Gov. Patrick to unveil climate change prep plan

BOSTON (AP) — Gov. Deval Patrick has taken the wraps off a plan he says will help prepare Massachusetts for the challenges posed by climate change on public health, energy, transportation and basic infrastructure.

The initiatives, unveiled by the governor on Tuesday at the New England Aquarium, include a $40 million grant program by the Department of Energy Resources to help cities and towns to shore up protections around energy services.

The proposal also calls for state officials to assess the impact of climate change — in particular the threat of powerful storms and sea level rise on coastal communities.

Patrick said climate change is no longer a "theoretical debate" and the state must get ready.

The plan calls for appointment of a state climatologist and creation of a state climate preparedness website.