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Governor Baker talks Mass. climate efforts at start of New York City Climate Week

Governor Charlie Baker.Pat Greenhouse/Globe Staff

Governor Charlie Baker is visiting New York City to discuss Massachusetts’ efforts to take on the climate crisis and achieve net-zero emissions.

On Monday, he spoke on a panel at the Clinton Global Initiative’s 2022 meeting, an event held by the Clinton Foundation that is convening politics, business, and philanthropic leaders.

The event falls at the start of the 14th annual New York City Climate Week, an annual week of climate-focused events which coincides with the United Nations General Assembly, the largest annual gathering of world leaders.

Baker spoke on a live-streamed panel alongside Nili Gilbert, the vice chairwoman of Carbon Direct, a carbon management firm; and Frans Timmermans, the executive vice-president of the of the European Commission, the executive of the European Union.

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He discussed a new climate law he signed last month, as well as the state’s earlier efforts to prioritize growing the offshore wind industry, such as a 2016 law aimed at boost renewable energy.

“The legislation we signed in 2016, which was the first shot at going really big on deepwater offshore wind in the East Coast of the United States, translated into the equivalent of a gold rush,” he said. “The price point we got on it really did shock the world”

He said the state has taken steps to make sure offshore wind jobs go to individuals who perhaps missed out on earlier opportunities.

“The game there is basically, you have to do a better job of making sure that those jobs go to people who haven’t historically had a chance to play,” he said.

And he said he’s “pretty sure” Massachusetts is the only U.S. state which has seriously engaged in climate vulnerability planning in all communities, especially environmental justice communities which are most impacted by climate issues, adding that decarbonization versus resiliency is not an “either/or” question.

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“I know resiliency isn’t the sexiest part of this whole drill,” he said. “But if your community floods out every time it rains ... you have serious negative consequences to those communities that we should be addressing along the way.”

The panel was part of a session focused on climate pledges and the obstacles to realizing them, which also included representatives from multinational consumer goods company Unilever, logistics giant Agility, environmental nonprofit Conservation International, Brazilian financial company BTG Pactual, automotive manufacturing company General Motors, and the federal Securities and Exchange Commission.

This is a developing story.


Dharna Noor can be reached at dharna.noor@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @dharnanoor. Sabrina Shankman can be reached at sabrina.shankman@globe.com. Follow her @shankman.