- Governor Maura Healey and Lt. Governor Kim Driscoll
- Office of Climate Innovation and Resilience
Media Contact for Climate Chief Report Outlines Whole-of-Government Approach to Address Climate Crisis
Karissa Hand, Press Secretary
Boston — Climate Chief Melissa Hoffer published a report today with recommendations to implement the Healey-Driscoll Administration's whole-of-government approach to addressing the climate crisis.
The report makes recommendations to the Governor regarding the climate-related practices and policies of executive department agencies. It presents 39 recommendations focused on concrete strategies to finance investments necessary to meet emissions reductions mandates and resilience goals, ensure spending is consistent with the statutorily-mandated Clean Energy and Climate Plan, accelerate electrification of the power, building and transportation sectors while keeping energy justice front and center, amplify Massachusetts’ global leadership in clean energy and climate tech, grow the workforce necessary to build a clean energy future, and protect the natural and working lands so vital to achieving net zero by 2050.
“On day one of this administration, we created the Office of Climate Innovation and Resilience and appointed the nation’s first cabinet-level Climate Chief because we know that addressing the climate crisis requires a comprehensive, coordinated approach across all of state government,” said Governor Maura Healey. “Our administration has already made significant progress on climate initiatives since taking office, and Chief Hoffer’s recommendations will help us build on this progress to advance the ambitious climate and clean energy policies that we need to protect our future and power our economy.”
“The climate crisis is our biggest threat and our greatest opportunity,” said Lieutenant Governor Kim Driscoll. “This report from Chief Hoffer outlines how we can take a whole-government approach to climate policy by breaking down silos and driving collaboration across state agencies. The recommendations detailed in this report are guiding principles to move us toward a more climate resilient future.”
“The creation of the Climate Office, and its work, can be thought of as intentionally disruptive. It should break down silos because siloed approaches will only result in missed opportunities,” said Climate Chief Melissa Hoffer. “As an office, we are focused on driving collaboration, spurring different ways of defining problems and opportunities, lifting up innovative and successful models, interrogating conventional wisdom and always ensuring that policy choices are informed by the best available climate science. This report details how Massachusetts can play a key role in climate policy and implementation, while also advancing innovation in technology, climate finance and resilience. These recommendations will set Massachusetts up as an example to other states on how to be a catalyst for climate innovation.”
Chief Hoffer’s recommendations include:
All agencies must think creatively about ways to leverage innovative clean energy, decarbonization and resilience funding tools to support policy goals. Massachusetts should prepare economic analyses of the investment needed to achieve both the greenhouse gas emissions reductions within the Clean Energy and Climate Plan (CECP), including the 2050 Net Zero mandate, and ResilientMass, the statewide hazard mitigation and climate adaptation plan. These analyses should be paired with specific funding and financing strategies. Agencies should analyze feasible policies that both reduce emissions and generate additional revenue streams to invest in further decarbonization. The Division of Insurance should accelerate its efforts to manage climate risk and resiliency for the Massachusetts insurance market.
Capital investment, asset management, grants, procurement, and environmental justice
Broadly speaking, discretionary state spending should align with and not undermine the CECP emissions reductions mandates. The administration prioritized climate and environmental justice considerations in the capital and operating budget development process and should now formalize a protocol for evaluating proposed capital projects to align with the CECP. Recommendations in the report include continuing to center environmental justice in climate policy and program implementation; implementing a statewide plan for electrifying the state-owned vehicle and equipment fleet; ensuring grant-making and other incentives are used as a tool to drive and amplify decarbonization and resilience efforts; and updating procurement practices to require disclosure of emissions and climate risk.
The report presents a range of recommendations to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and achieve the mandate of Net Zero emissions in 2050. These include reviewing the best use of ratepayer funds currently allocated to Mass Save in light of existing building decarbonization needs and accelerating work to establish a decarbonization clearinghouse; issuing an annual climate report card on the state’s progress to meet CECP emissions reduction mandates; taking action to reduce aviation emissions; and ensuring new housing production and preservation and construction of new schools is consistent with building sector electrification and decarbonization mandates. Last month, the MBTA announced a new Climate and Resiliency Policy and Planning team that will be tasked with decreasing the Agency’s environmental footprint and increasing the resilience of the MBTA system.
