After we’ve all had a chance to settle in after the holiday weekend, … will our overwhelmingly re-elected Governor or Speaker of the House hold forth on the new National Climate Assessment, the consensus view of thirteen federal agencies? The news is not good for the northeast (defined as West Virginia to Maine), as the Globe outlines:
- Urban areas are at risk for large numbers of evacuated and displaced populations and damaged infrastructure due to both extreme precipitation events and recurrent flooding, potentially requiring significant emergency response efforts and consideration of a long-term commitment to rebuilding and adaptation, and/or support for relocation where needed.
- High-tide flooding has increased by a factor of 10 or more over the last 50 years for many cities in the Northeast region and will become increasingly synonymous with regular inundation, exceeding 30 days per year for an estimated 20 cities by 2050 even under a very low scenario.
Etc, etc. There’s more, and none of it good.
And since our President* has decided that he “doesn’t believe it”; and is hell-bent on sending us head-long into disaster … the onus is on the states. Us. Here. Now. Baker, DeLeo and Spilka. As I’ve noted, we’re no longer the leaders in renewable energy ambition anymore, and I’m baffled at how our Governor intends to decarbonize the transportation sector without a major buildout of public transit; in other words, “making the thing work” won’t cut it.
So I echo 350Mass’s Craig Altemose’s call for a Green New Deal — right here in MA. We can absolutely maintain a decent, if different, quality of life and provide equity for people who are displaced and disadvantaged under the current trends:
Many are now starting to frame such an aggressive, holistic response as a Green New Deal, with an emphasis on heavy government intervention on clean energy and jobs creation to advance critical social needs. Key components include a guaranteed good-paying job for anyone willing to work as part of the transition off of fossil fuels, and a particular focus on ensuring that fossil fuel workers, workin- class communities, and communities of color equitably share the benefits of this transition, all with an eye toward prompt and ambitious action on the timeline—years, not decades—that counts.
As tough as this path may seem, the choice is truly an easy one. Will we take the necessary steps to repower and rework our economy, or will we continue on a path of gradual, inadequate actions and watch as California burns, oceans rise, storms strike, and crops fail?
It’s time for Massachusetts to accelerate our efforts to build a better future that works for all of us and take the lead in a proportionate response to the climate crisis.