For Immediate Release - June 04, 2009

Patrick Administration Appoints Advisory Committee to Assess Climate Change Adaptation Strategies

Group will advise on ways to protect coastlines, resources, and infrastructure, and to strengthen the Commonwealth's economy in the face of climate change

BOSTON - Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA) Secretary Ian Bowles today launched a new Climate Change Adaptation Advisory Committee to advise the Commonwealth on strategies for adapting to sea level rise, warming temperatures, increased incidence of flood and drought and other predicted effects of climate change.

The Advisory Committee, created by the Global Warming Solutions Act of 2008, comprises experts from business, academia, and nonprofit organizations, who will meet periodically and report their findings to the Legislature by December 31, 2009. They meet for the first time today.

"Global climate change is the greatest environmental challenge of this generation, and must be addressed with a multi-faceted approach," Secretary Bowles said. "Governor Patrick has put Massachusetts well on the road to achieving job one in this equation - transitioning away from fossil fuels to a clean energy economy. This advisory panel will address another key aspect: how the Commonwealth can best adapt to the changes that climate change has already set in motion."

As mandated by the Act, the panel includes members representing the following sectors: transportation and built infrastructure; commercial, industrial and manufacturing activities; low income consumers; energy generation and distribution; land conservation; water supply and quality; recreation; ecosystem dynamics; coastal zone and ocean; rivers and wetlands; and local government. The committee also includes experts in public health, insurance, forestry, agriculture, and public safety. (Full membership list is below.)

"I am pleased that the administration has begun to implement the adaptation provisions that were in the bill," said Sen. Marc R. Pacheco, chairman of the Senate Committee on Global Warming and Climate Change. "These provisions, once put in place, will help us to cope with the impact of climate change, while we work at the same time to avoid the worst effects of climate change with a cap on carbon."

"Climate change will impact every aspect of life in the Commonwealth, from the crops that we grow to the cost of insurance policies for homeowners who live on the coast," said Rep. Frank Smizik, chairman of the House Committee on Global Warming and Climate Change. "The question now is not whether the climate is changing, but how we are going to adapt as a state to the impacts on our economy, public health, and the natural environment. This commission, with such a wide variety of stakeholders, is a good first step in beginning to plan for adaptation."

Signed by Governor Patrick last August, the Global Warming Solutions Act established in Massachusetts one of the nation's most ambitious regulatory programs to address climate change. It calls for an 80 percent reduction of greenhouse gas emissions economy-wide by 2050, while requiring EEA, in consultation with other state agencies and the public, to set a 2020 target between 10 and 25 percent below 1990 emission levels.

A second advisory committee created by the Act, on creating measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and promote jobs and economic growth through a clean energy economy, was appointed earlier this spring.

"We are pleased to be part of the Commonwealth's Climate Change Adaptation Advisory Committee and look forward to working with the team that will develop an adaptation strategy for a climate that likely will be different in the coming years," said Sandy Taft, director of Climate Change Policy for National Grid in the U.S. "This is an integral element to the issue of climate change and we are delighted to collaborate, exchange ideas, and resources as we join the state in examining and adapting to our environmental future."

"This is a very welcome initiative by the Commonwealth, given what we now know about some impacts of climate change. We must start planning now to address the increased risks that will result from sea level rise," said Bud Ris, President & CEO of the New England Aquarium.

Mass Audubon President Laura Johnson added, "We look forward to joining this collaborative effort to devise strategies that protect Massachusetts forests and watersheds from the potentially disruptive effects of climate warming."

Wayne Klockner, state director of The Nature Conservancy in Massachusetts, said "I'm pleased that - as we move toward clean, renewable sources of energy - the state is also taking proactive steps to safeguard our natural resources from the disruptive effects of climate change. I look forward to working constructively with the state to preserve the lands and waters on which both people and wildlife depend."

The first meeting of the Climate Change Adaptation Advisory Committee takes place Thursday, June 4, from 12:45 to 3 p.m. at 100 Cambridge Street in Boston, in the second floor conference rooms B, C, and D. Several more meetings will take place before the committee reports its findings at the end of the year. In addition, sub-committees will meet to discuss in detail the following topics: Local Economy, Key Infrastructure, Coastal Zone, Natural Resources, and Human Health and Welfare.

Advisory Committee Members include:

  • David Cash - Assistant Secretary for Policy, Executive Office for Energy and Environmental Affairs
  • Laura Johnson - President, Massachusetts Audubon Society
  • Donald Anderson - Senior Scientist, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution
  • Gene Benson - Legal Counsel and Services Program Director, Alternatives for Community & Environment
  • Roseann Bongiovanni - Associate Executive Director, Chelsea Greenspace and Recreation Committee
  • Andrew Cavanagh - Technical Assistant, Department of Plant, Soil and Insect Sciences, University of Massachusetts Amherst
  • Marc Draisen - Executive Director, Metropolitan Area Planning Council
  • Paul Epstein, MD - Associate Director of the Center for Health and the Global Environment, Harvard Medical School
  • Brian Fairbank - President and CEO, Jiminy Peak Mountain Resort/EOS Ventures
  • David Foster - Director, Harvard Forest
  • Hector Galbraith, PhD - Director, Climate Change Program, Manomet Center for Conservation Sciences
  • Timothy Griffin - Associate Professor, Agriculture, Food and the Environment, Tufts University
  • Raymond Jack - Massachusetts Water Works Association
  • Nathaniel Karns - Executive Director, Berkshire Regional Planning Commission
  • Paul Kirshen - Professor, Civil & Environmental Engineering Department, Tufts University
  • Wayne Klockner - Director, The Nature Conservancy in Massachusetts
  • Kim Lundgren - U.S. Services Director - Boston ICLEI - Local Governments for Sustainability
  • Arthur Marin - Executive Director, Northeast States Center for a Clean Air Future
  • Bernie McHugh - Coordinator, Massachusetts Land Trust Coalition
  • William Moomaw - Professor of International Environmental Policy, The Fletcher School, Tufts University
  • Al Niederfringer - Second Vice President for Risk Control, The Travelers Companies, Inc.
  • Paul Niedzwiecki - Executive Director, Cape Cod Commission
  • Wendy Northcross - Chief Executive Officer, Cape Cod Chamber of Commerce
  • Angela O'Connor - President, New England Power Generators Association, Inc.
  • Karen O'Reilly - Director of Product Development, Lexington Insurance Company
  • John Ramsey - Senior Coastal Engineer and Principal, Applied Coastal Research and Engineering, Inc.
  • Jeff Reade - Technical Manager, AECOM - Water
  • Robert Rio - Senior Vice President for Government Affairs, Associated Industries of Massachusetts
  • Bud Ris - President and CEO, The New England Aquarium
  • Erika Spanger Seigfried - Director of Science and Policy, Union of Concerned Scientists
  • Carl Spector - Executive Director, City of Boston's Air Pollution Control Commission, City of Boston, Energy & Environmental Services
  • Tamara Small - Director of Policy & Public Affairs, National Association of Industrial and Office Properties
  • Alexander Taft - Director of US Climate Change Policy, National Grid
  • Peter Weiskel - Associate Director, U.S. Geological Survey
  • Norm Willard - U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
  • Bob Zimmerman - Executive Director Charles River Watershed Association