A Climate of Progress - City of Boston, Massachusetts Climate Action Plan Update 2011

On Earth Day, April 2011, Boston's then Mayor Menino released 'A Climate of Progress,' the updated Climate Action Plan for the City of Boston, which encompasses the recommendations from the 2010 report of the Climate Action Leadership Committee and the Community Advisory Committee.

The major goals of the updated action plan include:

  • Reducing community greenhouse gas emissions 25% by 2020 and 80% by 2050.
  • Incorporating projected climate change into all formal planning and project review processes.
  • Engaging all segments of the community in climate action and leadership.
  • Developing innovative businesses and workforce skills to take advantage of climate action opportunities.

One of the listed goals in this plan is to "promote economic equity." Boston explains that climate policies should recognize that resources will need to be directed towards those with the fewest resources to take action. Furthermore, climate actions should not exacerbate existing social and economic inequalities, and, whenever possible, should reduce those inequalities. In this document, Boston commits to expanding their green jobs program, repeating their green building contractor training course, and establishing hiring goals.

Adaptation is a central concern of the community engagement process that Boston City Government is developing around climate action. A working group of eight city agencies and departments, under the leadership of the Office of Environmental and Energy Services, coordinates municipal adaptation efforts. The report opens with an 'Action Plan Summary' which briefly notes all planned climate related actions and includes the following related to adaptation:

  • Give adaptation the same priority as mitigation
  • Develop an adaptation plan
  • Assess vulnerability
  • Remain flexible (Collect and analyze new data, establish an advisory group, revise plan triennially)
  • Include climate change in all planning and review
  • Review impacts on existing programs and infrastructure

The report provides details of all of the city's adaptation planning efforts and progress.  The coordination of city departments described addresses adaptation efforts in: Community Outreach and Intergovernmental Cooperation; Open Spaces and Wetlands; Planning, Zoning and Project Review; Water and Sewer Infrastructure; Emergency Preparedness; Parks and the Urban Forest; Transportation Infrastructure and Planning; and Boston Harbor Islands.  

In his 2007 executive order on climate action, Mayor Menino directed municipal departments to include “the likely effects of climate change” in planning and project development review. As City Government has become more acquainted with the tools and data associated with climate change, individual departments have found means to take incremental steps to increase Boston’s resilience and have started to identify larger and longer-term adaptation issues. The adaptation working group is coordinating these efforts to ensure that the work of individual departments coalesces into a comprehensive city-wide plan. 



Publication Date: 2011

Related Organizations:

  • City of Boston, Massachusetts


Resource Category:

Resource Types:

  • Plans (other)
  • Progress report

States Affected:


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