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Last updated: 3/7/19

Reducing emissions

Carbon Free Boston is our initiative to become carbon neutral by 2050 by significantly reducing greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change.

Global warming is causing our climate to change. Recent climate reports show we're heading towards extreme climate changes unless we can act now. Mayor Walsh has pledged to make Boston a carbon-neutral city by 2050. This means that in 30 years, our community can only release as much carbon pollution as our environment can safely absorb.

Carbon Neutrality Program Manager

Email Kat Eshel to learn more about Carbon Free Boston.

Learn about Boston's emissions
How we get to carbon neutrality
Get involved

Stay up-to-date through Greenovate Boston.

Go Boston 2030

Go Boston 2030 is the City's bold vision for our transportation future. This plan will help the City of Boston meet our emissions reduction goals.

Learn about Go Boston 2030

Air Pollution Control Commission

The Boston Air Pollution Control Commission works to maintain healthy air quality and noise levels in the City of Boston.

Climate Action Plan Update

Boston's 2019 Climate Action Plan update will set us on the path toward carbon neutrality.  

2019 plan update

Carbon Free Boston report

We wanted to better understand the impact of policy options for reaching carbon neutrality.

The report focuses on key sectors to reduce emissions: 
  1. Energy
  2. Buildings
  3. Transportation
  4. Waste

The analysis is informing the City’s ongoing update of our Climate Action Plan. The Boston Green Ribbon Commission created the report, which was led by researchers at Boston University's Institute for Sustainable Energy.

Carbon Free Boston report

Boston University's Institute for Sustainable Energy

Boston University's Institute for Sustainable Energy (ISE) modeled policies and technologies to meet the City’s emissions reductions targets. The institute also coordinated the work of consultants and staff working with the City and the state, academics, and others with expertise in specific sectors.

Boston Green Ribbon Commission

The Boston Green Ribbon Commission collaborates with local, state, and regional players. The commission advised Boston University's Institute for Sustainable Energy and other experts during the Carbon Free Boston Report process.


By the numbers

In 2017, the Boston community emitted 6.1 million metric tons of greenhouse gases (GHGs). Emissions came from energy use:

  • in buildings and other facilities, and
  • from transportation.

This is an almost 4 percent decrease from 2016. Overall, Boston’s 2017 emissions represent an 21 percent decrease from 2005. This reduction has occurred at the same time that the population and the number of jobs in Boston have increased. The decrease is in large put due to a cleaner electric grid and buildings switching from fuel oil to natural gas.

The graph shows Boston's emissions from 2005 to 2017, as well straight lines to Boston's 2020 and 2050 goals. The graph indicates that Boston's community emissions are decreasing on pace to meet the 2020 goal.

The City of Boston has set GHG reduction goals of 25 percent below 2005 levels by 2020 and carbon neutrality by 2050.

Read through the inventory report and methodology.

We are America’s climate champion, with a target date of 2050 for going 100% carbon-neutral.

Mayor Martin J. Walsh, State of the City 2017


Boston celebrates National Energy Efficiency Day by encouraging all residents to participate in Renew Boston
Oct 2

We're updating our Climate Action Plan

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Aug 22

Next step taken toward implementation of Community Choice Aggregation

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Jul 31

Mayor Walsh calls on renewable energy developers for multi-city, large-scale projects

Boston Skyline
Jun 12

Carbon Free Boston project update

Carbon Free Boston launched