MA Undersecretary for Climate Change David Ismay: “We Have to Break Your Will.”
The state’s $130,000-a-year undersecretary for climate change is being blasted by a fiscal watchdog for saying the administration needs to “break” the will of taxpayers when it comes to heating homes and driving cars.
The video shows David Ismay, Gov. Charlie Baker’s Under Secretary for Climate Change, telling Vermont climate advocates that it’s time to go after homeowners and motorists to help reduce emissions.
At the end of the clip, he adds: “I can’t even say that publicly.”
Ismay did not return a Herald request for comment Friday morning.
Asked about the video during a press conference, Baker said he and Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito had seen the video earlier that morning. He added Climate Secretary Kathleen Theoharides, Ismay’s boss, is also aware of it.
“First of all, no one who works in our administration should ever say or think anything like that — ever,” the governor said. “Secondly, Secretary Theoharides is going to have a conversation with him about that.”
Baker continued, “And the third — and 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 that it’s 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 the administration policy or position.”
In the video posted by MassFiscal Alliance, Ismay says the state needs to “break their will” and “turn the screws on” ordinary people to force changes in their consumption of heating fuels and gasoline. Ismay described the ordinary people as the “person across the street” and the “senior on fixed income.”
In the clip, he starts by saying there is “no bad guy left” in Massachusetts and that 60% of emissions comes from “residential heating and passenger vehicles.”
This all comes as sweeping climate policy legislation is being pushed that would force net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, set interim emission reduction targets, establish appliance energy efficiency standards and authorize additional purchases of offshore wind power. Baker has until Sunday to sign, reject or amend that bill.
Also part of the debate is the Transportation Climate Initiative championed Baker that aims to reduce motor vehicle pollution by at least 26% and generate over $1.8 billion in Massachusetts by 2032, according to a deal Massachusetts signed with Rhode Island, Connecticut and Washington, D.C.
It will up the price of gas by 5 to 7 cents per gallon, according to state estimates. Eight other states are still considering the deal.
Paul Diego Craney, spokesman for MassFiscal, said the video clip provides a “sneak peek into the minds of regulators” with Ismay’s harsh rhetoric.
Ismay’s direct quote is: “So let me say that again, 60% of our emissions that need to be reduced come from you, the person across the street, the senior on fixed income, right… there is no bad guy left, at least in Massachusetts to point the finger at, to turn the screws on, and you know, to break their will, so they stop emitting. That’s you. We have to break your will. Right, I can’t even say that publicly.”
The remarks were made on Jan. 25 at the Vermont Climate Council meeting.
Craney added 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.”