Massachusetts is vulnerable to increasing temperatures, floods and droughts, and coastal flooding
Massachusetts’s climate has already warmed by more than two degrees Fahrenheit in the last century. Increasing temperatures are causing spring to arrive earlier, bringing more precipitation and more frequent storms as well as drier and hotter summers. Rising sea levels threaten the stability of housing and infrastructure projects, as well as increasing the likelihood for flooding which can harm ecosystems, disrupt farming, and pose an increasing risk to human health.
- Increasing temperatures: Extreme heat will increase in the Northeast region. Currently a temperate region in the summer, the region can expect to see an increase of “extremely hot” days. On average, there are only 2.6 days a year over 95 degrees Fahrenheit now, but that number could increase to by 5-16 additional days by midcentury and jump to 15-57 additional days by the end of the century. Increasingly hot summers will have negative impacts on health, mortality, and labor productivity.
- Floods and droughts: Annual precipitation in the Northeast has increased about 10 percent from 1895 to 2011, and precipitation from extremely heavy storms has increased 70 percent since 1958. Increasing variability in precipitation will likely cause more flooding in the winter and spring, and more drought in the summer and fall.
- Rising sea level: Since the 1800s about one third of wetlands and other coastal ecosystems in New England have been destroyed by human activity, reducing an effective and important line of defense against coastal flooding.
- Fishing and Farming: Parts of Massachusetts’s fishing and farming sector may suffer as the climate changes. Key ocean fisheries such as cod and lobster south of Cape Cod are expected to decline.
- Adaptation: Massachusetts first completed its Climate Action Plan in 2004 to address mitigation, but in 2009, Governor Deval Patrick convened a committee to develop strategies for adaptation.
Massachusetts residents support clean energy and climate regulations
- According to the Yale Map Project on Climate Change Communication 74% of Massachusetts residents recognize that global warming is happening. The study finds that 78% of residents support regulating carbon dioxide as a pollutant and 85% support funding research into renewable energy sources.
Massachusetts: top 10 in solar
- Massachusetts is among the top 10 solar states, ranking 7th with 1,490 MW of installed solar capacity. The solar industry employs 14,600 people across 433 companies in Massachusetts.
- Massachusetts ranks 34th in the country in installed wind capacity with 115 MW installed, or enough to power 22,000 homes. There are 9 companies in MA producing parts for the wind industry.
- In 2015, 9.4% of electricity generated in Massachusetts came from renewable energy sources.
- In Massachusetts, 28% of residents use fuel oil as their primary heating fuel, more than five times the national average of 3.5%.
- MA has set a renewable energy standard of 15% from new sources by 2020 and 6.03% from existing sources by 2016.