In January 2023, one of Governor Healey’s first actions in office was issuing Executive Order 604, which created the Office Of Climate Innovation and Resilience within the Healey-Driscoll Administration and established the cabinet-level position of “Climate Chief.” E.O. 604 also required the newly appointed climate chief to present the Governor with an initial review and recommendations within 180 days of her appointment for “modifications and improvements to better align executive department decision-making and action on climate matters.” 

The report, released in October 2023, contained 39 specific recommendations aimed at developing a comprehensive, unified, whole-of-government approach to advancing climate policy within the Administration. You can read the full report here and find a full list of the recommendations by category below. 

To make sure the Administration acts on these commitments and we continue to progress toward the Commonwealth’s broader clean energy and climate targets, we will be monitoring progress on all recommendations from the report and detailing actions taken to meet those goals. 

Filter:
Recommendations
State Agency

In light of this recommendation, on September 21, 2023, the Governor issued Executive Order 619, Eliminating the Purchase by the Executive Department of Single-Use Plastic Bottles, 128 which bars all executive department offices and agencies from purchasing single-use plastic bottles in favor of less harmful alternatives.

The Global Warming Solutions Act required EEA to prepare a CECP for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and update it every five years.148 As part of that planning process, Massachusetts collects data on key climate indicators and has established benchmarks for achieving the greenhouse gas emissions reductions associated with these indicators. For example, the CECP models 100,000 residential homes installing new heat pump systems from 2020 to 2025 to meet the 2025 building sector target. Beginning in fall 2023, Massachusetts will publish an annual Climate Report Card, developed by EEA, MassDOT, EOHLC, and EOED, in consultation with the Climate Office, to inform Massachusetts residents of the progress the executive offices are collectively making to achieve CECP mandates. Convened by Climate Office, these agencies will develop by November 1, 2023, a detailed design for the Report Card including metrics, data sets, format of presentation, and public-facing internet host. The Report Card will be published by December 1, 2023.

The Commonwealth needs long-term planning that is clear-eyed about the total coastal resilience investment needed and the mechanisms to fund that investment. Assessing costs and putting a long-term plan in place to fund coastal resilience should be among the first and top priorities of the Resilient Coasts initiative. As well, while cities, towns, and individual property owners must be the ultimate arbiters of when managed retreat should be pursued, the Commonwealth can and should think about long-term fiscal, equity, and other impacts of continued state taxpayer support and/or subsidy for climate disaster response and redevelopment in high-risk areas subject to sea level rise, storm surge, and extreme storm damage—particularly high value, privately owned development that occurred after the likely impacts of climate change on Massachusetts coastal
development were well known. Development impact fees and similar mechanisms should be considered for proposed new construction in any such locations to ensure the burden of climate risk is shouldered by developers, banks, and owners, and not the taxpayers.

To the greatest extent possible, coastal resilience should focus on nature-based solutions that enhance and restore the capacity of existing natural coastal resources that already protect our coastal communities from flooding, storm surge, and erosion, such as salt marshes, barrier beaches, and dunes, or on human-made technology that biomimics the functions of such features. To that end, it is vital that the permitting process for such nature- based solutions be less burdensome, and that EEA, DEP, DFG, and CZM, coordinating with federal agencies as necessary, by the end of 2023, identify a path to expedite state approvals for urgently needed actions to stem the loss of our existing coastal salt marshes.

Agencies have already refocused their CIP process in response to A&F’s and the Climate Office’s emphasis on climate during the 2023 CIP process. For example, EEA is more concertedly identifying whether individual line items advance climate mitigation and/or adaptation goals. This effort allows EEA not only to articulate how much budget goes toward these initiatives, but also to identify ways that non-climate-related EEA programs may better overlay this priority. A&F has worked closely with the Governor’s Office and Secretariat agencies to appropriately prioritize climate and environmental justice considerations in the capital and operating budget development process. The Commonwealth should now formalize a CIP protocol for evaluating proposed capital projects in terms of CECP and climate resilience mandates and goals.

Climate Office and A&F will lead a working group of technical experts to develop a standard, user-friendly “mitigation tool” or set of metrics to evaluate all proposed capital projects in terms of climate mandates. The mitigation tool developed by the working group will be used in assessing and prioritizing proposed capital projects. The working group will consist of EEA, including DOER’s Leading By Example LBE program, EOED, EOHLC, and other relevant agencies as appropriate, and will report on its preliminary design of the tool by January 15, 2024, setting forth
a plan to integrate the tool in the FY2025 CIP process. The mitigation tool will allow A&F to evaluate proposed CIPs in terms of reduced greenhouse gas emissions. The standard will be built to correlate with the modeled projections of the necessary rates of emissions reductions in relevant sectors (e.g., buildings, transportation) through 2050.

