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Mayor Walsh announces regional climate action agreement

May 13, 2015

Mayor's Office

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Mayor's Office

 Mayor Martin J. Walsh today announced the Metro Boston Climate Preparedness Commitment, a regional agreement to establish a common policy framework throughout the Metro Boston area to prepare for climate change. Mayor Walsh made the announcement during the Metro Mayors Climate Preparedness Summit, hosted by the City of Boston and the Metropolitan Area Planning Council’s (MAPC) Metro Mayors Coalition (MMC). Mayor Walsh also announced the creation of the Metro Boston Climate Preparedness Task Force, which will coordinate regional, cross-government action to prepare for the effects of climate change.

“The Metro Boston region is a dense coastal area that is highly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change,” said Mayor Walsh. “Cities and towns in the Greater Boston area share environmental vulnerabilities, and a regional platform will ensure coordinated and complementary resiliency and climate action efforts. Thank you to my fellow mayors and the Metropolitan Area Planning Council for your commitment to this cause. ”

The Metro Boston Climate Preparedness Commitment, signed by the 14 MMC cities and towns, is a pledge for the municipalities to take coordinated action on critical regional infrastructure and systems, and to develop best practices for local government, policy recommendations for state and federal partners, and funding and investment vehicles to meet the challenges of climate change. By signing onto the agreement, member municipalities agree to sharing information, assessments, plans and identifying crucial gaps; integrating climate change in policies and programs; coordinating preparedness action; identifying regional priorities; and identifying opportunities for coordination and collaboration and acting on those opportunities.

In addition, the agreement creates the Metro Boston Climate Preparedness Task Force, which will meet approximately every two months to identify, evaluate and implement strategies for preparing the Metro Boston region for climate change, and to develop best practices for local government, make policy recommendations and set regional priorities based on the goals outlined at the summit.

“Neither the Atlantic Ocean nor the weather respects municipal boundaries,” said Somerville Mayor Joseph A. Curtatone, Chairman of the MMC. “The cities and towns of Metro Boston share built infrastructure and natural resources. If our region wants to mitigate the threat climate change and increase our resiliency, we also need to share common principles and work toward shared goals. This summit is a critical first step toward establishing those common principles and goals.”

“We will only be successful at tackling climate change if we do so together,” said Marc Draisen, Executive Director of the MAPC. “This issue is happening right here, right now, and we must approach it collaboratively if we want to make a difference.”

The half-day summit, held at UMass Boston, was a first-of-its-kind convening on regional climate preparedness. Members of the Metro Mayors Coalition include mayors from Boston, Cambridge, Chelsea, Everett, Malden, Melrose, Medford, Newton, Quincy, Revere, Somerville, Brookline, Winthrop and Braintree. In addition representatives of regional, state and federal agencies, including MassPort, the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority (MWRA), the Environmental Protection Agency, the Commonwealth's Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs and the Massachusetts Department of Transportation, were in attendance.

The summit was the result of a call by Mayor Walsh on the second anniversary of Hurricane Sandy, in October 2014, to host a regional summit to better prepare for the impacts of climate change and to coordinate a regional approach with the MAPC's Metro Mayors Coalition.