Climate change is already transforming the region. The coastline is shifting inward, and homes, businesses, and critical infrastructure are more prone to flooding. By 2050, more than two million people and 60 percent of the region’s power-generating capacity, as well as dozens of miles of critical roads and rail lines, will face a high risk of flooding—some of it permanently under water. The number of days of extreme heat, which are far more threatening to human life than any other impact of climate change, will multiply by five.
We must accelerate efforts to both adapt to climate change and reduce the region’s contribution to this global problem. This includes adapting coastline communities to permanent and periodic flooding; strategically protecting open space with the most potential to absorb carbon dioxide and stormwater; planting more trees and vegetation in urban neighborhoods at risk of extreme heat; upgrading water and sewer infrastructure; and modernizing and greening the energy grid. Doing so will not only mitigate the impact of storms and heat, but also create a new relationship with nature that will improve the health and well-being of residents, now and in the future.