MassCEC’s Clean Energy Internship Program and its Empower program, which supports community-based organizations serving EJ communities, provide a solid network of initial stakeholders, and there is strong interest among community colleges. The Climate Service Corps will provide longer-duration opportunities for a broad range of young adults, including those who are not currently engaged in post-secondary education, by introducing them to career paths, to potential training or educational opportunities, and to prospective employers. The Corps will include pre-apprenticeship opportunities for climate-critical trades.

As well, on September 20, 2023, the Biden-Harris Administration launched an analogous American Climate Corps to train young people in clean energy, conservation, and climate resilience skills. Climate Office will convene MassCEC, EEA EJ Office, and other stakeholders, in consultation with EOLWD and EOE, to develop preliminary recommendations for the Climate Service Corps by January 15, 2024.

EO 594 also establishes goals for transitioning the state-owned and -operated vehicle fleet to zero emissions vehicles, with specific goals for 2025, 2030, 2040, and 2050.116 Despite these targets, the Commonwealth is facing significant challenges in its efforts to electrify its vehicle fleet.

There are varying reasons for the challenges in electrifying the fleet, including the lack of sufficient charging infrastructure at state-owned facilities and of well-resourced operations and maintenance plans for the charging infrastructure. A reliable network of fleet charging is crucial when transitioning fuel types and limiting employee downtime at public charging stations. To ensure the Commonwealth complies with EO 594 and truly leads by example, Climate Office will convene a working group consisting of the Operational Service Division (OSD), the LBE program, DCAMM, MassDOT, EEA, and the Executive office of Public Safety and Security (EOPSS) to develop preliminary recommendations by February 1, 2024, for the Climate Office outlining a process for electrifying the state-owned vehicle and equipment fleet and the effective deployment of EV charging stations for state fleet vehicles, including a draft strategy for ongoing maintenance
and operation of these stations.

To ensure the availability of reliable fleet charging, the working group should offer preliminary recommendations concerning the creation or designation of a single entity or other centralized body with the authority, information, funding, and coordinating function necessary to direct electric vehicle supply equipment installations, coordinate ongoing operation and maintenance, coordinate with utilities, and implement the working group’s plan. These discussions should be coordinated with the Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Coordinating Council led by EEA.

On March 8, 2023, Massachusetts became a signatory to the federal Buy Clean Initiative launched pursuant to federal Executive Order No. 14057, the Executive Order on Catalyzing Clean Energy
Industries and Jobs Through Federal Sustainability. The Buy Clean Initiative is a whole-of government approach to reducing emissions economy-wide through innovation and environmental stewardship. The initiative aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, safeguard government investments against the effects of climate change, and expand technologies, industries, and jobs. DCAMM, MassDOT, MassCEC, and LBE, in consultation with the Climate Office, should lead the Buy Clean Initiative to prioritize the Commonwealth’s purchase and use of lower embodied carbon, made-in-America construction materials, such as concrete and steel. DCAMM, MassDOT, MassCEC, and LBE, in consultation with other relevant agencies, should provide specific recommendations to Climate Office for implementation of the Buy Clean Initiative by February 1, 2024.

The Division of Capital Asset Management and Maintenance (DCAMM) is in the process of developing “roadmaps” for each campus-style location and for each stand alone facility over 100,000 square feet. As of August 2023, seven roadmaps are complete, two are in a draft-final form, and eight more are in the process of being drafted. These roadmaps set forth the steps for decarbonizing the subject campus or facility, including associated cost, through 2050.

By March 1, 2024, DCAMM should complete development of a strategic plan for state building decarbonization. The strategic plan will survey the DCAMM portfolio, identifying the timeline and estimated costs for completing the roadmaps currently under development, and identifying the need and cost to complete future roadmaps. The strategic plan should also describe the methodologies and approaches that should be employed in the development of roadmaps. The roadmaps will estimate the cost and timeline for facility decarbonization and consider resilience
improvements. The aggregate costs reflected in the roadmaps and strategic plan will inform the CIP with a specific pipeline of decarbonization and resilience implementation projects.

In the first quarter of 2024, Climate Office will convene interested private sector stakeholders to establish a Corporate Climate Challenge that will promote voluntary commitments to reduce Scope 1, 2, and 3 emissions, help grow the clean energy and climate workforce, spur action in resilience, educate and engage their staffs in volunteer opportunities, and lift up innovative action. Climate Office will develop a roster of private sector stakeholders in consultation with EOED, EEA, MassCEC, and other state entities.

Housing plays a key role in meeting the Commonwealth’s greenhouse gas emissions reduction mandates, with buildings contributing 37 percent of the Commonwealth’s GHG emissions in 2018 and 35 percent in 2020.175 The Commonwealth deploys significant state resources to increase the production of much-needed market-rate and affordable housing. EOHLC and the quasi-public agencies that provide state financial assistance for new housing production should ensure that new housing production is consistent with CECP mandates for building, natural and working lands, and transportation sector emissions reductions. EOHLC should identify additional resources to cover any marginal increased cost of building more fossil-fuel-free housing in harmony with its core mission of promoting housing production and improving access to affordable housing. EOHLC and EOHHS should document the health co-benefits of, for example, heat pump installation and building insulation and seek funding for these measures through state programs that subsidize healthcare, as has been done in other jurisdictions.

