Boston MA and LA are working together to fight climate change
Boston Strong news – Los Angeles, CA: Martin Walsh @MayorforBoston reports 11.18.2019
This week, I’m in Los Angeles with a coalition from the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce. This trip is part of a program called City to City, which connects Boston’s leaders in government and business with our counterparts in other cities. It allows us to share best practices for economic development and community resilience, and bring bold new ideas back home to Boston.
It’s never been more important for cities to work together. Right now, there is a real lack of Federal leadership on the issues that matter most to people in our neighborhoods. Cities like Boston and LA are rising to the challenge because our residents deserve better.
This is the second time in two months LA Mayor Eric Garcetti and I have met up to collaborate. In October, we both traveled to Copenhagen, Denmark for the C40 World Mayors Climate Summit. Our cities may be on opposite coasts, and our weather, population size, and biggest industries vary a lot. These differences (and sports rivalries) aside, Mayor Garcetti and I share a lot of the same priorities, especially when it comes to climate change. As wildfires continue to burn in the areas around LA, and coastal flooding becomes increasingly common in the Boston area, it’s clear to both of us that our residents’ health and safety depends on cutting emissions and building more resilient cities now.
In 2017 I announced plans to make Boston entirely carbon neutral by the year 2050, and from now on we’ll be dedicating at least 10% of our capital funding to projects that will protect our neighborhoods from storms, floods, and heatwaves. Mayor Garcetti has also made strong commitments to cut carbon emissions and address the specific risks Los Angeles is facing. Together, we’re elevating the urgency of climate action on the national and global levels. Both Mayor Garcetti and I both have leadership roles in the C40 cities, a network of nearly 100 of the world’s largest cities committed to honoring the Paris Climate Accord.
At the C40 Summit in Copenhagen last month, we and our fellow Mayors shared best practices, so we can all cut carbon emissions faster. We made new, accelerated commitments to eliminate waste and recycle more efficiently. And, in the absence of leadership from many national governments, including our own White House, we resolved to lead this work on behalf of the 700 million city dwellers we represent and the single planet we all share.
Other Mayors were very interested to hear what we’re doing in Boston, especially our newly updated Climate Action Plan, which includes a commitment for all new municipal buildings to be zero net carbon. There was also a lot of excitement about Resilient Boston Harbor, our plan to strengthen our entire 47-mile coastline with a system of absorbent parks and green space. Leaders from cities all over the world were impressed with how we’re protecting our neighborhoods from floods and heatwaves while improving quality of life at the same time.
A big theme of the Summit was the importance of youth leadership. In all of our cities, including Boston and LA, young people are speaking up and getting involved. It is inspiring to see them embrace this issue wholeheartedly. It’s our moral obligation to not let them down.
Mayor Garcetti said it best: “No one is doing more than cities, but no one is doing enough.” I agree. We’ve come a long way, making dramatic reductions to carbon emissions and speaking up on behalf of the people in our cities who are experiencing the effects of climate change on a regular basis. We’re tremendously proud of this work, but we will not become complacent. We will hold ourselves to the highest standard, because our future depends on it. Everything that’s important to people in our communities — from public health to clean air and water to making our economies more sustainable and equitable — depends on climate action. Teamwork among cities is crucial to our success.
In LA this week, Mayor Garcetti and I are continuing to work together. We’re discussing sustainable development, renewable energy, and how both of our cities can help green industries grow in order to create jobs and opportunities for our residents.
Even though I’ll be rooting against LA anytime our teams play one another, I continue to be very grateful for Mayor Garcetti’s friendship and his partnership on the issues that matter most to our residents. Climate action is one of the most important efforts either of our cities will ever undertake, and our partnership is helping us make historic progress that will benefit people throughout the United States and the world, for years and generations to come.
MAYOR WALSH JOINS FELLOW BLOOMBERG AMERICAN CITIES CLIMATE CHALLENGE WINNERS TO RELEASE NEW CLIMATE ACTION PLAYBOOK
If adopted by the 100 largest U.S. cities, the winning strategies could collectively reduce city emissions by 28.5 percent, meeting their share of the U.S. national Paris Target by 2025
COPENHAGEN, DK – Thursday, October 10, 2019 – Today at the 2019 C40 World Mayors Summit, Mayor Walsh joined Mike Bloomberg and Mayors from across the country to release the American Cities Climate Challenge Climate Action Playbook, a strategic brief to accelerate and deepen climate action in cities. The Playbook, informed by actions that the City of Boston is already implementing through the American Cities Climate Challenge, provides a roadmap for cities throughout the globe to reduce citywide emissions and create healthier, more resilient communities.
