Executive order outlines climate change strategy

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Gov. Charlie Baker signed an executive order on Sept. 16 that lays out the administration’s plan for mitigating and adapting to climate change, which includes coordination with – and direct support for – cities and towns.
The order directs the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs and the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security to lead the development and implementation of a statewide climate adaptation plan. The plan will provide a blueprint for protecting the built and natural environment based on existing and projected climate change impacts.
The two state offices are also tasked with coordinating assistance to cities and towns as they prepare for the impacts of climate change, providing resources and boosting local capacity to assess local climate risks and create municipal adaptation plans.
The administration noted that communities are dealing with the impacts of a historic drought and extreme weather events, and the executive order will enhance state and local collaboration, helping communities to more quickly recover from violent storms and extreme weather.
In a statement, Salem Mayor Kim Driscoll said her city “is already preparing for the effects of climate change with a variety of planning efforts and capital investments.
“This executive order will enable municipalities to work toward long-term solutions to protect the safety and well-being of residents, as well as our infrastructure and economy,” she said.
The executive order requires each state executive office to designate a climate change coordinator, who will work to complete a vulnerability assessment for each office and to assist with the implementation and coordination of adaptation and mitigation efforts across state government.
The executive order also sets forth a schedule for the Department of Environmental Protection to promulgate regulations to ensure that Massachusetts meets its carbon and greenhouse gas reduction targets under the Global Warming Solutions Act by 2020.
MassDEP will engage stakeholders, examine emission limits from a range of sectors, and outline a timeline to develop the regulations.
Administration officials will work with state and regional transportation leaders and environmental and energy agencies to outline additional steps necessary to develop regional policies to reduce transportation-sector emissions.
The state will also complete a comprehensive energy plan that will enable forward-looking analysis of energy demand and provide strategies for meeting that demand, including conservation, energy efficiency and other demand-reduction strategies. Complementing the energy plan will be continued work on regional electric energy market reform so that power generators can all compete to meet state mandates for clean energy.
The executive order will be reviewed in 2019 and every five years thereafter.