Consistent with these recommendations, on October 18, Governor Healey filed the largest housing bond bill in state history which will spur housing production and preservation in a manner consistent with the state’s emission reduction mandates. Specifically, the bill seeks $150 million to decarbonize public housing units, and will prioritize, for purposes of LIHTC allocation decisions, new housing construction projects that conform to the state’s specialized energy code and retrofits that include energy efficiency measures, electrification, and decarbonization.

The world is undergoing a dramatic shift in how energy is produced, stored, and used, and that is occurring at the same time we are rapidly adapting to the disruptive impacts of climate change, which demands additional labor and expertise.

The Commonwealth should develop, by May 2024, a comprehensive, cross-agency plan to build the clean energy, climate, and resilience workforce that includes measurable targets and goals. The plan should be developed by MassCEC and the Workforce Skills Cabinet, with input from EEA, MassDOT, EOHHS, EOVS, and EOPSS. The plan should be reviewed and approved by Climate Office and the Director of Federal Funding and Infrastructure.

A comprehensive, cross-agency plan should:
• Identify clear, actionable goals, metrics, responsibilities, and timelines for implementation, including quarterly progress reports to the Governor.
• Consider the feasibility of using a project management tool to ensure communication, clarity of goals and objectives, direct involvement of agency leadership, early intervention to course correct as necessary, and accountability.
• Reflect engagement with relevant stakeholders, including, in part, through the Climate Office via its Climate Pollution Reduction Grant convening, and through MassCEC in collaboration with the Workforce Skills Cabinet.
• Establish a centralized hub to coordinate and expand clean energy and climate workforce pathways, building on MassCEC’s existing program.
• Integrate efforts by EOVS and DOC to expand workforce development opportunities for veterans and persons transitioning from incarceration.

The Commonwealth currently lacks a comprehensive, coordinated plan for achieving that goal. EOED is currently leading a statewide economic development planning process that is in part focused on establishing and growing Massachusetts climate tech companies. The planning process has engaged leading companies and investors in the climate tech sector, and EOED is coordinating and collaborating closely with the Climate Chief, the Secretary of EEA, and the leadership of MassCEC to develop specific policy recommendations to foster climate tech innovation in Massachusetts.

The recommendations in the economic development plan should build upon and propose strategic expansion of the existing programs and investments that foster climate tech innovation in Massachusetts. MassCEC, in consultation with EOED, should develop a comprehensive strategy and investment plan that is well coordinated with academic institutions, private sector, municipalities, and existing climate tech incubators. That plan should have a clear vision, goals, metrics, and timelines. Additional capital authorizations required to fund this plan should be included in any bill filed to implement the statewide economic development plan. MassCEC and EOED should complete this work by spring of 2024, and include a strategy to implement the Governor’s vision for a Commonwealth Climate Corridor.

Massachusetts municipal grant-making and incentives should be consistent with the CECP emissions reduction, carbon sequestration, and resilience mandates. Grant-making and other incentives should be used as a tool to drive and amplify the decarbonization and resilience efforts underway. Such use of grant-making will offer more comprehensive assistance to municipalities to transition to clean energy, build resilience, and secure federal climate funding. Among the many ways in which Massachusetts incentivizes municipalities are the following:

• DOER’s Green Communities Division has awarded over $160 million in grants to
Massachusetts municipalities since 2010, funding energy efficiency and electrification projects at municipal facilities and fleets. The Division intends to launch a higher tier of Green Communities, called “Climate Leaders” that will focus specifically on decarbonization projects and include community engagements.
• EEA’s MVP Program has provided $100M in grant funding to municipalities for resilience planning and implementation since the program was launched in 2017. Three hundred forty-nine municipalities are engaged in the program, and MVP 2.0 was launched in spring 2023 to support communities in centering environmental justice and community engagement and move from planning toward action.
• CZM’s Coastal Resilience grant program provides financial and technical assistance to Massachusetts coastal communities and nonprofits to advance a broad range of coastal resilience and climate adaptation efforts, including vulnerability assessments, public outreach, proactive planning, infrastructure retrofits, and shoreline restoration techniques.
Since the grant program launched in 2014, over $37 million in grant funding has supported over two hundred resilience projects to reduce the impacts of flooding, erosion, and sea level rise.
• Through the Massachusetts Housing Choice Initiative and the new multifamily zoning requirements for MBTA Communities, the Commonwealth is working with local governments to promote housing near transit to maximize the benefits of public transit,
including climate benefits.
• DPH provides Center for Disease Control and Prevention Public Health Emergency
Preparedness funds to local boards of health to, among other goals, increase capacity to build community resilience, use data appropriately for emergency and climate change planning, and respond to health impacts.

