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Downing: Senate Passes Climate Change Adaptation Management Plan
January 28, 2016

BOSTONToday, the Massachusetts State Senate passed S.2092, a bill to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and develop a long-term, comprehensive adaptation management action plan to address the consequences of climate change in the Commonwealth.

Sponsored by Senate President Pro Tempore Marc R. Pacheco (D-Taunton), chairman of the Senate Committee on Global Warming and Climate Change, the bill sets in place an emissions limit for 2030 between 35 and 45 percent below the 1990 emissions level and an emissions limit for 2040 between 55 and 65 percent below the 1990 emissions level.

These interim requirements would be accompanied by plans to achieve these limits, maximizing the ability of the Commonwealth to meet the 2050 statewide greenhouse gas emissions limits already in place through the Global Warming Solutions Act.

“Establishing these interim benchmarks will ensure that progress is being made each year to reach the Commonwealth’s goal of an 80% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050,” said Senator Benjamin B. Downing (D-Pittsfield). “This bipartisan measure holds future generations of policymakers accountable to the nation-leading standards set in the Global Warming Solutions Act”.

The Senate also passed a comprehensive climate change adaptation management plan for the Commonwealth, previously passed in July, but removed from legislative action by the House of Representatives.

Under this legislation, a comprehensive adaptation management action plan would be established through a collaboration led by the Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs and the Secretary of Public Safety and Security. The plan would codify for the current, and all future administrations the goals, priorities and principles for resiliency, preservation, protection, restoration and enhancement of the Commonwealth’s built and natural infrastructure, based on data around existing and projected climate change impacts including temperature changes, drought, inland flooding and sea level rise.

Through the legislation, a comprehensive adaptation management action plan advisory committee would be established to produce a report that documents the preparedness and vulnerabilities in the Commonwealth’s emergency response, energy, transportation, communications, health and other systems. The group would also put forth a proposal that establishes and commits to sound management practices while compiling data on existing and projected sea-level rise using the best available science.

The legislation also establishes a regional, comprehensive climate change adaptation management plan grant program to aid in the development of regional adaptation plans. The bill also creates a coastal buy-back program authorizing the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs to acquire, by voluntary purchase, property abutting areas subject to tides or barrier beaches or located in velocity zones of flood plain areas that contain structures repeatedly damaged by severe weather. The plan would go into effect in 2018, with an update every 10 years.

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