Our dense coastal region is particularly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. With rising sea levels and worsening storms, the number of residents at risk of flooding is expected to double in the next 25 years. Our cities could have five times the number of days with extreme heat. Much of our critical infrastructure, from airports to power plants, is in vulnerable areas.
Climate and weather do not respect geographic boundaries, but the agencies responsible for adapting to climate change are limited to their state or municipal jurisdiction. As a whole, their authority and resources fall well below what’s needed for a challenge of this magnitude.
The one multi-state institution empowered to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), should expand its limited carbon-trading system to cover all sources of greenhouse gas emissions.
To lead and fund region-wide coastal adaptation, a Regional Coastal Commission should be established, with dedicated sources of funding, to develop, fund, and implement a coordinated, detailed and place-based strategy to increase resilience.