Bay State preps for climate-change catastrophe with $52 million investment

Gov. Deval Patrick will unveil a $40 million plan to combat climate change. Photo by Nicolaus Czarnecki/Metro
Gov. Deval Patrick will unveil a $40 million plan to combat climate change. Photo by Nicolaus Czarnecki/Metro

Addressing concerns that an extreme weather catastrophe could pummel the Massachusetts coast beyond recognition, the state plans to invest $52 million in preparing the Bay State for the impacts of global climate change.

Speaking at press conference at the New England Aquarium Tuesday, Governor Deval Patrick said the multi-million dollar statewide grant will assess and address vulnerabilities in public health, transportation, energy and the state’s built environment.

About $40 million will be distributed as grants to help cities and towns install backup power systems using clean technologies to harden energy services at critical sites. An additional $10 million will go toward infrastructure and dam repair along the state’s long, densely populated coastline.

A rise in sea level between 1 and 6 feet would put thousands of lives and nearly a half billion dollars worth of assets at risk in Boston alone.

“The city of Boston and surrounding communities rely on the state to ensure that key infrastructure such as the MBTA and our power grids are prepared for the impacts of climate change, and we have to make sure that developments are constructed with a rising sea level in mind,” said Boston Mayor Martin Walsh.

The plan also calls for MassDOT to assess the vulnerability of its facilities, and adopt a climate adaption plan by 2015. The DCR will have to look at the threat of flooding at historic roadways.

In response to a question about whether he’s getting any pushback from climate change non-believers, Patrick said it’s difficult to live in Massachusetts and not see “extreme changes” in weather.

“It was 50-something (degrees) when I walked the dog this morning at quarter past five,” said Patrick. “It’s January. And I’ve heard of mid-winter thaw, but you’ve got to be kidding me. And last week we had subzero temperatures at or near record levels. It’s happening.”

When asked for comment on the initiative, Environmental League of Massachusetts President George Bachrach said he believes Patrick understands there is an urgency, and is taking an “important step forward.”

“If Superstorm Sandy had traveled a few mile north, Boston and Massachusetts would have been devastated, instead of NYC and New Jersey,” said Bachrach.

“We cannot wait. We need to protect our coastal infrastructure, particularly our transportation systems and the operating systems of our buildings. We must plan ahead to prevent the paralysis of our hospitals, schools and businesses.”

Follow Morgan Rousseau on Twitter: @MetroMorgan
Follow Metro Boston on Twitter: @MetroBOS



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

Is #JusticeForAvaLynn a case of bullying?

On Saturday, the hashtag #JusticeForAvaLynn became one of the trending topics on Twitter. Users circulated the above photo of 5-year-old AvaLynn, posted by her mother…

International

Terrorism could spread to US and Europe in…

Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah said terrorism would soon spread to Europe and the United States unless it is quickly dealt with in the Middle East,…

National

Ex-Bitcoin official to plead guilty to Silk Road…

Bitcoin entrepreneur Charlie Shrem has reached a plea deal to resolve U.S. charges that he engaged in a scheme to sell over $1 million of…

International

China's army changes tactics to prepare for war…

Chinese President Xi Jinping has said China will spur military innovation and called on the army to create a new strategy for "information warfare" as…

Gossip

Joan Rivers on life support: Report

TMZ reports that comedian Joan Rivers has been placed on life support, "completely reliant on machines to stay alive." Rivers has been hospitalized since she…

Movies

What's new on Netflix in September

September has a supernatural theme for Netflix. UFO "documentaries" and the survivalist reality series "Doomsday Preppers" are among the new series coming to the online…

Going Out

'Friends' coffeehouse Central Perk coming to NYC —…

"Friends" is coming back for a one-off special: "The One with the Free Coffee." Warner Bros. is bringing a pop-up replica of Central Perk, the…

Movies

Interview: 'As Above, So Below' directors: 5 ways…

The fraternal directors of the found footage horror "As Above, So Below" dish on the best ways to frighten the bejesus out of audiences.

NFL

3 things we learned in the Giants preseason…

The final score didn’t matter — a 16-13 win by the Giants — but it would’ve been nice to finally see Big Blue’s new-look offense get on track.

NFL

NFL Power Rankings: Seahawks, Broncos, Patriots, 49ers start…

NFL Power Rankings: Seahawks, Broncos, Patriots start at top

U.S. Soccer

5 facts about new England captain Wayne Rooney

Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney was named as the new England captain by coach Roy Hodgson on Thursday.

NFL

Jets vs. Eagles: 3 things to watch

A win on Thursday night at the Eagles would give the Jets a 3-1 record and just their second winning preseason under head coach Rex Ryan.

Wellbeing

VIDEO: Still not wearing sunscreen? You will after…

Sunscreen is possibly the most often repeated - and ignored - piece of skincare advice. But Thomas Leveritt took a different tactic. With a short…

Food

Twitter used to track down sources of food…

When Chicago health officials saw Twitter users complaining about local food poisoning episodes, they reached out on Twitter to those users and often ended up…

Style

Trend: White hot on the 2014 Emmy's red…

White was one of the big trends on the Emmy's red carpet.

Food

Recipe: Samuel Adams beer-marinated grilled shrimp

Summer calls for two things: a cold beer and light food. Sam Adams' Latitude 48 IPA fairly bursts with citrus notes, making it an ideal marinade…