The Massachusetts Climate Change Assessment, SHMCAP, and other analyses identify a number of vital resilience needs and recommend actions. To ensure these measures are funded and implemented on an expedited and cost-effective basis, however, greater coordination and accountability is vital. The Commonwealth should prioritize resilience needs, develop metrics for measuring progress toward meeting those needs, estimate the total cost of resilience measures, and identify funding to support agencies, municipalities, regions, Tribes, and NGOs in planning and implementing actions to prepare for: extreme heat events; storms, flooding, and other climate driven weather extremes; sea level rise; wildfires; migration to the Northeast from other regions in the U.S. and other countries; food and water security; and, public health, including mental health, impacts.

A&F should, in conjunction with other agencies and Climate Office, provide recommendations for
resilience funding strategies. These recommendations should evaluate existing and new mechanisms for funding adaptation and resilience in the Commonwealth, including, but not limited to, federal funding, public-private partnerships, the Massachusetts Community Climate Bank, and market-based policies. Preliminary recommendations should be provided by December 2024.

The Commonwealth currently lacks a comprehensive plan for financing the investment needed to
achieve the greenhouse gas emissions reductions required by the CECP, including its 2050 Net Zero mandate. By December 2024, A&F and Climate Office, with input from MassDOT/MBTA,
EEA, EOHLC, MassHousing, and MassCEC, should conduct an economic analysis of the investment needed to achieve our CECP mandates, including Net Zero by 2050, and develop a funding strategy. The Climate Office, in consultation with EEA, is presently developing a Priority Climate Action Plan as a deliverable under EPA’s Climate Pollution Reduction Grant (CPRG) that could directly support this effort.

The analysis developed by A&F and Climate Office should estimate costs of priority measures to ensure they can be resourced with appropriate lead time. As subsequent CECPs are developed, such cost analyses should become common practice. Policy development should be conducted independently and precede cost analyses, based on the Commonwealth’s decarbonization needs.

As part of the development of a funding strategy, EEA and other agencies as applicable should analyze feasible policies that both reduce emissions and generate additional revenue streams to invest in further decarbonization. Options may include market-based mechanisms to internalize the cost of carbon. These policy options should be evaluated on a continuing basis by agency leadership in collaboration with the Climate Office and A&F and all feasible options should be pursued.

Mass Save goals are not aligned with state building decarbonization goals, and the
program administrators are not directly subject to those goals. Mass Save’s planning and operations horizon is short term—three-year plans and an orientation to single energy assessments that do not reflect long term decarbonization planning. Mass Save is structured primarily to support cost savings from energy efficiency and not to achieve building decarbonization/electrification; as a result, Mass Save continues to support fossil-fuel heating systems and typically does not support deep enough retrofits or related technologies (such as solar EV chargers, storage). As well, there are inefficiencies in the collaborative decision making,
staffing, and leadership structure.

As part of its effort to consider options for the future of Mass Save and stand up a Building Decarbonization Clearinghouse, EEA is procuring a consultant with knowledge of regional and national energy efficiency and decarbonization program design to assist in development of a set of
short, medium, and long-term program design recommendations for decarbonizing buildings with resources including but not limited to ratepayer funds. The Decarbonization Clearinghouse should be structured to ensure that funding, consumer information, and technical assistance are coordinated to lower barriers that customers face in making energy improvements.

As the Commonwealth accelerates building electrification, DPU should prioritize any rate reform necessary to ensure that electric bills will be affordable for all households, particularly those with low and moderate incomes.

DEP, in coordination with EEA, DOER’s Leading by Example team, EOHHS, DCAMM, and other agencies as necessary, should lead an effort to coordinate with businesses and institutions to implement a plan in 2024 to ensure all hospitals, colleges, universities, schools, supermarkets, prisons, Commonwealth owned properties, and others generating more than half a ton of commercial organic waste per week divert that waste from disposal and ensure its availability for beneficial use in composting, biogas generation, and reuse as appropriate. This effort should be complemented with an enhanced focus by DEP on enforcement of the organics ban.

In October 2014, MassDEP banned the disposal of commercial organic wastes by businesses and institutions that generate one ton or more of these materials per week. Effective November 1, 2022, the threshold was reduced to a half-ton or more weekly. As a result, businesses and institutions generating more than a half ton of commercial organic waste per week are banned from disposing of it. The ban is an important tool for reducing emissions of methane—a powerful greenhouse gas from landfills. Diverting food wastes from disposal to composting, conversion, recycling or reuse cuts waste management costs and reduces the volume of landfill waste, an important benefit as availability of landfills in our region has become more constrained.

