Last week, the White House recognized the City of Boston as a national leader in the fight against climate change when it selected the City as one of 16 winners of its fall Climate Action Champions competition. The competition recognizes communities throughout the country that have taken decisive action to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions, build climate resilience, and serve as a model for other cities. The award comes on the heels of Boston’s recognition by the Rockefeller Foundation as one of the world’s “100 Resilient Cities.”
The White House commended Boston on its commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 10 percent by 2020 and 80 percent by 2050. It also highlighted the city’s Climate Action Plan, which lays out a two-fold path for the City: first, to identify the critical steps that must be taken to meet its bold emissions reductions commitments, and, second, to prepare for the impacts of climate change that particularly threaten coastal communities like Boston. In recent comments on the plan’s latest draft, CLF applauded the city’s attention to the risks of climate change and urged stronger and more specific emissions reduction targets and performance measures.
These most recent comments are just the latest contribution CLF has made to Boston’s Climate Action Plan – in addition to our ongoing commitment to ensuring that its dual priorities are fulfilled. Our success in increasing access to public transit and cleaning up stormwater pollution is especially important to advancing the goals of the plan and bringing about a healthier, more resilient Boston:
- Public Transit: Our work avoided service cuts at the MBTA and kept the 2012 fare increase to a reasonable level, while also expanding transit service through improvements along the Fairmount Line. CLF also played a key role in securing additional funding for the MBTA through the Transportation Finance Act of 2013.
- Stormwater Pollution: Our work to curb stormwater pollution has resulted in an important co-benefit to Boston’s ability to withstand the increasingly severe effects of climate change. In August 2012, CLF, EPA, and the Boston Water and Sewer Commission settled our lawsuit against the Commission over its control of polluted stormwater. A key piece of the settlement included the Commission’s commitment to use green infrastructure to modernize its stormwater pollution control system. The use of green infrastructure to combat stormwater pollution not only cleans up urban waterways, but also prepares cities to deal with sea level rise, storm surges, intense rain events, and other impacts from climate change.
Thanks to these and other efforts, and as a result of the White House designation, Boston will now benefit from a host of targeted federal programs to further bolster its climate resilience, as well as a White House–appointed coordinator to identify additional assistance opportunities and foster communication across federal agencies, national organizations, and foundations. Meanwhile, CLF remains committed to advocating on behalf of New Englanders to improve and implement Boston’s ambitious Climate Action Plan.