Public health and resilience
Massachusetts must respond to the impacts that climate change is having and will have on our communities, ecological systems, built environment and infrastructure. The report’s public health and resilience recommendations include efforts to establish consistent guidance, standards and use of statewide climate science and data; develop and implement a Comprehensive Coastal Resilience Plan; prioritize investment to develop more energy resilient infrastructure, such as microgrids, that can maintain power to critical infrastructure during extreme weather events; and ready Massachusetts for the increasingly disruptive and dangerous impacts of climate change such as inland flooding, heat, migration, crop loss, droughts, and adverse health effects, including increased disease transmission and mental health issues.
Massachusetts must build the workforce needed to power the clean energy transition and make communities more resilient. Recommendations include developing a comprehensive, cross-agency plan that includes measurable targets and goals to build a clean energy, climate, and resilience workforce. The report also calls for the establishment of a Climate Service Corps to drive awareness, engage residents and institutions, and develop career paths integral to climate-critical solutions. The Climate Corps would provide volunteer opportunities and have programs focused on youth, preparing them for good-paying jobs in clean energy and climate resilience.
Massachusetts should develop and implement a comprehensive clean energy and climate economic development plan that results in the creation of new, good paying jobs and further strengthens long-term economic growth. An investment strategy must ensure that climate tech companies have access to the capital required to innovate and scale in Massachusetts.
Massachusetts should enhance its efforts to educate communities, including students, about the climate crisis. These efforts should include promoting a basic understanding of climate science and fostering the capacity of communities to deploy climate solutions. The administration will work to support the broad-based adoption by public school districts of a K-12 curriculum addressing climate change.
The report notes that a number of the program-specific recommendations address work that is underway, much of it initiated since the start of the Administration, including: two executive orders announcing the ban to procure single-use plastic bottles by the Governor’s Office and executive branch agencies and establishing and implementing biodiversity goals for Massachusetts; the creation of the Massachusetts Community Climate Bank; and the release of the ResilientMass Plan.
The Climate Chief’s report is available here.
Statements of Support
Amy Boyd Rabin, Vice President of Policy, Environmental League of Massachusetts:
“The Climate Chief’s report offers a realistic and comprehensive view of the steps the Commonwealth must take to meet its 2025, 2030, and 2050 emissions-reduction goals. Economy-wide decarbonization represents a significant challenge and a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. By rapidly implementing the recommendations identified in this report, the Administration and the Legislature can lead the way toward a clean energy transition by fully aligning state spending and planning with climate goals. This will deliver smart, equitable growth that puts Massachusetts on track for a net-zero future.”
Julie Wormser, Senior Policy Advisor, Mystic River Watershed Association:
"This is what transformative government looks like. Climate change is throwing us into such a state of uncertainty. The Healey Administration is embracing the whole-of-government, collaborative approach needed to protect our communities from extreme weather while making them more fair and beautiful. I can honestly say that a technical report has never made me tear up before, but this one did. It's the first time I really felt that help is on the way. We can do this."
Frank Callahan, President, Massachusetts Building Trades Unions:
“Massachusetts’ Building Trades are already training the clean and renewable energy workforce through our proven registered apprenticeship programs. This is the best way to ensure the availability of a highly skilled workforce that provides workers with good union careers paying family sustaining wages and benefits.”
Joe Curtatone, President, Northeast Clean Energy Council:
“This report from Climate Chief Hoffer gets right to the heart of the issue: Massachusetts must have a fully-funded, whole-of-government response to our existential climate threat. Nothing less will do. This is a public health issue, a transportation issue, an equal rights issue, a housing issue, an education and workforce training issue, an investment and business development issue. And if the government acts with this singularity of purpose, the climate economy it fosters will increase prosperity across the Commonwealth.”
