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MA Climate Chief Releases Key Climate Change Recommendations

November 9, 2023


As most of our country continued to experience devastating weather-related events this year, the Commonwealth’s first Climate Chief, Melissa Hoffer, was hard at work preparing her initial recommendations to combat climate change. On October 25, Chief Hoffer released an 87-page Report containing her recommendations to address the climate change crisis in the Commonwealth. Her work followed several months of evaluating the organization, staffing, and policy-making practices of the executive branch of the Commonwealth with a goal of “developing a comprehensive, unified, whole of government approach to advancing executive department climate policy and achieving the Commonwealth’s Net Zero and related emissions reduction mandates.”

How Massachusetts can do its part to “play a leading role in climate policy and implementation, spurring innovation in technology, climate finance, and resilience” is the focus of the Report.  The Report also details the achievements of the Healey Administration to date and the critical barriers to overcome in making significant progress toward the Net Zero 2050 goal. Much of the Report describes market factors relating to climate change innovation and the substantial state and federal funding and financial incentives available to address these issues.

In all, the Report contains 39 specific recommendations with a detailed discussion of the potential impact of achieving each of them. The items include wide-ranging topics such as preparing an economic analysis of the investment needed to achieve the required greenhouse gas emissions; strengthening environmental reviews of development projects that require forest clearing; ensuring that new housing and school buildings maximize opportunities for fossil fuel-free energy systems; supporting climate education in schools; and publishing an annual report card on the Commonwealth’s progress. The Report concludes with a listing and status tracker of over two dozen federal funding programs in climate change that the state has or will apply for this year.

We applaud the Climate Chief’s efforts in issuing this comprehensive and thought-provoking Report and her commitment to lead the Commonwealth’s coordinated response to the climate change crisis.  The Report is recommended reading for all of us who care about these issues and are interested in learning in some detail about approaches to possible solutions. Chief Hoffer, appointed in January 2023, is the nation’s first cabinet-level climate administrator. Given the scope and breadth of the climate change crisis, we hope other states will follow suit and elevate climate policy to the highest reaches of state government, which is exactly where it belongs.

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