The announcement last week by House Speaker Robert A. DeLeo that the state will be investing $1 billion over the next decade to help communities across Massachusetts adopt technologies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and fortify infrastructure is welcome news to everyone who realizes that time is running out if we are to offset the inevitable effects of climate change that already are taking place all around us.
The proposal – known as GreenWorks – builds on a long-standing approach by the House under Speaker DeLeo’s leadership to provide the means for our cities and towns (especially along the coast) to build sustainable and resilient communities that hopefully will prepare us for the impending threats posed by rising sea levels and catastrophic weather events.
Environmental groups and clean-energy businesses across the state have praised the plan. The $1 billion investment envisioned by the GreenWorks proposal not only will provide cities and towns with the ability to cut greenhouse gases and lower their long-term energy and operating costs, but it also will adopt Massachusetts-made innovative technologies that will put people to work on clean-tech infrastructure projects.
These competitive grants, to be administered by the governor’s Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs, will provide funding for a wide array of projects, including energy-efficient buildings, solar, microgrids, energy storage, electric vehicle charging stations, and resiliency infrastructure.
Inasmuch as the GreenWorks plan presents an opportunity to pursue innovative approaches to funding clean energy and climate-change resiliency projects, the economic and environmental benefits of GreenWorks grants will be felt immediately, while also expanding the state’s commitment to embracing cost-effective investments in leading-edge clean technologies. In our view, the GreenWorks program represents a timely part of the overall solution that is essential if we are to address the imperatives we face from the looming catastrophe of climate change. We applaud Speaker DeLeo for taking the lead in advancing a plan that acknowledges this reality and the need to deal with it immediately.