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Dr. Alison Brizius appointed commissioner of Environment Department

Dr. Brizius has extensive background in supporting the City of Boston in mitigating and adapting to the negative effects of climate change.

Mayor Kim Janey announced that she has appointed Dr. Alison Brizius as Commissioner of the Environment Department. In this role, Dr. Brizius will be responsible for supporting the Department in achieving its mission of enhancing environmental justice and quality of life in Boston by protecting air, water, climate, and land resources, as well as preserving and improving the integrity of Boston's architectural and historic resources. Dr. Brizius will assume the role previously held by Carl Spector, who has retired after 16 years with the Environment Department. 


Dr. Brizius has extensive background in supporting the City of Boston in mitigating and adapting to the negative effects of climate change. Dr. Brizius is currently the Director of Climate and Environmental Planning for the City of Boston, a position she has held since 2017. She manages the Environment Department's work on climate adaptation and resilience, greenhouse gas reduction, air and noise pollution, wetlands protection, parking freezes, and solid waste. Prior to her position with the City, Dr. Brizius was the Executive Director of the Center for Robust Decision making on Climate and Energy Policy (RDCEP) at the University of Chicago, a multi-institutional interdisciplinary center founded to improve society's ability to respond to climate change and energy supply challenges. She received her Ph.D. in Physics from the University of Chicago. 

“Right now, our communities are experiencing the impacts of climate change and it has never been more critical to take urgent action to protect our residents’ health and quality of life,” said Mayor Janey. “Dr. Brizius has a wealth of knowledge, experience and leadership that makes her the right person to lead the charge in reducing our city’s carbon emissions and preparing our residents for the effects of climate change.” 

As Environment Commissioner, Dr. Brizius will oversee programs related to climate mitigation and adaptation, environmental protection, historic preservation, and other aspects of sustainability. Dr. Brizius and her colleagues in the Environment Department are responsible for steering the City of Boston toward the goals outlined in Boston’s Climate Action Plan Update, which outlines strategies to reduce carbon emissions and prepare for the impacts of climate change. Among related programs, the Environment Department includes the Air Pollution and Control Commission, the Conservation Commission, and the Boston Landmarks Commission. Dr. Brizius began her new role on Monday, August 2nd. 

Mayor Janey’s Administration is taking steps to recognize and address the risks of climate change, and to protect Boston’s urban ecosystem. Mayor Janey’s Fiscal Year 2022 budget includes significant investments for environmental resilience and climate justice including:

  • $48 million for Phase 2 and 3 of Renew Boston Trust, which is designed to identify energy retrofit project opportunities in City-owned buildings to create future energy savings.
  • $5 million to support the development of a Climate Ready Boston Harbor Study that will examine the feasibility of measures along and within the harbor to reduce vulnerability of coastal flooding due to sea level rise caused by climate change.
  • $20 million to design and implement a signature, climate resilient waterfront park along the Fort Point Channel.
  • $4 million in workforce development and training opportunities for green jobs in the environment.
  • $1 million in workforce development and training opportunities for zero waste and mobility jobs.
  • $500,000 to support residents in making energy efficient upgrades to their homes.
  • $340,000 to support a new Healthy Places Initiative targeted for environmental justice populations, who often live in hotter neighborhoods with less tree canopy cover.
  • $200,000 towards the preservation and maintenance of historic and cultural sites in Boston. 

Mayor Janey also recently appointed Reverend Mariama White-Hammond as Chief of Environment, Energy, and Open Space for the City of Boston. The Cabinet includes the Environment Department and the Parks and Recreation Department. As Chief, Rev. White-Hammond oversees policy and programs on energy, climate change, sustainability, building safety, historic preservation, and open space.

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