Mass. Climate Change Undersecretary Resigns Amid Backlash Over Comments

BOSTON (WBZ NewsRadio) — Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker's Undersecretary for Climate Change has resigned, after facing criticism over comments he made during a Zoom meeting last month.

David Ismay sent in his letter of resignation on Wednesday night to Secretary Kathleen A. Theoharides of the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs, also offering an apology for the remarks he made at the January Vermont Climate Council meeting.

"It is with great regret that I submit my resignation, effectively immediately," Ismay wrote. "Serving the people of Massachusetts as part of the Baker-Polito administration has been the honor of a lifetime, and I am proud of the equitable climate solutions we achieved together."

The comments drew criticism after they were posted in a YouTube video by the Massachusetts Fiscal Alliance. In the video Ismay can be heard saying lawmakers must "break the will" of consumers to address emissions and climate change.

"Sixty percent of our emissions that need to be reduced come from you — the person across the street, the senior on fixed income, right? There is no bad guy left, at least in Massachusetts, to point the finger at, to turn the screws on, and you know, to break their will, so they stop emitting. That’s you. We have to break your will. Right, I can’t even say that publicly."

Ismay said in his resignation letter that although the comments were seen as "placing the burden of climate change on hardworking families and vulnerable populations," he intended to do the opposite.

"I was urging caution in order to minimize such impacts out of a sincere concern that overly aggressive emissions targets may have unintended and harmful consequences on those we most need to protect,” he wrote.

When asked about Ismay's remarks on Wednesday, Governor Baker said he thought the comments "did not speak for the administration in terms of tone, substance, style or anything else."

"He does not speak for me," Baker said. "I happen to think in all of these issues, the goal here is to balance the various interests that are involved.”

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Written by Rachel Armany

(Photo: Mario Jarjour/WBZ NewsRadio)

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