November 4, 2021
Farmers and advocates have upcoming opportunities to influence how state policy related to climate change includes and addresses issues of concern to agriculture. The State is in the process of a Climate Change Assessment to provide an updated analysis of how climate change may impact the Commonwealth over the coming decades. It will serve to directly inform the next update to the State Hazard Mitigation and Climate Adaptation Plan (SHMCAP).
Chapter 7 of that Plan is particularly relevant. Though agriculture is mentioned, there are no activities led by MDAR nor specific agriculture-focused action items. This provides an opportunity for farmers and advocates to provide input to remedy this omission. Stakeholder meetings are being planned for the summer of 2022.
At the same time, there are stakeholder engagement opportunities for the state’s climate change planning and regulating guided by legislation enacted this March (our summary here) that, among other things, updates the state’s Climate Protection and Green Economy Act.
Details on the planning process, hearings, submitting comments (still being accepted), and the public comments received to date for climate change response and reducing greenhouse gasses as set in that law are available here. A PowerPoint presentation lists sets of actions and public meeting dates.
Development of the Natural and Working Lands (NWL) plan and related carbon baselines, carbon flux statistics, and sectoral greenhouse gas limits are part of this work. Public meetings on the NWL are planned for November 2021, with four more sessions to be held in 2022. In March 2022, the state will present and gather feedback on:
Contact Jeff Cole to stay informed on climate policy and opportunities to advocate for stronger support for farmers.