The Commonwealth spent two billion dollars in FY 2022 on purchases of goods and services through OSD’s Statewide Contracts. By signaling greater attention to emissions reduction, the Commonwealth can drive more climate-responsible decision-making throughout the economy.
Recognizing the economic risks posed by climate change to supply-chains, infrastructure, investments, and businesses, the federal government has proposed a procurement rule that would require major federal contractors to disclose their greenhouse gas emissions and climate-related financial risk. This proposed rule leverages widely-adopted third party standards and systems that many federal contractors already use when disclosing their emissions and setting emissions reduction targets, including the Climate Disclosure Project (CDP) and the Science Based Target Initiative (SBTI).

Public procurement informed by climate goals will drive further emissions reductions and create markets for lower-carbon and fossil-fuel-free goods and services. Requiring disclosure should be the initial step with the goal, by 2026, of considering such information as a material factor in procurement decisions.

The CECP 2025/2030 calls for increasing permanent conservation of undeveloped land and water in Massachusetts to at least 30 percent, or 167,000 more acres, by 2030. In addition to natural and working land conservation, the CECP 2025/2030 calls for incentivizing at least 20 percent of privately owned forests and farms to adopt “climate smart management practices” by 2030.

“Climate smart management practices” refer to managing forest and farmland in a way that is more resilient to the anticipated impacts of climate change and, sequesters and stores as much carbon dioxide as possible while achieving habitat, food production, and other management goals. These goals will help realize a 25 percent increase from 1990 levels in net carbon sequestration from natural and working lands in 2030 (approximately 7.3 MMT CO2e sequestered annually). EEA’s “Forests as Climate Solutions” initiative will accelerate progress toward this goal by developing climate science-informed forestry practices, including expansion of existing reserves, for state lands that increase carbon storage and resilience to climate change.174 EEA has convened a committee of scientific experts and will solicit public input to guide development of climate oriented management guidelines, evaluating and building on the existing science-based practices currently in place. The initiative will create new incentives for private woodland owners and municipalities to conserve forests and optimize resilience and carbon storage when pursuing forest management objectives. EEA is on a fast track to develop expert recommendations, solicit public input, and finalize and implement new policy. EEA should ensure existing and expanded forest reserves are permanently protected.

EOE should work with DESE to support the broad-based adoption by public school districts of a K-12 curriculum addressing climate change. Too few school districts currently have a basic public-school curriculum to teach children about climate change—what it is, the causes and projected impacts, and what can be done to avoid more dangerous levels of warming. Numerous stakeholders, including students themselves, have called for such a curriculum to be offered.

A climate curriculum would align to the DESE’s frameworks, which are developed within DESE’s governance to set forth standards and provide model curriculum units for subject matter. Local school districts have the authority to select curriculum including textbooks and materials to reflect the standards set forth in the frameworks. EOE should work with DESE to ensure the frameworks include standards for climate instruction. EOE should further support districts in identifying and utilizing the highest quality curriculum materials related to climate change, promoting selection by districts of those materials best aligned with existing curriculum frameworks. EOE should similarly broaden its current support of high school climate curriculum to include teacher professional development, materials (books, lesson plans, training modules, digital tools), and instructional technology.

DPH’s Environmental Public Health Tracking (EPHT) is a public, online portal enabling all Massachusetts municipalities, local emergency planners, state agencies, community-based organizations, and other organizations conducting health impact analyses to collect and evaluate data on public health indicators, including the social and environmental factors that influence community health outcomes. Because DPH designated the impact of climate change on health as a public health priority in the Public Health Datawarehouse (PHD), climate change is now a public health indicator and can therefore be used in planning in a manner similar to other public health indicators, by pairing population demographic data including age, race, education, housing, and socio-economic status for any given municipality, with climate data including the number of days a given community is exposed to extreme heat conditions, flood risk from increased precipitation, and air quality concerns.

DPH should educate stakeholders and the public about the availability of this information and its
recommended uses to protect public health.

Massachusetts should protect biological diversity (biodiversity) with a goal of preserving an appropriate percentage of our land in keeping with the 30 percent by 2030 goal reflected in the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework to address biodiversity loss, restore ecosystems, and protect indigenous rights. Climate Office supports the early efforts of the Department of Fish and Game to assess an appropriate biodiversity goal for the Commonwealth. Climate change is driving biodiversity loss by altering terrestrial, marine, and freshwater ecosystems around the world leading to the loss of habitat, increased incidence of diseases, and mass mortality of animals and plants driving species extinction.

In line with this recommendation, on September 21, 2023, Governor Healey issued Executive Order No. 618, Biodiversity Conservation in Massachusetts.

EEA and MassCEC should develop incentives for municipalities, businesses, and institutions to invest in energy resilience, design solutions that help to cool building interiors, and tree plantings and green space to reduce urban heat island effect.

Communities need help designing energy resilience solutions that can support critical facilities in a cost-effective manner. Clean energy solutions such as solar PV and energy storage can anchor such resilient energy systems while helping the state meet its clean energy deployment goals. The Commonwealth should prioritize investment in MassCEC’s and DOER’s energy resilience programming to develop more energy resilient infrastructure and public and private critical facilities across the Commonwealth, improving our ability to manage and recover from widespread grid outages.

