Yesterday, Massachusetts Climate Chief Melissa Hoffer issued a report detailing how “to implement the Healey-Driscoll Administration’s whole-of-government approach to addressing the climate crisis.” The report identifies trends, barriers, and gaps in Massachusetts climate policy, establishes guiding principles for whole-of-government climate action, and offers recommendations to strengthen the “climate-related practices and policies of executive department agencies.” The recommendations represent a roadmap for the state to implement its climate goals while enhancing public health, economic prosperity, social equity, and environmental quality.
In announcing the release of the report, Hoffer said: “This report details how Massachusetts can play a key role in climate policy and implementation, while also advancing innovation in technology, climate finance and resilience. These recommendations will set Massachusetts up as an example to other states on how to be a catalyst for climate innovation.”
The report is based on an analysis of current and projected climate challenges and opportunities facing the Commonwealth, and provides examples of best practices and case studies to support its findings and proposals.
Recommendations cover the following substantive topic areas: emissions mitigation; economic development; public health and resilience; workforce; state capital investment; and education. While we anticipate additional posts analyzing the report’s substantive topic areas, we summarize the report’s major recommendations below:
- Emissions Mitigation
- Develop and launch Corporate Climate Challenge.
- Analyze the best use of ratepayer funds currently allocated to Mass Save and accelerate work to establish a decarbonization clearinghouse by 2024 to ensure timely achievement of building emissions reduction mandates.
- Publish an annual report card on the Commonwealth’s progress to achieve mandated greenhouse gas emission reductions.
- Massport and MassDOT should continue to develop a plan to reduce aviation emissions, including consideration of alternative fuels and reduced availability of certain short hop flights where rail exists as an alternative.
- EEA and MassDOT should, pursuant to various climate laws, promulgate or amend regulations applicable to: a clean heat standard, large entity reporting requirements for owners of certain medium- and heavy-duty vehicle fleets, MOR-EV Rebates, Fossil Fuel Free demonstration projects, Municipal Light Plant Green Communities, large building (>20,000 sq. ft.) energy use performance, and eliminating new biomass generation facilities from qualifying under the Renewable Portfolio Standard.
- Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority (MBTA) should develop a Climate Program Management Office.
- Expedite and prioritize efforts to resolve interconnection delays.
- Economic Development
- Develop and implement a comprehensive clean energy and climate economic development plan.
- Public Health & Resilience
- Develop a Comprehensive Coastal Resilience Plan.
- Prioritize investment in energy system resilience.
- Establish and implement a Commonwealth biodiversity goal.
- Workforce Development
- Develop and implement a comprehensive, cross-agency plan for clean energy and climate resilience workforce development.
- Develop and launch a Climate Service Corps.
- State Capital Investments
- Formalize protocol for accounting for climate in the Capital Investment Planning (CIP) process to ensure ensure that all state capital projects are aligned with climate goals.
- Center Environmental Justice in Climate Policy and Program Implementation.
- Complete development of Strategic Plan for state building decarbonization by March 1, 2024, and begin implementation in 2024.
- Develop and implement statewide plan for electrifying state-owned vehicle and equipment fleet and consider a single entity or centralized body to coordinate installation of charging infrastructure.
- Update procurement practices to require disclosure of emissions and climate risk.
- Identify a dedicated source of funding for MassCEC commensurate with the scale of the challenge and opportunity presented by climate change.
- Support K-12 climate education curriculum.
We’ll report back with additional posts exploring some of these substantive topic areas in more detail.