Mayor Menino Announces Boston’s Climate Action Progress on the One Year Anniversary of Hurricane Sandy
City Focuses on Climate Change
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For Immediate Release
October 29, 2013
Released By:
Mayor's Office
For More Information Contact:
Mayor's Press Office

On the one-year anniversary of Hurricane Sandy, Mayor Thomas M. Menino unveiled his administration’s report, Climate Ready Boston: Municipal Vulnerability to Climate Change, which identifies ways in which the City of Boston has and will prepare for the impacts of climate change on municipal operations. The Mayor also announced the City’s progress on its municipal greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction goals and the kick-off of its triennial update process for the City’s Climate Action Plan. The update will emphasis climate preparedness and community engagement, while re-examining the City’s strategies to reduce Boston’s community-wide greenhouse gas emissions by 25 percent by 2020 and 80 percent by 2050.

 “Over the past two decades, we have achieved a remarkable amount of success in our climate preparedness and mitigation work here in Boston,” Mayor Menino said. “With the release of our Climate Ready Boston report and with the update of our Climate Action Plan starting, I’m proud of our continued progress towards being the greenest city in the United States.” 


In his February Climate Ready Boston announcement, Mayor Menino tasked his administration and the Boston Green Ribbon Commission (GRC), a group of business and institutional leaders supporting climate action, with a variety of initiatives to further Boston’s climate preparedness. Since February, the City has accomplished the following:

  • The BRA has begun examining the climate preparedness of new development projects undergoing Article 80 review, as well as existing building owners through a survey in order to better understand strategies and practices that prepare buildings for future climate conditions.
  • Later today, the BRA will be holding a public meeting on new Zoning Article 80 Project Review guidelines to ensure basic building preparedness and resiliency practices are included in planning, design, and construction of new projects in Boston. These guidelines are planned to be presented to the BRA Board on November 14.
  • After holding four public listening sessions and additional stakeholder meetings, the Boston Conservation Commission has developed guiding principles for a new local wetlands ordinance, and the Environment Department is in the process of drafting the ordinance.
  • Inspectional Services Department (ISD) and Boston Public Health Commission (BPHC) have been reviewing and enhancing their outreach and enforcement for flood proofing. One result was a multi-department, robust effort to engage citizens during National Preparedness Month in September.

“While climate preparedness is an ongoing long-term effort, the City has made significant advances this past year,” said Brian Swett, Chief of Environment and Energy. “We now have a deeper understanding of how climate change will impact Boston, and what the public and private sectors can and should do to prepare.”

As part of the response to the Mayor’s request, the GRC convened a working group and commissioned the report Building Resilience in Boston, released by the Boston Society of Architects in August. All of these efforts will contribute to advancing climate preparedness policies in the Climate Action Plan update.

In addition to readying itself for the impacts of climate change, the City continues to make progress in reducing its carbon emissions. Today, the Mayor is releasing the City’s fiscal year 2012 municipal GHG emissions inventory, indicating another year of substantial greenhouse gas reduction. Since 2005, when the City began measuring and making plans to lower its GHG emissions, the City of Boston has reduced annual emissions by approximately 26 percent. This is the equivalent to the emissions savings of taking over 10,000 cars off the road. This success is the result a variety of energy efficiency projects across departments including:

  • New co-generation capacity and energy conservation measures at Boston Public Schools,
  • Public Works’ LED streetlight conversion program,
  • Energy conservation at Boston Public Libraries, fuel switching at Boston Public Health Commission, and
  • City-wide steam fuel switching and co-generation. 

During the climate action plan update process, the City plans to set a new reduction target for 2020 for its municipal operations.

 To underscore its commitment to community engagement, as part of the climate action plan update, the City has launched a new engagement website,, to serve as a virtual town hall for sustainability planning in Boston. Additionally, the City will hold several Greenovate Boston Meet-ups in the winter, where the community may share additional ideas and feedback. In the spring, the City will host its first annual Greenovate Boston Summit, where it will present on the state of sustainability in Boston, and get additional community input on the plan. A formal advisory committee and working groups will be convened in the winter. 

Today’s announcements follow on the heels of the release of The American Council for Energy-Efficient Economy’s scorecard in September, which ranked Boston as the most energy-efficient city in the United States.

About Greenovate Boston
Greenovate Boston is a collective movement to ensure a greener, healthier and more prosperous future for the city by meeting Mayor Thomas M. Menino’s goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 25 percent by 2020 and 80 percent by 2050. Propelled by creativity and drive, Greenovate Boston will encourage continued sustainable growth within the city, making Boston the greenest in the United States. Visit for details.




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