People are drawn to New England to live, work and play for its climate: its warm summers, stunning falls and picture perfect winter landscapes, suitable for a wide range of outdoor activities. Walk down the halls of our states offices and you’ll see signs of that passion right here at home: people wearing ski vests, pictures of people snow shoeing, cabins nestled into densely fallen snow. If our climate changes – which the IPCC and others have repeatedly demonstrated it will – then New England will be a very different region than the one we all have come to know and to love.
Even when the worst of the current worldwide economic crisis ends, the U.S. economy will have fundamentally changed. What will that new economy look like? We may see slower economic growth, with more gradual ups and less precipitous declines. Perhaps fewer hours will be worked on average per year, but with higher productivity per hour. Whatever the changes, we will need to develop a new way of measuring how well our society is doing to supplement – or even replace – gross domestic product.
That’s why today’s ruling from the EPA on the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards (MATS) is so laudable. As my colleague N Jonathan Peress said in a press statement, these standards “amount to one of the most significant public health and environmental measures in years.” They are also similar to standards we adopted here in New England years ago.