a point where it is a done deal and I have no plans to undo the progress made on the project. As Governor, I will work to make sure ratepayers get the best deal possible and pursue less costly renewable energy sources to reduce our carbon footprint.

8. Do you support the extension of natural gas pipelines through Massachusetts? Yes or no and why or why not?

Massachusetts needs more natural gas capacity as a bridge to the future where we can rely more fully on renewable energy sources. Without more capacity, consumers will see higher and more volatile costs. My preference would be to expand existing pipelines rather than building new ones, but whatever path we pursue, we need to ensure it has minimal environmental and community impact.

9. Do you support ballot Question No. 2 to expand the state’s bottle law? Yes or no and why or why not?

I do not support Question 2 because, like Speaker DeLeo, I see this as essentially a tax increase on Massachusetts consumers. I also believe linking the bottle law to inflation sets a dangerous precedent for taxpayers as lawmakers should be required to vote to raise taxes on the people.

10. Until recently, despite tens of millions of dollars spent and the availability of curbside recycling to nearly everyone, only about 37 percent of all municipal waste is recycled in Massachusetts. What would you do to change that?

I support increasing the availability and quality of recycling programs, whether it’s curbside programs or access to recycling in public areas. I would support incentives to encourage recycling by residents and businesses as well as promoting the importance and availability of recycling.

11. Do you support the state’s Endangered Species Act? Yes or no and why or why not?

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I do support protecting endangered species. It is also important to strike a balance between the protection of threatened species and the rights of landowners. I support efforts to have landowners and MassWildlife work together as partners in protecting our wildlife and habitat, rather than having an antagonistic relationship between landowners and the state.

12. What would you do preserve the dwindling amount of open land in the state?

I was proud to be part of the Weld and Cellucci administrations which worked to conserve open land in Massachusetts. I would continue that commitment as governor.

13. Would you be willing to commit no less than 1 percent of the state’s operating budget to environmental issues, as Mitt Romney did? Yes or no, why or why not?

Yes. We accomplished this when I was Secretary of Administration and Finance under Governors Weld and Cellucci and I have pledged that this will again be the case in my administration.

14. As governor, would you continue to have Massachusetts participate in RGGI? Yes or no and why or why not?

Yes. Reducing green house gases is important to protecting our environment.

15. If you become governor, what would your environmental priorities be?

As Governor, one of my top priorities will be ensuring Massachusetts has access to reliable and affordable sources of energy. I will pursue a balanced approach that includes natural gas, wind, solar and hydroelectric generation, with a strong emphasis on efficiency to reduce the cost of energy and reduce our carbon footprint. I will also strongly encourage the clean energy innovation sector, which will have a positive benefit both for our economy and our environment.

16. Have any environmental groups endorsed you, and can you name them?

17. Can you tell us why voters should believe you would be a better governor on environmental issues than your opponent?

I was proud to be part of the Weld and Cellucci adminstrations which had a strong record of protecting water supplies, conserving land, promoting recycling and fighting pollution. As governor, I will pursue a balanced approach that includes natural gas, wind, solar and hydroelectric generation, with a strong emphasis on efficiency to reduce the cost of energy and reduce our carbon footprint. I will also strongly encourage the clean energy innovation sector, which will have a positive benefit both for our economy and our environment.