Will Boston deserve to host next year’s climate summit?

At the global climate summit in China last week, Secretary John Kerry announced that Boston will host next year’s summit.

That’s great, but is Boston really a climate leader? The city is growing fast. How is that growth going to happen without hugely expanding our carbon footprint ?

A Better City just released a report saying that greater Boston’s population will grow 17.5% between 2010 and 2030. That growing population will need more electricity and natural gas and generate more waste, the report adds. We’re facing the same contradiction China is facing: growth vs survival.

All that new development (plus transportation) will have to run on clean energy or we’ll completely miss our greenhouse gas reduction goals. On top of that, existing infrastructure will have to cut its fossil fuel consumption.

If the City doesn’t have a plan for managing new development that’s a lot more concrete than the Climate Action Plan, and that’s backed up with development guidelines that the BRA actually enforces, it’ll look pretty silly at the summit. Who’s going to figure out how that can be done and identify the policy changes that’ll make it happen?

Greenovate Boston’s great coordinator, Jessica Feldish, told us that the City will be updating the community soon about progress for the Summit and future planning to make decisions about deep decarbonization in Boston. And last week the city’s Green Ribbon Commission announced a new working group and initiative called Carbon Free Boston to look at this very issue. Check it out at ttp://www.greenribboncommission.org/work/80×50-initiative/— and stay involved to make it happen!

Here’s more info from Greenovate.

“Climate Ready Boston has released its updated climate projections consensus report, which outlines what climate change will look like in Boston through the year 2100. Here’s the short story — we’re likely to experience extreme temperatures, sea level rise, extreme precipitation, and coastal storms.

“Not surprising, right? But here are a few interesting highlights that may make you look deeper:

  • If global emissions aren’t curbed, sea level could rise by four feet in Boston Harbor by 2070.
  • The number of days to reach over 90 degrees could be as high as 90 – essentially the entire summer.
  • The intensity of these changes in Boston will depend largely on how successful the global community is in reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

“True resiliency requires all Bostonians on board, and the first step is to be informed. Please share this news with your friends, neighbors, and co-workers….

“The effects of climate change are serious, but here’s the good news: equipped with these projections, which were developed by the region’s top climate scientists, Boston is in an incredible position to be ready for climate change now, and be a global leader in climate change resilience.

“In fact, just last week Mayor Walsh returned from his trip to the US-China Climate-Smart/Low-Carbon Cities Summit in Beijing, as a part of his work with networks like C40 Climate Cities and the Compact of Mayors to act on climate at the city level. While there, he announced that Boston will host next year’s Summit.

“The updated climate projections consensus will provide the foundation for CRB’s Vulnerability Assessment, Resiliency Initiatives, and Implementation Roadmap, all of which will be released this year. We’ll continue to keep you informed and share opportunities to get involved.”

One thought on “Will Boston deserve to host next year’s climate summit?

  1. Sara Driscoll June 17, 2016 / 11:00 pm

    Great keeping us informed! One way to meet these GWSA guidelines is to make sure that each and every building even being considered has solar, geothermal, wind or some other sort of renewable source as it’s main source of energy. We need to be supporting community solar projects or microgrid projects…..the City of Boston needs to step-up!……….Sara