$6.5 million in federal funding will launch “Renew Boston” to reduce greenhouse gas emissions seven percent below 1990 levels by 2012
March 31, 2009 – (RealEstateRama) — Mayor Thomas M. Menino, joined by Former Vice President Al Gore, this afternoon named the Boston Climate Action Leadership Committee, a 21 member group representing a broad spectrum of the community charged with charting Boston’s collective response to climate change. The Mayor also announced that $6.5 million under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act will be awarded to implement Renew Boston, an innovative public-private partnership that will boost energy efficiency and alternative energy services for Boston residents and businesses.
“Mayor Menino is a leading U.S. Mayor who has stood by me to push for solutions to the climate crisis here in Boston, throughout New England, and in Washington, DC,” former Vice President Al Gore said. “I’m proud to be with him here today as he leads by example and continues to push an innovative green agenda for the City of Boston.”
“Together, we will take Boston’s leadership as a model green city to another level and foster a low carbon economy that supports investment and job creation,” Mayor Menino said. “I am honored that former Vice President Al Gore, the world leader on climate protection, has joined us to launch the next generation of green policy development in Boston.”
The Climate Action Leadership Committee is the Mayor’s latest action addressing climate change, including joining ICLEI’s Cities for Climate Protection Campaign in 2000, being an early signatory to the U.S. Conference of Mayor’s Climate Protection Agreement, and issuing a Climate Action Plan and Executive Order in April 2007.
The Mayor’s creation of the Boston Climate Action Leadership Committee and Renew Boston are supported by grants of $250,000 each from the Barr Foundation and the Boston Foundation. “Our grandchildren will ask us what we did when it became clear that climate change was coming. Let’s tell them that our city came together to start another revolution, this time a green one,” Patricia Brandes, Executive Director of the Barr Foundation, said. “We still have time to act, to protect our city and our planet, and we can do it in a way that creates jobs and benefits neighborhoods.”
“If the climate change challenge is to be met, cities must lead the way and Boston should be in the vanguard,” said Paul S. Grogan, President and CEO of the Boston Foundation. “The Boston Foundation believes that local initiatives like this will be the key to national progress.”
The Executive Order established challenging goals for municipal operations, including reducing annual greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions seven percent below 1990 levels by 2012 and 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050. The Order also called for establishing a community body to advise the City on plans to meet its own goals and to recommend climate goals and programs for all of Boston. Mayor Menino has asked the Leadership Committee within one year to:
- Review the City’s Climate Action Plan and make any appropriate recommendations;
- Update the community-wide greenhouse gas emissions inventory and set goals for community-wide reductions;
- Recommend to the Mayor and the community actions necessary to meet climate action goals and ways to maximize associated opportunities;
- Evaluate the risks to Boston from sea-level rise and other likely consequences of climate change, and recommend actions for the City and the community to take to reduce these risks;
- Prepare educational materials for Boston households and businesses describing global climate change and climate actions that they can take; and
- Identify economic and workforce development opportunities associated with climate action and the clean technology sector.
The Mayor has charged the Leadership Committee to make concrete policy recommendations, similar to his Green Building Task Force that in 2007 resulted in Boston becoming the first major city in the nation to require private development green building standards. Policy recommendations will build on significant steps that the City has already taken, including purchasing 12 percent renewably generated electricity for municipal operations, requiring all new city-owned building projects to meet the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED Silver standard, and embarking on a program to plant 100,000 trees by the year 2020.
The Leadership Committee will inform the Mayor’s ongoing creation of Renew Boston, an innovative public-private partnership serving Boston residents and businesses that will coordinate provision of energy efficiency and alternative energy services with the Mayor’s green collar workforce initiative. Renew Boston will implement the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, signed into law by President Obama on February 19. With the $6.5 million to be awarded under the Recovery Act’s Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant, Renew Boston will create a $1.3 million Residential Energy Efficiency Program and a $1.3 million Revolving Loan Fund. Renew Boston will also support municipal facility energy savings targeting the shovel-ready energy efficiency projects identified under the City’s Integrated Energy Management Plan and a performance contract for $1.3 million of the top projects on the City’s $13 million list of “shovel ready” municipal solar electric, solar thermal, and wind energy projects.
Mayor’s Climate Action Leadership Committee
Mindy Lubber, President, CERES
Jim Hunt, Chief of Environment and Energy, City of Boston
James McCarthy, Harvard University and Board Member, Union of Concerned Scientists
Theodore Landsmark, President, Boston Architectural College
Timothy Healey, Chief Executive Officer, EnerNOC
Bud Ris, President and Chief Executive Officer, New England Aquarium
Kalila Barnett, Executive Director, Alternatives for Community & Environment
Bryan Koop, Senior Vice President, Boston Properties
Honorable John Connolly, At-Large Boston City Councilor
Tedd Saunders, Executive Vice President Hotel Lenox, and President, Eco-Logical Solutions
James Coyle, General Agent, Boston Building Trades
Richard Dimino, President, A Better City
Judith Nitsch, President, Nitsch Engineering
Mark Buckley, Vice President, Staples
Charles McDermott, General Partner, Rockport Properties
Margaret Williams, Executive Director, The Food Project
Stephanie Pollack, Associate Director, Center for Urban and Regional Policy, Northeastern University
David Queely, Program Director, Trust for Public Land
Viki Bok, Jamaica Plain resident
Reverend Raymond Hammond, Pastor, Bethel AME Church and Chair, Ten Point Coalition
Rebecca Park, Boston Latin School, Youth Climate Action Network