One barrier to the deployment of multi-user microgrids is the lack of clarity regarding the ownership of and access to certain electric grid assets during normal grid operations versus resilience events. Another barrier is the possible triggering of price regulation for a multi-building networked system. The DPU should take steps to clarify the regulatory treatment of such facilities, including identification of any necessary statutory changes.

Executive Order No. 604 provides in Section 4 that SCOs shall develop plans to advance the policies established under the Executive Order and by the Climate Office.241 The SCO for each Secretariat should develop a plan, with the review and approval of the Secretary and the Climate Office, to implement the recommendations in this report. Where recommendations involve multiple Secretariats, Climate Office will assist in coordinating as necessary, and SCOs should work together to prepare discrete implementation plans, e.g., for clean energy and climate resilience workforce development. These plans are meant to be useful and helpful to Secretariats in tracking progress and project management and can take the form of a Gantt chart or similar.

Dedicated expertise and staff capacity is needed to support agencies and municipalities in understanding, accessing, and utilizing best available statewide climate science for purposes of developing policy, planning, and projects. The new team within EEA’s Office of Climate Science should serve as a cross Secretariat resource and provide subject matter expertise on statewide climate data and models, and support consistent application across agencies, within and outside of EEA. For example, the Department of Fish and Game (DFG) currently maintains scientific data and knowledge regarding climate impacts on species and ecosystems and EEA should develop a formal process for ensuring such data are taken into account in decision making across the EEA agencies. As well, the EEA team should work closely with colleagues in EOHHS/DPH, who have and are developing data and expertise on climate and medical/health impacts. The EEA team should develop strong working relationships with academic institutions, federal agencies, and non-governmental organizations that have extensive climate science expertise.

Large-scale renewable energy projects seeking interconnection to the high-voltage transmission system face delays as well. There are more than 30,000 MW of clean wind, solar, and storage projects in the ISO New England interconnection queue. The Commonwealth, working with other New England states, ISO New England, and stakeholders, should advance solutions to ensure that resources that are ready to interconnect are not stalled by the ISO study queue process, incurring delays that magnify climate risk and increase costs. The Commonwealth is encouraged to see several key reforms in the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s (FERC) final rule on Improvements to Generator Interconnection Procedures and Agreements (Order 2023), issued July 28, 2023, intended to streamline the interconnection process and ensure resources are able to interconnect to the transmission system in a reliable, efficient, transparent, and timely manner.

EEA and DOER are working with state and regional partners to develop a multi-state invitation for innovative design concepts for issuance later this year for additional transmission infrastructure to position our region to compete in a subsequent round of U.S. Department of Energy (US DOE) funding. In addition, efforts are underway to establish a new regional, policy-focused transmission planning process as soon as next year that would allow the New England states to request that the Independent System Operator (ISO) New England issue a transmission procurement to integrate clean energy. DOER will further manage a solicitation for up to 3.6 GW—enough generation to supply 25 percent of the Commonwealth’s current electricity load—of offshore wind generation and related transmission and is charged with selecting winning proposals. DOER is additionally coordinating its transmission agenda with other states including through a shared transmission buildout in the waters off the New England coast.

Finally, EEA is also exploring with its state, regional and federal partners how to increase the amount of renewables/clean energy that can be imported into and exported out of New England by expanding interconnections with other regions (tie-lines) and developing infrastructure to integrate offshore wind.

On September 26, 2023, Governor Healey issued Executive Order No. 620, Establishing the Commission on Energy Infrastructure Siting and Permitting. The order recognizes that achievement of Net Zero greenhouse gas emissions with a minimum 85 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions as compared to 1990 levels in 2050 will require significant new renewable and clean energy generation, distribution, and transmission infrastructure to be constructed to ensure a strong and reliable electricity grid. The order establishes a commission to advise the Governor on accelerating the responsible deployment of clean energy infrastructure and to make recommendations with particular focus given to compliance with state climate laws, affordability, equity, and balancing the need for the infrastructure with its impact on the environment and climate.

Accelerated implementation of Commission recommendations should be a top priority of executive branch agencies.

A large-scale, multi-media public education campaign is urgently needed to help the public understand the nature of the climate emergency and the likely impacts to our region, as well as the climate and other co-benefits of the clean energy transition. Such a campaign should also clearly communicate incentives available to support consumers in making clean energy investments and
underscore the public health and cost savings benefits. EEA has budgeted funds to create a “Climate Campaign” in Fiscal Years (FY) 2023-2024. EEA, HHS, MassDOT/MBTA, MassHousing, EOHLC, and MassCEC should together engage a skilled marketing consultant to develop and launch the campaign, expanding on initial concepts developed by EEA.

