Massachusetts “Climate Official” Resigns After Inflammatory Remarks Toward People Who Heat Homes and Fuel Cars

David Ismay, undersecretary for climate change in Massachusetts, resigned Thursday, effective immediately, after making inflammatory comments against people who heat their homes and fuel their cars.

Ismay had said in a virtual meeting with the Vermont Climate Council in January that average people needed to have their wills “broken” to fight the effects of climate change and achieve net-zero emissions.

I know one thing that we found in our analysis is that 60 percent of our emissions come from […] residential heating and passenger vehicles,” he said. “Let me say that again: 60 percent of our emissions that need to be reduced come from you, the person on your street, the senior on fixed income. Right now, there is no bad guy left, at least in Massachusetts, to point the finger at and turn the screw on and now break their will, so they stop emitting. That’s you. We have to break your will.”

He added that “we can’t have no offshore wind, no transmission, no solar, and have clean energy. Something has to give. There has to be some mechanism we trust to find a place to site a transmission line.” Interestingly enough, he then acknowledged that he “can’t even say that publicly,” but it was only a matter of time before his remarks made their way to the press.

Before Ismay’s resignation, Massachusetts Republican governor Charlie Baker reacted to his remarks as follows: “First of all, no one who works in our administration should ever say or think anything like that. Secondly, [Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs Kathleen Theoharides] is going to have a conversation with him about that. And third, one of the main reasons we didn’t sign the climate bill when it got to our desk was because we were specifically concerned about the impact it was going to have on people’s ability to pay for many of the pieces that were in it, which means it also doesn’t represent administration policy or position.”

The Boston Herald says that Ismay’s position paid him $130,000 a year. A spokesman for MassFiscal told the Herald that his organization has “continually warned the public regarding the dangerous amount of power being handed over to unelected bureaucrats through various climate initiatives.”

In his resignation letter Ismay apologized and said he did not intend his comments to be interpreted as “placing the burden of climate change on hardworking families and vulnerable populations.” He regretted ineffectively communicating what he was trying to say and reflecting poorly on Governor Baker and the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs.