History of Climate Action in Boston


City of Boston enlists in the Cities for Climate Protection Campaign sponsored by ICLEI-Local Governments for Sustainability.


The City creates an Energy Advisory Committee to help reduce the municipal energy consumption.


The City constructs its first municipal green building, the George Robert White Environmental Conservation Center, and appoints a Green Building Task Force to produce a "comprehensive examination of every facet of green building."


The City of Boston becomes a member of the U.S. Mayors Climate Protection Agreement, agreeing that member cities would "strive to meet or exceed Kyoto Protocol targets." The Energy Management Board - the successor to the Energy Advisory Committee-completes an Integrated Energy Management Plan (IEMP) for 362 municipal buildings.


The Department of Neighborhood Development receives a $2 million grant from the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative to develop green affordable housing. The City begins using biodiesel in its vehicles.


The Boston Zoning Commission adopts a Green Buildings provision, Article 37 Green Buildings amending Boston's zoning code, which requires that projects over 50,000 square feet be "LEED certifiable." Executive order "relative to climate action in Boston" is passed, which establishes the goal of and policies for reducing GHG emissions by 80 percent by 2050. The City presents its first round of Green Awards, recognizing businesses and residents pursuing sustainable solutions to local climate issues and publishes its first climate action plan, Climate: Change.


U.S. Energy Secretary Bodman designates Boston a Solar America City. The City announces Solar Boston, a two-year $550,000 initiative to increase the amount of installed solar capacity in Boston from half a megawatt in 2008 to 25 megawatts by 2015. Boston ranks as the 6th most sustainable city in the US by SustainLane.com. Executive Order on Greening Operations is signed, including comprehensive recycling and instituting a green cleaning program. The City presents its second annual Green Awards and expands the program to include Bike-Friendly businesses.


The Climate Action Leadership Committee is created to update the City's Climate Action Plan to help reduce the city's green house gas emissions by 7% below 1990 levels by 2012. The City also announces the Community Advisory Committee, which will coordinate with the Climate Action Leadership Committee to create an action plan that will include the interests of all Bostonians. The city announces other major citywide environmental initiatives including: the adoption of single-stream municipal recycling for city residents through the Recycle More program, and the Renew Boston Program which will create green jobs and promote energy efficiency. 


The Climate Action Leadership Committee presented its recommendations in its report "Sparking Boston's Climate Revolution" on Earth Day 2010, providing a comprehensive set of ideas for reducing Boston's contribution to climate change. Renew Boston expanded its reach to both Boston businesses and residents, providing free energy audits and weatherization services. The City passed proposals to adopt the Stretch Energy Code which requires stricter energy efficiency regulations for all new buildings in the City of Boston, and also passed an ordinance for solar energy projects in Boston that will make the process for obtaining solar permits more efficient and less costly. 


A Climate of Progress, released by the City on Earth Day, is the updated climate action plan for Boston, which encompasses Sparking Boston's Climate Revolution the recommendations from 2010 Sparking A Climate Revolution report from the Climate Action Leadership Committee and the Community Advisory Committee.  The Hubway Bike Sharing system launched in July.


Renew Boston expands its reach with federal stimulus funding. Greenovate Boston is announced. Brian Swett is tapped as Chief of Environment and Energy.   


Following Hurricane Sandy, the City makes significant progress towards preparing Boston for the impacts of climate change, including the release of a new report, Climate Ready Boston: Municipal Vulnerability to Climate Change. Boston passes its Building Energy Reporting and Disclosure Ordinance. In the fall of 2013, the City announces the beginning of the 2014 Climate Action Plan Update process, including the launch of a new online engagement platform, Engage Greenovate Boston.