Boston Launches Carbon Free Boston Initiative

Mayor Walsh

BOSTON – Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh announced the launch of Carbon Free Boston, the City’s next step to become carbon neutral by 2050.

The first step within the initiative, the Carbon Free Boston report, will analyze the cost and benefits of policies and technologies that could enable Boston to reach that goal. The report is slated to be completed and released next fall.

“Boston has committed to being carbon neutral by 2050,” said Mayor Walsh. “That’s no small feat, and we have to be smart about how we get there. Carbon Free Boston will start by ensuring that we understand all of our options before we decide on the right near-and long-term solutions. Those decisions will be made as part of a community-wide process to update Boston’s Climate Action Plan.”

The Green Ribbon Commission (GRC) and Boston University’s Institute for Sustainable Energy (ISE) and Department of Earth and Environment (E&E) are partnering with the City to produce the Carbon Free Boston report. The team will develop a modeling platform that will enable the city to replicate the Carbon Free Boston modeling in years to come, integrating the latest data and techniques. The report will quantify how various technologies and policies can reduce greenhouse gas emissions across four sectors – energy, buildings, transportation, and waste.

Mayor Walsh

“We’re fortunate to have partners like the Commonwealth, Green Ribbon Commission, and Boston University to help us be leaders on climate,” said Chief of Environment, Energy, and Open Space Austin Blackmon. “The challenge ahead will take even more innovative and collaborative solutions to get where we need to be.”

“In Massachusetts, we’re proud of our steadfast commitment to combating and preparing for climate change and the partnership we have with cities and towns across the Commonwealth who are working to reduce emissions and build resiliency at the local level,” said Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs Matthew Beaton. “We are pleased to support Carbon Free Boston and look forward to continued collaboration with the City of Boston to address this global challenge.”

“Science tells us without question that we must keep global greenhouse gas emissions to less than two degrees of increase, or risk planetary climate disaster. ¬†With no national leadership on the problem in the U.S., it falls to each state and city to take responsibility for eliminating its own carbon, and advanced cities like Boston must lead the way by making even faster progress in the immediate years ahead,” said Mindy Lubber, President and CEO of Ceres. “I congratulate Mayor Walsh on his commitment to finding the path to carbon neutrality and intend towork hard to ensure the success of that goal in my role as Chair of the Green Ribbon Commission’s Carbon Free Boston Working Group.”

“The Institute for Sustainable Energy coordinates the diverse expertise of BU faculty on sustainable energy and climate change,” said Professor Cutler Cleveland, Department of Earth and Environment. “We are excited to work to with Boston to realize its carbon neutral goal, and to help the City continue to be global leader on climate action.”

The City will use the findings in Carbon Free Boston and the ongoing climate resiliency work in Climate Ready Boston to inform next year’s update of the City’s Climate Action Plan. The City’s Climate Action Plan serves as Boston’s roadmap for reaching its goals of reducing greenhouse gas emissions and preparing for the impacts of climate change. In addition to the recent launch of Carbon Free Boston, the City is moving forward with its Zero Waste Boston initiative to develop recommendations for a comprehensive zero waste plan for Boston next year. The first advisory committee meeting is set to meet in January.

The City will host public events and provide ongoing updates on the progress of Carbon Free Boston. To be the first to learn about those opportunities, sign up for updates at

These initiatives support the goals of Imagine Boston 2030, Boston’s first citywide plan in 50 years, which serves as the comprehensive vision and framework for the future of the city. The plan identifies supporting carbon-neutral and climate-ready neighborhoods as a priority to elevate Boston’s climate preparedness. The plan aims to preserve and enhance Boston, while embracing growth as a means to address our challenges, such as climate change, and make the city stronger and more inclusive.