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Last updated: 7/2/19

Climate Action Plan update

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

The 2019 Climate Action Plan update will be our most action-oriented update yet. The actions listed in our 2014 Climate Action Plan are still informing our team's work each day. But, this year’s update will emphasize a small number of high-impact, priority actions to reach carbon neutrality by 2050. These priorities will build on the results of the Carbon Free Boston Report. They will also emphasize the City’s goals to improve equity, growth, access to mobility, and health.

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Contribute to the update

Please share your ideas and recommendations to reduce building and transportation emissions.

What is a Climate Action Plan?

The Climate Action Plan is Boston's roadmap for how we will reach our greenhouse gas reduction goals. With the Climate Action Plan, Boston will continue to develop as a vibrant and sustainable city for current and future generations. We plan to champion the actions needed to meet the global challenges of climate change.

In addition to meeting Boston’s climate goals, the Climate Action Plan will lead to a host of other benefits. By going carbon free and getting climate ready, we are also:

  1. providing clean air
  2. improving mobility and access
  3. building a green economy with blue collar jobs, and
  4. protecting all Bostonians.

In other words, this work is essential for a healthy, thriving and resilient Boston.

Carbon Neutrality

Recent climate reports show we’re heading towards more extreme climate change than previously thought. This includes rising sea levels and severe storms and temperatures.

In the face of this challenge, Boston is taking action to stop our contribution to climate change. Between 2005 and 2016, we reduced the amount of carbon pollution we emit each year by 18 percent. Learn more about our emissions.

Mayor Walsh has a vision for reducing our emissions to fight climate change. He has pledged to make Boston a carbon-neutral city by 2050. Carbon neutrality means that in 30 years, our community can only release as much carbon pollution as our environment can safely absorb.

The science is clear: Climate change has given us hotter and more volatile weather; it has amplified the frequency and impact of severe storms; and it has increased the rate of sea level rise. An international panel of scientists just released a new report saying major impacts could hit worldwide as early as 2040. We don’t have to look far for early warning signs. A dumpster floating down the street at Fort Point in January. Blue Line tracks underwater in March. Floodwaters in Christopher Columbus Park, reaching the Rose Kennedy Greenway for the first time. King tides that routinely flood the Harbor Walk. Driftwood on a soccer field at LoPresti Park in East Boston. The hottest and most humid summer in our recorded history — this year. Climate change is very real to Bostonians.

Update process

The 2019 Climate Action Plan update brings together our City’s leaders, experts, community members, and advocates. The goal is to build roadmaps for implementing our highest priority climate actions.

Three groups are helping to create this common vision:

  1. the Steering Committee
  2. the Working Group, and
  3. the Street Teams.

The Steering Committee is made up of leadership from the City of Boston’s various agencies and departments. They convene to ensure that every part of City government is working together to achieve our carbon neutrality goal.

The Working Group is made up of experts, advocates, residents, City and state staff, and business and nonprofit leaders. They are helping to develop implementation-focused action roadmaps that work for everyone. Learn more about the Working Group here.

The Street Teams are made up of youth volunteers. They are engaging residents where they are by:

  • attending community meetings,
  • speaking with small business owners, and
  • soliciting feedback from people as they walk through our City.

We want to make sure that residents from all walks of life have a chance to contribute their ideas and values to the plan in a way that’s convenient and accessible for them. With this combination of engagement, we feel confident that the 2019 Climate Action Plan will create a vision for a carbon neutral City that benefits all residents.

Check out the Greenovate Community Calendar for upcoming Street Team Events. If you can't make it to an event, you can take the street team survey in English or in Spanish.

  • January 2019: Carbon Free Boston report release
  • February 2019: CAP Steering Committee and Working Group launch
  • Spring 2019: Community street teams and CAP Working Group meetings
  • Summer 2019: CAP Update Report development and CAP Working Group meetings
  • Fall 2019: Final report release

Climate Action Plan Update Working Group

Working Group

The 2019 Climate Action Plan Update is about implementation. The Working Group is helping to develop roadmaps for key actions to reduce our emissions. Members are identifying:

  • potential strategies
  • milestones
  • equity measures
  • resources, and
  • communications needs.
Working Group members include:
  • community groups
  • businesses
  • trade organizations
  • local advocacy groups, and 
  • industry associations.

Greenovate Boston 2014 Climate Action Plan

The Greenovate Boston 2014 Climate Action Plan Update built upon seven years of work in reducing citywide greenhouse gas emissions and preparing for the unavoidable impacts of climate change. Beginning with the 2007 Executive Order, Boston set greenhouse gas reduction goals of:

  • 25 percent below 2005 levels by 2020, and
  • 80 percent by 2050 for municipal operations

The executive order also requires the City to plan and prepare for the impacts of climate change.

In addition to the City’s ongoing initiatives to mitigate and adapt to climate change, the completion of the 2019 Climate Action Plan Update will signify Boston's compliance with the Paris Agreement according to C40's Deadline 2020 initiative.