MA Climate Change Assessment

The MA Climate Change Assessment is a statewide analysis detailing how Massachusetts people, environments, and infrastructure may be affected by climate change and related hazards through the end of the century. This assessment will directly inform the first five-year update to the State Hazard Mitigation and Climate Adaptation Plan (SHMCAP) that will be released in Fall 2023.

Table of Contents

Public Comment

Thank you for your feedback on the draft Massachusetts Climate Change Assessment. The public comment period closed on November 16, and we are closely reviewing the input received. The final report is anticipated to be posted on this site in mid-December 2022.

Project Overview

The Massachusetts Statewide Climate Change Assessment will evaluate the risks of climate change to the Commonwealth, and serve as a core component of the 2023 update to the State Hazard Mitigation and Climate Adaptation Plan (SHMCAP). Aligned with the SHMCAP, climate risks will be considered across five sectors: 

  • Human 
  • Infrastructure 
  • Natural Environment 
  • Economy 
  • Governance 

The primary objective of the assessment is to identify urgent climate risks statewide, as well as by each region and sector. Risk rankings will be developed through discussions with the project working group and stakeholder groups, and will consider factors of: 

  • Magnitude of Consequence: Projected impacts that incorporates quantitative and qualitative indicators of the scale of potential impact, analyzed under the defined future climate scenario.  
  • Disproportionality of Exposure: Demographic analysis of the distribution of impact across populations, particularly the Commonwealth’s identified environmental justice and socially vulnerable groups.  
  • Need for Effective Adaptation: Assessment of current and planned adaptation plans and actions, and the potential benefits of additional adaptation action. 

The project consultant team is led by Industrial Economics and includes Eastern Research Group, Consensus Building Institute, and Woods Hole Group, in addition to independent subject matter experts from MA universities.  

Project Timeline

The MA Climate Change Assessment was launched in September 2021 and is anticipated to be complete in December 2022. This diagram summarizes major project components and milestones.  

Infographic showing the timeline for the MA climate change assessment

Public Engagement

We conducted three waves of public engagement to inform each assessment phase:

 

Wave 1: Climate Impact List Development  

Wave 2: Climate Impact Urgency Ranking  

Wave 3: Initial Assessment Findings and Consensus Building 

Timeline  

Jan – April 2022  

April – July 2022  

July – November 2022  

Key Questions  

  • Are we considering the right list of climate impacts?  

  • How should the impacts be prioritized? 

  • Where do risks fall disproportionately on some populations, and how should that affect prioritization?  

  • Have we accurately captured stakeholder feedback on impacts and how stakeholder feedback informed prioritization?   

Key Stakeholder Engagement Activities  

  • 4 virtual public meetings 

  • Community Liaison feedback and outreach 

  • 4 virtual public meetings 

  • Interviews and small group discussions with stakeholder groups   

  • Community Liaison feedback and outreach  

  • Survey   

  • Interviews and focus groups with stakeholder groups

  • Community Liaison feedback and outreach  

  • Comment form for public review 

 

Wave 1: Climate Impact List Development

In the first wave of engagement, we recruited ten community leaders from different regions across the Commonwealth to serve as Community Liaisons (CLs). CLs provided feedback to the project team on planned stakeholder engagement activities and conducted outreach among their networks during all three waves.

We held four virtual public meetings on March 1, 3, 8 and 9, 2022, which engaged 245 stakeholders across the Commonwealth. Simultaneous interpretation was available in Spanish, Portuguese, Haitian Creole, Mandarin, Vietnamese, and Cape Verdean Creole. You can watch a recording of the presentation given at all four workshops:

Wave 2: Climate Impact Urgency Ranking

We held four virtual workshops in June 2022, which engaged 121 stakeholders across the Commonwealth. These meetings provided an overview of climate change impacts and gathered community input on prioritizing adaptation actions to address these impacts. Simultaneous interpretation was made available upon request. You can view a recording of the presentation and the presentation slides below: 

We also conducted a survey that was available in the top ten languages spoken across the Commonwealth. We received 443 stakeholder responses. In addition to collecting ongoing feedback from community liaisons, we also conducted interviews with stakeholders that we were unable to reach in the first wave.

Wave 3: Initial Assessment Findings and Consensus Building

    We conducted a series of stakeholder interviews and focus groups to gather feedback on the initial assessment findings. We are currently soliciting feedback from the public on the draft report and related documents. 

    Contact Information

    We look forward to engaging in this important initiative to inform the state’s focus and priorities related to adaptation and resilience action in the coming years. For more information or questions on the MA Climate Change Assessment, please contact the Resilient MA Action Team at rmat@mass.gov.

    Date published: December 17, 2021
    Last updated: April 11, 2022
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