Constant beach damage is our own version of ‘Groundhog Day’
Re “Hit the beach? It’s already been done” (Page A1, May 23): Are we entering our own Massachusetts version of “Groundhog Day”? Given our current and future climate changes, how much are the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and coastal towns going to spend fixing winter storm damage and potential hurricane damage to continually rebuild beach and coastlines? Our roads are full of potholes, our bridges are falling down, our school buildings are crumbling, just to name a few of the state’s infrastructure needs. Before we spend another dollar repairing beaches, tidal areas, docks, piers, and other coastal projects to be washed away again and again, let’s come up with long-term solutions, even if it means abandoning the current coast and moving inland.
Half measures against climate change are like so many grains of sand
Re “Hit the beach? It’s already been done”: The onslaught of stories about climate change in one form or another reported in the Globe over the past year has been almost as relentless and voluminous as the events driving them. This trend of climate events is accelerating and will not abate as much as we might wishfully think. The relatively benign ebb and flow cycles of nature that we have been used to are on a forced upward spiral. The changes will only yield when we cease polluting the atmosphere of our only home with the CO2 wastes of our activities.
Last month the average parts per million of atmospheric CO2 concentration passed 410 for the first time in many millions of years. As Mary Robinson editorialized earlier last week (“How Massachusetts can blaze a trail for climate action,” Opinion, May 22), we have an opportunity to lead in ending this reckless pursuit of life-threatening danger. We must start with a fee on carbon emissions and then devote our scarce resources toward mitigating what will be the ruinous effects of a rapidly warming planet. There is no time to lose and certainly nothing to be gained with useless measures such as replenishing beaches with dredged sand.
Clean energy is an engine for economic growth — let’s rev it
Thinking out of the box when it comes to climate resiliency and transitioning to a clean energy economy is imperative. Massachusetts already does this well. Mary Robinson (“How Massachusetts can blaze a trail for climate action”) gives well-deserved praise to the success of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative reducing emissions, but we would be remiss not to mention that this compact generated $4 billion in economic activity to the region since 2009.
Policy makers have a wealth of options for investing in measures that will curb carbon emissions, mitigating the effects of a warming planet and creating economic growth. The Renewable Portfolio Standard is one proven tool, allowing the state to reduce reliance on fossil fuels, lower emissions, and diversify the energy portfolio. Reports show that increasing the standard this legislative session could produce an additional 37,000 jobs and reduce energy costs in the region by up to $2.1 billion.
Massachusetts pushed the envelope with the 2009 initiative, but we cannot rest on those laurels. It’s time to do it again with the Renewable Portfolio Standard and further commit the Commonwealth to a strategy of reducing greenhouse gas emissions while creating economic growth.