As we approached the holidays this time last year, many celebrations were cut short through the lasting destruction inflicted by Hurricane Sandy. Hurricane Sandy hit the east coast at the end of October, razing the northeast from New Hampshire to New York, striking New York City especially hard. While we felt Sandy in Massachusetts, it could have been much worse for the Commonwealth. Had Hurricane Sandy hit four hours later and at high tide, the shocking images of a city without power, submerged in water, and facing a rising death toll could have been right here in Boston.
Having spent part of my career managing the aftermath of disasters, from deploying the National Guard to snow emergencies to the BP oil spill, I know that we must always minimize risk as well as mitigate against harms that may arise in the future. The debate of the science behind climate change needs to end. We need to start to embrace solutions that can engage all our citizens, protect our communities, promote jobs, and expand economic opportunities. While the Patrick Administration has picked up this battle and made tremendous progress, the political dysfunction in Washington leaves these advancements at risk. It is imperative to take action and address the challenge of climate change before it’s too late.
As Undersecretary for Homeland Security under Governor Deval Patrick, I supervised the response of state agencies to natural disasters, and personally saw the aftermath of communities devastated by severe climate conditions. Knowing how catastrophic these effects can be, I plan to continue the Patrick administration’s fight for Massachusetts’ goal of 25% reduction in carbon emissions by 2020, and 80% reduction by 2050. However, while the effects of climate change create a serious threat to the Commonwealth, they also provide us with an opportunity to invest in the economy.
Massachusetts needs a leader who understands the necessity to tackle climate change, while also taking advantage of the opportunity to invest in the clean tech industry. I’ve written a plan that centers on the creation of Green Banks (also known as energy banks), which through credit enhancement, risk reduction, and new financing programs can increase private investment into the clean tech industry. This industry has seen a continued increase in employment, adding 8,000 jobs between 2012-2013 and projected to continue to grow. This growth can only continue if we motivate investment from the private sector.
The challenges and opportunity of climate change is one that I’m prepared to take on as Governor of Massachusetts. I believe that if we incentivize private investment in a clean energy infrastructure through Green Banks, increase conservation, preserve natural resources, and develop and disseminate more and better data, we will be environmentally and economically stronger than ever before.
Link to the Kayyem Plan: “Opportunity of Climate Change“