Since its formation, the MSBA has been an advocate of “green” sustainable building design for all MSBA-funded public K-12 school buildings and has regularly adjusted its Green Program Policy since then to promote increasing levels of energy efficiency in school design in alignment with the CECP mandate to decarbonize buildings. In the last ten years, 95 percent of the MSBA-funded schools have exceeded MSBA’s base project requirements with one school achieving LEED “Platinum,” 27 schools achieving LEED “Gold,” and 47 schools achieving LEED “Silver.” As of June 2023, the MSBA has funded twenty all-electric schools and eighteen schools employing ground-source heat pumps. The MSBA should enhance its efforts to ensure all new public schools and major renovations are decarbonized. It should also take steps to address climate change vulnerabilities, including flooding and increased temperatures, within the building design and construction phase. This is an issue of great interest to stakeholders, including parents and municipalities. Building on the MSBA’s momentum to date, the Climate Office will engage with the Treasurer, the MSBA, and within the Office of the Governor to develop a plan to require all new Massachusetts public schools and major public-school renovations constructed with state funding to use electric power for building systems rather than fossil-fuels, and to incentivize net zero and resilient schools.

MassDOT has released a request for qualification (RFQ) to fully operationalize climate work into the structure of MassDOT; the RFQ will create a MassDOT wide PMO to monitor MassDOT’s progress on MassDOT’s climate responsibilities. The primary function of this PMO is to support MassDOT’s Divisional Staff.

Climate Office strongly recommends that the MBTA develop a corresponding Climate Program Management Office for the purpose of ensuring that MBTA’s projects and capital investments reflect the mandates of the CECP and advance climate resilience through integrating climate change data in project identification and design. EEA, MassDOT, and other relevant agencies will develop guidance for advancing climate resilience. The CECP mandates applicable to the MBTA include those associated with:

• Developing a 2050 statewide long-term transportation plan to increase the use of public transportation, reducing reliance on personal vehicles, investing in multimodal transportation infrastructure, and improving the safety and reliability of our transportation system.
• The MBTA achieving an exclusively zero-emission passenger bus fleet not later than December 31, 2040, including purchasing and leasing exclusively zero emission buses not later than December 31, 2030.
• The MBTA exploring the electrification of the commuter rail as described in the MBTA Rail Vision report.

Pursuant to the 2021 Climate Law, the EEA Secretary must establish programs to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and promulgate regulations regarding sources or categories of sources that emit greenhouse gases to achieve the greenhouse gas emissions limits and sublimits and implement the roadmap plans required by the Law. Since the Global Warming Solutions Act was passed in 2008, DOER and DEP have passed numerous regulations to limit greenhouse gas emissions. Consistent with the 2021 and 2022 climate laws, DOER and DEP are developing or amending regulations to achieve the required emissions reductions.

On an ongoing basis, EEA will evaluate progress in reducing greenhouse gas emissions as a result of these regulations and other programs and policies identified in the 2025/2030 and 2050 CECPs and determine if additional actions are needed.

Massport has an ambitious net zero plan with a goal of reaching net zero by 2031 for emissions within its direct control (Scope 1 and 2) and is working to influence Scope 3 emissions. As part of that plan, Massport is working with airlines, academic institutions and others to advance sustainable aviation fuels (SAF). Given the funding opportunities, sophistication and expertise of Massport, and the existing relationships it has with leading science and technology institutions, Massport should pursue opportunities to pilot such technology and serve as a national leader in early adoption of SAF.

The founding of the quasi-governmental agency, MassCEC, was an early and nation-leading investment. However, MassCEC has never received the support necessary to fulfill its true potential. Because Massachusetts, like most states, has much work to do in a very short period of time to reduce emissions to safer levels and make our communities and infrastructure more resilient, it is vital that MassCEC be funded at a level that is commensurate with the scale of catastrophic climate risk we face. Ideally, the Commonwealth would make an investment of $1 billion dollars, which would be in line with our investment in life sciences a decade or so ago. Alternatively, the Commonwealth should secure a dedicated funding stream for MassCEC that would generate at least $100 million annually for a period of not less than 10 years. A substantial investment would have the advantage of allowing MassCEC to better leverage private investment,
make longer horizon climate programming commitments, and better align with the Commonwealth’s long-term market/climate tech economic development efforts.

The MEPA Office should make regulatory changes to add a review threshold in MEPA regulations requiring projects engaging in a certain level of forest clearing to undergo environmental review,
as referenced in the CECP.120 In addition, the MEPA Office should also lower from 50 acres to 25 acres the level at which the requirement to include GHG analysis of land alteration is triggered. MEPA Office should utilize a trust to receive MEPA mitigation funds for tree clearing and other actions to be used as a source of funds to incentivize private landowners to maintain land in forest. The MEPA Office should also accelerate efforts to complete EJ guidance to establish a clear path to consider urban heat island and other health effects of destruction of urban tree canopy resulting in loss of cooling shade, air filtration, and stormwater management. Urban heat islands often occur in locations (in Massachusetts and elsewhere) that were historically subject to red-lining. The MEPA Office should prioritize this critical EJ and climate issue because of the significant public health implications. Finally, the MEPA Office should follow the Council on Environmental Quality’s (CEQ) recent NEPA Guidance and formally incorporate the Social Cost of Greenhouse Gases into environmental reviews.

