Massachusetts Climate Change Adaptation Report

On September 27, 2011, Massachusetts Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA) Secretary Richard K. Sullivan Jr. filed the Massachusetts Climate Change Adaptation Report with the state's Legislature. The report provides a comprehensive overview of observed and predicted changes to Massachusetts’ climate and the anticipated impacts of and potential adaptation strategies to prepare for climate change.

Authorized under the Global Warming Solutions Act of 2008, the Massachusetts Climate Change Advisory Committee was formed in May 2009 to study and make recommendations to the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs on strategies for adapting to climate change. Sub-committees included: Natural Resources and Habitat, Local Economy, Human Health & Welfare,  Key Infrastructure, and Coastal Zone & Ocean.

The Adaptation Report represents a chapter from each sub-committee, broken down into relevant sub-sectors which provide more detail on specific impacts and strategies. For example, the Key Infrastructure chapter includes Energy, Transportation, Water, Dam Safety and Flood Control, Solid & Hazardous Waste, Built Infrastructure and Buildings, and Telecommunications.

The report offers guidance on how communities, businesses and governments can prepare for and respond to climate change effects such as floods, drought and sea-level rise. Potential approaches include conducting vulnerability assessments of public health, physical structures and assets, natural resources and economic sectors, to inform future planning, development and management of existing and planned resources.

The report highlights the importance of protecting existing infrastructure and development from inundation, especially structures along coasts and in flood plains, and the importance of including climate change predictions in future development and design practices. Potential strategies are suggested to enhance emergency response tools, to protect and preserve natural habitats and the hydrology of watersheds, to establish redundant supply routes and to incorporate climate change projections into municipal planning.

EEA and its agencies plan to evaluate potential strategies contained in the report and work with stakeholders to prioritize them and assess feasibility of implementation. In addition, EEA plans to form a stakeholder group that will explore mechanisms for addressing the potential impacts of climate change (such as sea level rise) as part of EEA’s Massachusetts Environmental Policy Act review process.


Publication Date: 2011

Related Organizations:

  • Massachusetts Climate Change Adaptation Advisory Committee
  • Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA)


Resource Category:

Resource Types:

  • Adaptation plan

States Affected:


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