If the 100 largest U.S. cities took on the strategies outlined in the Playbook, their total combined emissions would drop by 28.5 percent, meeting their share of the U.S. national target of reducing emissions by 26-28 percent by 2025, the goal set under the Paris Agreement. This work would result in carbon reductions of 224 million metric tons, the equivalent of taking 47.5 million cars off the road for a year, or shutting down 57 coal fired power plants for one year.
“As a coastal city, Boston is on the frontlines of this global crisis and we understand the urgency to act. It’s never been more important for cities to lead on climate and Bloomberg Philanthropies has been and continues to be a critical partner in this work,” said Mayor Walsh. “This week, Boston released its updated Climate Action Plan, a roadmap to significantly reduce our emissions, especially in our buildings and across our transportation sector. Boston is proud to join with our partners as we continue to take major steps toward our ultimate goal of carbon neutrality by 2050, and honoring the commitment we made through the Paris Agreement.”
“Through the Bloomberg American Cities Climate Challenge, 25 major U.S. cities have taken ambitious action to fight climate change, and they’re already seeing strong results,” said Michael R. Bloomberg, C40 Board President, UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Climate Action, Founder of Bloomberg Philanthropies and Mayor of New York City 2002-2013. “Now, our Climate Action Playbook will help spread their successes to other cities across the U.S. and the world, drawing on the proven policies and programs that are reducing emissions, strengthening infrastructure, and improving public health. Cities are vital leaders in the global climate fight – and we’re giving them the tools to make a difference.”
As a part of the American Cities Climate Challenge, the City of Boston is working with world-class experts from leading organizations, including the Natural Resources Defense Council and C40, to meet its ambitious climate goals, ramping up action specifically in the two highest-emitting sectors in cities: transportation and buildings. The nine cities that presented the playbook — Austin, TX; Boston, MA; Honolulu, HI; Los Angeles, CA; Philadelphia, PA; Portland, OR; San Antonio, TX; Seattle, WA; and Washington, DC — are all among the 25 winners in the Climate Challenge.
Some of the most effective strategies outlined in the Playbook include: initiatives to set benchmarking and performance policies for building energy use; decarbonize buildings; improve public transit speed, reliability and user experience; expand urban pedestrian and micro mobility access; procure renewable energy for municipal demand; and promote EV adoption through infrastructure and education.
Earlier this week, Mayor Walsh released an update to Boston’s Climate Action Plan, accelerating action towards carbon neutrality and putting Boston on track to meet the goals laid out in the Paris Climate Agreement. The updates to the plan will significantly cut carbon emissions from Boston’s buildings — the single greatest source of emissions citywide — and Boston will take immediate action to require new City-owned buildings to lead by example and be zero net carbon. The plan sets Boston’s priorities for the next five years on carbon neutrality, with a goal of making Boston carbon neutral by 2050.
Citywide carbon emissions are currently down 21 percent — a 4 percent decrease from the previous year — and are on track to meet Boston’s carbon target for 2020, a 25 percent greenhouse gas reduction. Local municipal operations in fiscal year 2017 were already 41 percent less than 2005 levels, far exceeding Boston’s goal set for 2020.
Boston continues to be one of the world’s leading cities committed to urgently pursuing high-ambition climate action. As a leading city on climate action, Boston is already driving down emissions and preparing for sea level rise, extreme temperatures and storms. At the same time, Boston continues to be ranked the most energy efficient city in the country. The top ranking highlights the success of programs such as Renew Boston Trust, Community Choice Energy, and Boston’s long-standing building energy benchmarking program.
About the Bloomberg American Cities Climate Challenge
Recognizing that cities account for more than 70 percent of global carbon emissions, the Bloomberg American Cities Climate Challenge was formed with an investment of $70 million to enhance the work already being done by mayors across the U.S. and to support cities in the fight against climate change. The Bloomberg American Cities Climate Challenge aims to go beyond the theoretical and scale up high-impact urban climate solutions that are already proven to succeed – specifically, from the buildings and transportation sectors. World-class partners for the Bloomberg American Cities Climate Challenge will be led by the Natural Resources Defense Council and Delivery Associates. The Bloomberg American Cities Climate Challenge is part of Mike Bloomberg’s American Cities Initiative, a suite of more than $200 million in investments to strengthen city halls and advance critical policies.
About Bloomberg Philanthropies
Bloomberg Philanthropies invests in 510 cities and 129 countries around the world to ensure better, longer lives for the greatest number of people. The organization focuses on five key areas for creating lasting change: Arts, Education, Environment, Government Innovation, and Public Health. Bloomberg Philanthropies encompasses all of Michael R. Bloomberg’s giving, including his foundation and personal philanthropy as well as Bloomberg Associates, a pro bono consultancy that works in cities around the world. In 2018, Bloomberg Philanthropies distributed $767 million.