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Mass. Senate urged to act now on climate change

Mass. Senate urged to act now on climate change

BOSTON – Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Kathleen Theoharides on Monday pressed state senators to begin investing immediately in infrastructure and ecological restoration that will prepare Massachusetts for the impacts of climate change.

Theoharides said this summer's high temperatures and heavy rains are a "preview" of what's to come in Massachusetts. Scientists say that by the end of the century, the sea level along Massachusetts' coast will have risen as much as 10.5 feet and there will be 64 more days a year with temperatures over 90 degrees.

"Climate resiliency is not something where we have a choice between mitigation and adaptation. We have to do both," Theoharides said.

Theoharides, the Baker administration's top environmental official, testified Monday before the Senate Committee on Global Warming, newly chaired by Majority Leader Cynthia Creem. The committee held an hourslong hearing to gather information and recommendations about the threat posed by climate change and how to reduce its impacts.

The recommendations ranged from investing in research to better understand weather patterns and changing ocean conditions to property buyback programs that would move landowners away from coastal areas.

Theoharides, who led the administration's climate change efforts before she became secretary, said the federal American Rescue Plan Act presents a "once-in-a-lifetime opportunity" to invest in the planning and infrastructure that will ease the impacts from climate change.

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