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First major milestone completed for Climate Ready Boston

June 14, 2016


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A team of scientists from across the state released updated climate projections for the City of Boston.

BOSTON -- Tuesday, June 14, 2016 -- Mayor Martin J. Walsh today announced the completion of the first major milestone of Climate Ready Boston by releasing updated climate projections for the City of Boston. Climate Ready Boston will use these projections to identify critical resiliency focus areas and develop cost-effective and socially conscious policies and projects to make Boston more resilient to the effects of climate change, including higher sea levels, more intense precipitation and more frequent heat waves.

"We're taking climate change seriously because we take the health and resilience of our City seriously," said Mayor Walsh. "I'm proud of the bold approach we're taking to prepare Boston for the impacts of climate change and am eager to tackle the next steps."

The next milestones for Climate Ready Boston include a city-wide climate vulnerability assessment and a climate resiliency roadmap that are expected to be complete by the end of the summer.

The updated climate projections were developed by a team of climate scientists from across the state led by UMass Boston. The team reviewed existing reports to recommend the most reliable and up to date information for the City. The findings confirm the seriousness of the changes that Boston will face. They also emphasize that the magnitude of the changes in the second half of the century depend greatly on our success in reducing our greenhouse gas emissions now.

"These projections show two things clearly: first, we have to prepare for change and second, if - along with the rest of the world - we can reduce our carbon emissions, we can prevent even more extreme changes from impacting our City," said Carl Spector, Commissioner of the Environment. "We have to work as a community to reduce our carbon emissions by changing the source of energy we use and the ways we work, study and travel."

For more on Climate Ready Boston, visit the new website for the initiative.

Climate Ready Boston will provide recommendations about how Boston's neighborhoods and infrastructure can respond to climate change and become more resilient. Findings will be incorporated into Imagine Boston 2030, as well as Go Boston 2030 led by the Boston Transportation Department, and resiliency planning led by the City's Chief Resilience Officer.

The initiative is led by the City of Boston in partnership with the Green Ribbon Commission and with support from the Massachusetts Office of Coastal Zone Management. The project team includes HR&A Advisors, University of Massachusetts Boston, Arcadis and Sasaki Associates.

Chief of Environment, Energy, and Open Space Austin Blackmon and Environment Commissioner Carl Spector joined city and state leaders this week in the Netherlands for the Green Ribbon Commission's Climate Innovations Study Tour. The purpose of the tour, which will also include stops in Denmark and Sweden, is to gain knowledge of cutting-edge European practices for achieving city carbon neutrality and long-term climate preparedness to advance the City and Commonwealth's climate strategies. This study tour will create opportunities for the Boston participants to interact with their European counterparts who will share the "inside story" of what it takes to achieve this level of change. For more information on the tour and a list of participants, visit their site.

"Assuring Boston's long-term resilience to climate change will require unprecedented public-private collaboration," said John Cleveland, Executive Director of the Green Ribbon Commission. "It is critical that we are all working from the same science-based projections as we do this work. The Climate Ready Boston projections establish a foundation for this cross-sector collaboration, and are further indication of Boston's pace-setting leadership in the national quest for climate change solutions."

Boston has long been a leader on climate action, starting with the 2007 Executive Order on Climate Action, which set the charge to include climate projections in city planning. The first Climate Ready Boston project in 2013 focused on municipal vulnerabilities. This current initiative is a next step to expand the focus to the entire Boston community and looks comprehensively at the city's infrastructure, built environment, natural environmental and neighborhoods.