Here in Massachusetts we consider ourselves leaders in the climate change movement. Notable among our many efforts on clean energy is the Global Warming Solutions Act (GWSA), started in 2008. One of the items in the GWSA is a mandate to get to a certain amount of clean energy by the year 2020. As part of that effort to get to the mandated amount of clean energy that we use in MA, an idea has come up to burn biomass—essentially wood—and put it into the “clean energy” category. According to an article in the Boston Globe, the Baker Administration is considering designating biomass for renewable energy and making biomass eligible for clean energy incentives, which is very controversial as you might imagine. The Baker Administration is saying that biomass is part of the so-called “combo platter” of energy that the state needs to rely on and that over time it should not increase carbon emissions. Climate hawks protest because burning biomass will create more pollution in the form of soot and also reduce the trees that are needed to absorb carbon dioxide. As D.R. says, looking at it from a 35,000 foot perspective, branding biomass to be renewable energy as though it is the equivalent of wind and solar reminds him of the famous Reagan initiative to brand ketchup as a vegetable. This is an opportunity to play semantics with what is considered “renewable” and “clean energy.”