Boston Named Winner in Bloomberg American Cities Climate Challenge

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Mayor Walsh

BOSTON – The City of Boston has been named a winner of the Bloomberg American Cities Climate Challenge as Boston works to strengthen and accelerate its progress toward reducing carbon emissions.

The City will receive a support package, valued at up to $2.5 million, to increase low-carbon mobility choices and improve energy performance of Boston’s building sector.

“We’re serious about building a more climate-ready Boston. If we’re to be effective in preparing for rising sea levels and more intense storms, we have to accelerate our actions to reduce carbon emissions. Addressing climate change now is critical to ensuring a greener, healthy Boston for future generations,” said Boston Mayor Martin Walsh. “I’m grateful to Bloomberg for recognizing the power of cities to address climate change as we continue to move forward with our ambitious climate goals.”

Earlier last week Mayor Walsh laid out a comprehensive and transformative vision that will invest in Boston’s waterfront to protect the City’s residents, homes, jobs, and infrastructure against the impacts of rising sea level and climate change. Announced in his annual speech to the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce, the Mayor’s plan, “Resilient Boston Harbor,” lays out strategies along Boston’s 47-mile shoreline that will increase access and open space along the waterfront while better protecting the city during a major flooding event. This week’s announcements demonstrate Boston’s commitment to building a more resilient Boston through both adaptation and mitigation.

Resilient Boston Harbor builds off of Imagine Boston 2030 and uses the City’s Climate Ready Boston 2070 flood maps and coastal resilience neighborhood studies to focus on Boston’s most vulnerable flood pathways. The strategies laid out in the plan include elevated landscapes, enhanced waterfront parks, flood resilient buildings, and revitalized and increased connections and access to the waterfront. The strategies will require collaboration and funding between federal, state, private, philanthropic and nonprofit partners.

Further strengthening the City’s commitment to addressing climate change from all angles, Boston was selected as a winning city in the Bloomberg American Cities Climate Challenge because of its innovative and ambitious climate action plans to reduce air pollution and city-wide emissions from its building and transportation sectors. Boston will use the support to accelerate climate action by:

  • Supporting further deployment of the Go Boston 2030 bike network and neighborhood slow streets traffic-calming program to create safe and stress-free walking and biking in the areas that need them most,
  • Introducing additional programs to reduce single-occupancy car use and support electric vehicle adoption to make low-carbon transportation the mode of choice for residents and commuters alike,
  • Providing Boston’s commercial and institutional buildings access to innovative project finance programs to improve their energy performance,
  • Helping large buildings to benefit from existing energy performance incentives and cutting-edge technologies, and
  • Building workforce development programs and an energy resource center with an emphasis on serving low-income communities.

“When Bloomberg Philanthropies announced the Climate Challenge, cities all across the country, with both Republican and Democratic mayors, put forward thoughtful and innovative proposals,” said Michael R. Bloomberg. “Selecting the ones with the boldest goals – and the most realistic plans for reaching them – was not easy. But Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Boston, and D.C. all stood out, and we’re glad to include them in the group of winners. With our federal government asleep at the wheel, cities are more important than ever in the fight against climate change – and these cities are stepping up to the challenge. Congratulations to them all.”

The Bloomberg American Cities Climate Challenge is a $70 million dollar program that will accelerate 20 ambitious cities’ efforts to tackle climate change and promote a sustainable future for residents. Through the Climate Challenge – which is part of Bloomberg’s American Cities Initiative, a suite of more than $200 million in investments to strengthen city halls and advance critical policies – Bostonis accepted into a two-year acceleration program, will be provided powerful new resources and access to cutting-edge support to help meet or beat the city’s near-term carbon reduction goals.

The program is led by experts at the Natural Resources Defense Council, Delivery Associates and others, to help winning cities meet – or beat – their near-term carbon reduction goals, from creating high-impact policies to putting them into action. The resources include a philanthropy-funded team member to facilitate the development and passage of high impact policies, training for senior leadership to assist with implementation of their proposed climate plans, and citizen engagement support to maximize community buy-in.