Whereas, climate change threatens the environment, public health and public safety of communities in Massachusetts, and has already seriously impacted many of the Commonwealth’s neighborhoods, residents, infrastructure, transportation systems, and economies as extreme weather events, sea level rise, coastal erosion, powerful storms, drought, and flooding become more frequent and severe; and

Whereas, human activity directly and indirectly contributes to the warming of the global atmosphere, and the 2022 Massachusetts Climate Change Assessment has projected that our summers will soon be characterized by an increased number of hotter days on average, and extreme heat poses significant risks to human health; and

Whereas, the Massachusetts Clean Energy and Climate Plan for 2050 (2050 CECP) puts forward specific actions to reduce carbon emissions in several sectors to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 to ensure national and international climate goals are met; and

Whereas, local leaders and staff are integral environmental stewards of Massachusetts communities, embracing new technologies and best practices, preserving land and natural resources, supplying safe, clean drinking water as well as wastewater and stormwater management, and protecting ecosystems from harm; and

Whereas, in recent years, local governments reported more property insurance losses specifically linked to increases in storms with high winds, lightning strikes, power surges, damaging flooding, and sudden and torrential rainfalls; and

Whereas, communities are demanding local action on climate adaptation measures, and rely on local, state and federal leadership on resilience initiatives and mitigation programs to meet those demands; and

Whereas, innovative actions and responses to the climate crisis by local leaders offer many opportunities for physical and financial benefits to their communities, and ensure that environmental and climate justice principles are taken into account; and

Therefore, it is hereby resolved that the members of the Massachusetts Municipal Association support the following essential policy positions to ensure a strong local, state, and federal partnership to address climate change, enhance resilience, and bolster climate adaptation initiatives:

• The state should uphold its commitment to support the 351 communities of the Commonwealth through the Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness (MVP) Program, and should commit to funding the program with at least $100 million per year to significantly increase its capacity to support climate resiliency projects at the local level; and
• The state should continue to support and expand municipal efforts in energy efficiency, decarbonization, and renewable energy projects through dedicated funding, including the Green Communities Program and Climate Leader Communities Program; and
• The state should prioritize the Recommendations of the Climate Chief to respond to the climate crisis in an intersectional, cross-disciplinary manner; and
• The state should provide support for workforce development in key sectors – including public works, water and sewer, engineering, planning and design, sustainability and energy management – to adequately staff municipal governments as they work to make local government operations resilient and prepare to respond to future climate emergencies in real time; and
• The state should evaluate and implement the necessary strategies to decarbonize the energy sector while overcoming barriers to entry, ensuring an equitable and diverse workforce, and should incorporate the perspectives of environmental and climate justice and other priority populations in energy decisions; and
• The state should safeguard and support the ability of municipal leaders to make decisions, avoid preemption of local control, and incentivize responsible, sustainable development; and
• Municipalities should routinely review local planning and zoning bylaws and ordinances for opportunities to increase resilience in their communities, including through the specialized energy code and Zero-Emission-Vehicle-First policies; and
• The state and federal government should provide liability protections for municipal governments in the wake of weather-related incidents and aging infrastructure; and
• The state should further collaborate with municipal partners to provide data, resources and support to communities to ensure adequate preparation for extreme weather events and assist in cleanup efforts, and identify and support marginalized or low-income households at risk due to climate change; and
• The state, as well as its 351 cities and towns, should continue to utilize federal funding to support existing programs and build new opportunities to reach local, state, federal, and international climate goals as soon as possible.

It is further resolved that a copy of this resolution shall be provided to the Governor, the Members of the Massachusetts General Court, and the Members of the Massachusetts Congressional Delegation.