Rebecca Davis, Chief Operating Officer, Massachusetts Competitive Partnership:
“The Healey-Driscoll Administration's climate plan offers an important framework for leadership and innovation in shaping a more sustainable future. We applaud their commitment to a strategy that not only helps us achieve our climate goals but also paves the way for new economic opportunities. We are committed to working with the Administration to turn this visionary plan into impactful action.”
Caitlin Peale Sloan, Vice President, Conservation Law Foundation:
“The climate crisis is impacting every community in Massachusetts, and we wasted valuable years under the prior Administration waiting for firm commitments and real action on the ground. The Climate Chief’s report underscores the vast challenges facing the Commonwealth’s agencies in this fight as well as the opportunities for climate solutions that work for all our residents. It’s time to get to work.”
Alli Gold-Roberts, Senior Director of State Policy, Ceres:
“Ceres congratulates the Healey administration for issuing this comprehensive report, as well as its concrete recommendations to align the Commonwealth in confronting the climate crisis. Its findings are crucial to meeting the urgency of this moment — not only to protect communities, residents, and businesses from the intensifying effects of climate change, but to fully capitalize on federal, state, and private investment to build a just and prosperous clean energy economy.”
Alison Bowden, Acting State Director, The Nature Conservancy:
“The Nature Conservancy applauds the leadership of the Healey-Driscoll administration to prove to the world that we can meet our ambitious climate goals and provide benefits like clean air and water and good jobs at the same time. These Recommendations of the Climate Chief recognize that climate change, environmental injustices, and biodiversity loss are interconnected problems that can best be solved together. It’s not an easy task, but if we all get involved - from lawmakers to nonprofits, climate activists and everyday citizens - we can all work to make our state a model for the nation and the world.”
Dwaign Tyndal, Executive Director, Alternatives for Community and Environment (ACE):
“We appreciate Chief Hoffer’s emphasis on environmental justice. Prioritizing cumulative impact analyses, community benefit plans, Justice40 and meaningful engagement is what it means to operationalize environmental justice. This report is the first step in breaking down silos and weaving government together through an equity lens. EJ must be embedded into every program, project, permit and policy in order to create systemic change.”
Roseann Bongiovanni, Executive Director, GreenRoots:
“We applaud the Healey Administration and Climate Chief Hoffer on the report release outlining recommendations to address the climate crisis in Massachusetts. The report specifically outlines recommendations to advance environmental justice priorities with an intentional focus on meaningful community engagement. We look forward to working with the Administration on the implementation of the recommendations put forth.”
Sara Ross, Co-founder, UndauntedK12:
"There is no path to reaching our climate goals without our schools. The newly-released recommendations from The Office of Climate Innovation and Resilience reflect and elevate this thinking. The report lays out a powerful, insightful, and well-researched set of recommendations that acknowledge both the depth of the challenges and the breadth of opportunity for climate action in our schools. We are thrilled to drive this work forward under the leadership of the Healey Administration, Climate Chief Hoffer, and the many partners of all ages who inspire us."
Steve Woerner, President, National Grid New England:
“We are at an inflection point in the Commonwealth’s energy future. Public officials, regulators, communities, and business have an opportunity to work together to build resilience, expand economic opportunity and growth, and create and maintain good paying jobs across the state, all while achieving net zero emissions. Today’s report by the Healey Administration’s Office of Climate Innovation and Resilience recognizes the current situation and provides a vision for the role that government can play in achieving this future, and the actions we all can take in the near and longer term to make the vision a reality. National Grid appreciates the holistic and thoughtful approach taken in the report and we are committed to working collaboratively with the Administration and other stakeholders to build a smarter, stronger cleaner and more equitable energy future that achieves the Commonwealth’s bold climate and clean energy goals and delivers the fair and affordable clean energy transition for all our customers and communities.”
Reverend Mariama White-Hammond, Chief of Environment, Energy and Open Space for the City of Boston:
“This report is a testament to the hard work done by Chief Hoffer and her team to address climate change while centering a just transition to a green economy. I am grateful for the bold and collaborative approach of this administration as we work together to reduce our carbon footprint while building resilient communities throughout the Commonwealth.”