June 18, 2020

Wednesday Webinar Session 10: A New Era for State Climate Action

In Session 10 “A New Era for State Climate Action,” we were joined by Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Kathleen Theoharides. The Secretary reaffirmed the Agency’s commitment to its mission in our uncertain times. The Baker Administration is working to meet our net-zero emissions goal by 2050 in the most equitable, efficient manner while realizing the co-benefits of resiliency and supporting our communities. She also assured viewers that the Transportation and Climate Initiative, a regional cap and invest program, is moving forward despite delays due to COVID-19, stating “none of us feel that this changes the need or the urgency for TCI.”

As the state budget forecast continues to look uncertain, Secretary Theoharides said there is broad understanding from the Administration that our environmental agencies are critical. In some counties, the use of state parks and public spaces is up as much as 200% due to COVID-19 and social distancing guidelines. She also highlighted opportunities for Massachusetts as we recover from the pandemic. Being a first mover in offshore wind has allowed us to establish the industry and address barriers proactively, making it an exciting way to get Massachusetts residents back to work. As public health issues continue to collide with the issues of racial justice and climate change, the Secretary referenced building on her agency’s legacy of environmental justice, “bringing greater focus to the intersection of environmental protection and public health” and considering cumulative impacts when assessing burdens placed in specific communities.

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