The Impacts of Climate Change and the Trump Administration’s Anti-Environmental Agenda in Massachusetts

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Just in the past three years, the Trump administration has attempted to roll back at least 95 environmental rules and regulations to the detriment of the environment and Americans’ public health. Moreover, the administration refuses to act to mitigate the effects of climate change—instead loosening requirements for polluters emitting the greenhouse gases that fuel the climate crisis. This dangerous agenda is affecting the lives of Americans across all 50 states.

Between 2017 and 2019, Massachusetts experienced two severe storms and two winter storms. The damages of each event led to losses of at least $1 billion.

Impacts of climate change

Extreme weather

  • Massachusetts’ sea level has risen 8 inches since 1950, and forecasts project that by 2032, the sea level will have risen another 6 inches. Massachusetts is preparing to spend more than $1 billion on solutions for sea level rise.
  • Currently, 84,000 people in Massachusetts are at risk of coastal flooding. By 2050, that number is expected to more than double to 217,000 people.

Temperature

  • Massachusetts currently rarely experiences days of dangerous heat. However, by 2050, it is expected to see more than 10 such days per year. This endangers the lives of the nearly 140,000 people living in Massachusetts who are especially vulnerable to extreme heat.
  • According to average annual temperatures since 1970, Massachusetts is among the top 10 fastest-warming states in the country.

Impacts of the Trump administration’s anti-environmental policies

Climate

  • In March 2020, the Trump administration announced its final rule to overturn Obama-era fuel efficiency standards for cars. These weakened fuel standards will lead to higher greenhouse gas and particulate matter emissions and will cost Massachusetts residents nearly $480 million
  • The Trump administration is attempting to gut climate considerations from major infrastructure projects by eliminating the “cumulative impact” requirement of the National Environmental Policy Act. This is concerning because Massachusetts’ economy relies heavily on its tourism and outdoor recreation industries—all of which are highly dependent on climate and weather conditions.
    • Tourism: In 2018, Massachusetts’ tourism sector employed more than 150,000 people and generated an economic impact of more than $24 billion.
    • Outdoor recreation: The outdoor recreation industry in Massachusetts generates 120,000 direct jobs and more than $16 billion in consumer spending.

Air quality

  • Mercury emissions in Massachusetts decreased by more than 95 percent from 2011 to 2017, yet the Trump administration just undermined limits on the amount of mercury and other toxic emissions that are allowed from power plants.

Water quality

To read the personal stories of Americans affected by climate change and the impacts of the Trump administration’s anti-environmental policies in your state, visit OurEnvironment.org.