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Statewide policy needed, not patchwork at local level

on JAN. 3, The Boston Globe ran two pieces that highlight the Boston metro area’s vulnerability to flooding risks due to climate change. First, Professor Stephen Gray’s op-ed questioned whether Boston’s vision for development and plans for managing climate change are at odds with each other (“Is ‘Imagine Boston 2030’ climate ready?,” Opinion). Second, Stephanie Ebbert described a lawsuit against ExxonMobil in which Chelsea residents are alleging the oil company is neglecting to protect their community from the effects of climate change (“Thinking globally, suing locally,” Metro).

These concerns call for a state-level approach to public policy instead of a patchwork of inconsistent local approaches. While we applaud Governor Baker’s Climate Change Strategy Executive Order as a good first step, more is required. Piggybacking on the Governor’s leadership, we urge the legislature to adopt the Comprehensive Adaptation Management Plan, previously passed by the Massachusetts Senate four times, which would take the next steps to make all of the Commonwealth ready, resilient, and adaptable to the impacts of climate change. It’s time for the House of Representatives to ensure Massachusetts’ national leadership on climate change.

Jack Clarke
Mass Audubon
Steve Long
The Nature Conservancy
The writers are cochairs of the Massachusetts Climate Change Adaptation Coalition.