Opinion: Massachusetts Climate change proposals deserve lawmakers’ consideration

There are three proposals before Beacon Hill lawmakers that could help pay for how we cope with the impacts of climate change — all should be considered.

Climate change is the existential threat of our lifetime. It affects everyone, everywhere, and everything. And because certain Washington politicians are unwilling to deal with it, and President Trump still calls it a “hoax,” state and local governments are forced to face climate change on their own.

In Massachusetts, we’re not only fighting the causes of climate change, but also figuring out how to live with them.

While we’ve reduced the Commonwealth’s carbon emissions by 21.4 percent, based on 1990 levels, and need to aggressively push to achieve zero emissions, we also must learn to adapt to the effects of climate change — including hotter days, accelerated sea-level rise, and stronger storms — all significant in a place we call the Bay State. And they come at great cost.

As a member of the state’s Coastal Erosion Commission, we found that the replacement cost for the buildings and contents exposed to our quickly eroding shoreline was more than $7 billion — and that was four years ago!

According to estimates from the Cambridge-based Union of Concerned Scientists, during the next 26 years, over half the amount of property the $7 billion represents will be chronically flooded, affecting 14,000 Massachusetts residents.

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