Boston Charts Course for Greenhouse Gas Reductions of 25% by 2020
Mayor awards $2.8 Million in Renew Boston energy efficiency grants and unveils proposal for 1.65 megawatt wind turbine on Moon Island
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For Immediate Release
April 22, 2010
Released By:
Environment, Energy, and Open Space
For More Information Contact:
Mayor's Press Office
Press.Office@cityofboston.gov

Following a year-long public process, Boston’s Climate Action Leadership Committee today presented Mayor Thomas M. Menino with a set of wide-ranging recommendations aimed at significantly reducing greenhouse gas emissions and preparing for the risks of climate change in Boston. The consensus report titled Sparking the Climate Revolution calls for reducing Boston’s greenhouse gas emissions by 25% by 2020 and incorporating the potential effects of climate change in all planning and review of public and private projects. Mayor Menino was joined by Gina McCarthy, EPA’s Assistant   Administrator for Air and community leaders at the Artist for Humanities’ LEED Platinum EpiCenter Building in Boston to receive the report.

“Together, we are charting the course for continued leadership in greening our city and our economy,” said Mayor Menino. “I am committed to moving this ambitious agenda forward, as we work with our residents and businesses to realize the full benefits of a low carbon city and ensure that our city remains a vibrant one for future generations.”

“Tom Menino has been America’s Mayor, and now he’s officially the Earth’s Mayor. The 40th anniversary of Earth Day is the time to introduce Boston’s plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 25 percent in the next ten years. Both the Boston’s Climate Action Leadership Committee and Mayor Menino are making Boston the nation’s leader in protecting our environment, creating jobs in the clean energy sector, saving money, and making sure that the air we breathe is clean,” said Senator John Kerry. 

Boston’s Climate Action Leadership Committee and Community Advisory Committee presented the Mayor with a consensus report that included five overarching recommendations:

  1. reduce Boston’s GHG emissions 25% by 2020;
  2. immediately start incorporating projected effects of climate change — particularly sea-level rise, heat waves, and more intense storms — in all planning and review for municipal and private projects;
  3. develop a comprehensive public engagement effort, including a public commission and strong partnerships with community organizations;
  4. use climate action opportunities to advance Boston’s green economy and jobs goals;
  5. ensure that climate action has clear public and private leadership and sufficient public and private resources.

The report highlights that climate action will bring significant economic benefits to Boston. Climate mitigation — reducing greenhouse gas emissions through energy efficiency, behavior change, and lower vehicle use — will produce net savings of over $2 billion dollars by 2020 through lower annual energy bills, in addition to the benefits of lower pollution including better health, lower medical bills, and less crowded streets. Demand for energy and climate-related services will also create thousands of jobs. Climate adaptation - preparing for the effects of climate change - will ensure that Boston’s economic and social infrastructure remains strong well into the future. 

“As a coastal Northeastern city, climate change will have a profound impact on the future of our community,” said Mindy Lubber, President of CERES and co-chair of the Leadership Committee. “While Boston alone cannot solve the climate challenge, this plan sets a clear path for developing a cleaner, greener, and more prosperous 21st century urban model that will inspire cities across the country and around the world.”

Mayor Menino marked this historic occasion with two major announcements that advance the city’s green agenda, releasing $2.8 million in energy efficiency grants under the Renew Boston program and unveiling a proposal to erect a wind turbine on Moon Island in the Boston Harbor.

The City’s Office of Environmental and Energy Services awarded funding for Renew Boston energy efficiency programs that will create 83 local jobs. Under these American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) grants, $1.8 million is being awarded to Massachusetts Energy Consumers Alliance and Next Step Living, Inc. for residential retrofits of nearly 3,100 homes in Boston. An additional $1 million has been awarded to Rise Engineering for the retrofit of 800 small businesses with energy efficient technologies. 

Mayor Menino also announced a proposal to develop a 1.65 megawatt wind turbine on Moon Island, property owned by Boston but located within the municipal boundary of Quincy. The City of Boston will work with Quincy officials to move the project forward as it will provide enough electricity to power 807 homes in Boston and Quincy and will need approval from Quincy’s Planning Board in accordance with a wind facilities ordinance developed by Quincy Mayor Thomas P. Koch’s administration last year. The City of Boston is also working to obtain grant funding from several sources to add to the economic benefit of the project, including working with the Massachusetts Energy Consumers Alliance and the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center.  

“We are clearly demonstrating in Boston that we can drastically cut greenhouse gas emissions, while at the same time improve the quality of life in our neighborhoods, save residents and businesses money, and create jobs,” added Jim Hunt, Boston’s Chief of Environment and Energy.  “We will continue to work with leaders in the community to realize our collective vision of a greener Boston.”      

The work of the Climate Action Leadership Committee is the Mayor's latest action addressing climate change, including joining the International Council for Local Environmental Initiative’s Cities for Climate Protection Campaign in 2000, being an early signatory to the U.S. Conference of Mayor's Climate Protection Agreement in 2005, and issuing the city’s first Climate Action Plan and Executive Order in April 2007. 

            The Mayor's formation of the Boston Climate Action Leadership Committee and Renew Boston program were generously supported by the Barr Foundation and The Boston Foundation.

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