EO 594 requires agencies to assess and implement strategies to mitigate, and ultimately eliminate, greenhouse gas emissions from onsite fossil fuels from state government operations when planning for and executing projects related to the design, construction, operations, and maintenance of state facilities, and the procurement of goods and services, including fleet vehicles.117 It further requires agencies to report applicable energy and fuel data to LBE, and to appoint LBE Coordinators to serve as liaisons to LBE and other agencies overseeing the implementation of EO 594. The goals and directives set forth by EO 594 are cross-cutting and require coordination across multiple departments and facilities within each agency.

Achieving the goals set forth in EO 594 requires the full commitment and participation of agencies in these and other efforts and will require key individuals in every agency, including CFOs, facility managers, procurement officers, and fleet managers, among others, to be given the time and
responsibility to work with LBE on decarbonization efforts. To date, agency staff have not consistently been provided the resources to implement successful, targeted onsite emissions reductions nor have they always been instructed that these efforts are a priority of the agency.

To ensure that agency participation is sufficient and meaningful, each Secretariat should direct its agencies to prioritize LBE efforts as part of their day-to-day operations and management of state assets.

The Commonwealth should continue to center EJ in climate policy and program implementation. Massachusetts’ successful transition to a clean energy economy requires the input and participation of all Commonwealth communities. To that end, it is important for Massachusetts to continue to
facilitate the adoption of necessary clean energy and efficient technologies by low- and moderate income residents and to continue to commit to stakeholder engagement practices that overcome
language and socio-economic barriers. To achieve widespread market deployment of technologies such as EVs and heat pumps, the Commonwealth should conduct outreach to people in rural areas,
Gateway Cities, immigrant communities, working class neighborhoods, indigenous populations, and communities of color. When making significant siting decisions, the Commonwealth should consider the ways in which EJ populations have historically been impacted. The Commonwealth should encourage the ownership of renewable resources by EJ populations and increase access to
these renewable energy resources in ways that align with the Commonwealth’s responsible land use goals.

The Administration’s climate and EJ goals are intimately related; the Commonwealth should accelerate its efforts to formalize procedures for considering EJ and cumulative impacts, including the following:
• The Massachusetts Environmental Policy Act (MEPA) Office should identify ways to
improve and strengthen environmental justice reviews during the MEPA process, including potential regulatory and policy changes, by the end of 2023.
• DEP should complete updating its Air Pollution Control regulations to require a
Cumulative Impact Analysis (CIA) for air permits by the end of 2023, while looking at other areas in which Cumulative Impact Analysis could be implemented.
• The EJ Office, in collaboration with the Interagency EJ Working Group, a cross-secretariat body, is developing a framework for tracking funding to EJ communities to ensure they are receiving at least 40 percent of the overall benefits of certain federal and state investment
in accordance with the federal Justice40 initiative. This framework will also incorporate public health outcomes as an EJ metric, including health-related climate impacts.
• The EJ Office, together with the Climate Office, should work together with agencies to develop and implement Community Benefit Plans to reduce and mitigate impacts and burdens on EJ populations.
• DCR is preparing to use its Asset Management Modernization Program to inventory, increase, and improve shade shelters and cooling structures prioritizing EJ communities that experience disproportionate exposure to extreme heat.

The insurance industry plays a critical role in the Commonwealth’s preparation for and response to climate change. For most property owners and renters, insurance is the primary tool to respond to the immediate impacts of climate-related disasters. Property and casualty insurance is required for most mortgaged real estate, making the cost and availability of insurance an important factor for commercial, industrial, and residential property owners. Moreover, the availability and cost of insurance can be a tool to communicate the risks of certain types of building construction, economic activities, and topographic locations in the face of climate change. Insurance companies
themselves are critically important to the Massachusetts economy and are subject to the regulation of the Commonwealth’s Division of Insurance (DOI).

The increased impacts of climate change have had significant impacts on the insurance sector in the United States. In addition to the risks that insurance will be less available, or premiums more costly, because insurance companies invest premiums and are themselves major institutional investors, the potential for multiple insurance company failures poses systemic risk to financial markets. The health of our insurance sector is therefore a key Commonwealth priority. In accordance with the insurance-specific recommendations of the Financial Stability Board’s Task Force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures (TCFD), insurance companies face three major types of risks: (1) physical risks from changing frequencies and intensities of weather related perils; (2) transition risks resulting from a reduction in insurable interest due to a decline in value, changing energy costs, or implementation of carbon regulation; and (3) liability risks that could
intensify due to a possible increase in litigation.

The Massachusetts DOI should review existing insurance market guidance across the states to determine whether additional guidance would be appropriate for the Massachusetts insurance market.