Boston Greenovate Plan

The 2014 Boston Greenovate Climate Action Plan describes Boston’s progress towards reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions 25% by 2020 and 80% by 2050, and preparing for the impacts of climate change. There is a marked focus on adaptive strategies and solutions and less emphasis on climate impacts, across five sections of the Plan: Neighborhoods, Large Buildings and Institutions, Transportation, Climate Preparedness, and 80x50 (Boston’s 80 percent by 2050 GHG reduction goal). 

In 2011, the City released A Climate of Progress, Boston’s first community-wide plan, which set the same GHG reduction goals for all of Boston, while preparing for the impacts of climate change. The 2014 Update continues the 2011 Plan’s approach of integrating climate preparedness into all planning, program development, and project reviews undertaken by the City. It also advances implementation through increased community and intergovernmental engagement.

As new priorities, the 2014 Plan incorporates:

1. More comprehensive climate preparedness strategies;
2. Cross-cutting themes including social equity, economic development, and public health and safety;
3. More extensive and inclusive community engagement;
4. An updated, more rigorous greenhouse gas inventory and projections;
5. A look at Boston’s 80 percent by 2050 GHG reduction goal (80x50);
6. A website that tracks implementation, performance measures, and lessons learned.



Social equity is one of the cross-cutting themes featured in this plan. In support of this, Boston commits to: (1) using climate preparedness to spur economic development and create jobs; and (2) target assistance to low-income residents, small businesses and other vulnerable populations. They also stress the importance of community engagement to ensure that the needs of all communities are heard.


In 2016 the Neighborhood of Affordable Housing, Inc. (NOAH) launched its ClimateCARE program, which seeks to locally implement the Climate Action Plan in East Boston. See the funded project proposal here

Focusing on Climate Preparedness, Greenovate’s strategies and actions are within the categories of: Planning and Infrastructure, Community Engagement, Trees and Open Space, Buildings and Energy.  

Some of the specific Climate Preparedness actions as related to trees and open space include:

Expand green infrastructure requirements: Explore legislative and regulatory means of expanding requirements for green infrastructure and coastal protection, such as through a local wetlands ordinance.

Grow the urban tree canopy: Develop and implement a clear plan for significantly increasing tree-canopy cover.

Explore community-wide stormwater fee:This fee can be based on a property’s permeable surface area and stormwater management efforts.

Accelerate neighborhood stormwater management actions: Explore a pavement-to-parks/water absorption plan for neighborhoods.

Increase support and space for urban agriculture: Expand urban agriculture and study the resilience of Boston’s regional food system.

Example community engagement strategies for Climate Preparedness are to:

Create a neighborhood climate action network
Pilot neighborhood-level sustainability planning
Create a one-stop shop for sustainability resources

Each section of the plan recognizes the cross-cutting themes of economic development, social equity, public health and safety, and community engagement. Whereas each action details what the City intends to do, these themes answer the question of how these actions should be implemented and how they contribute to the City’s broader goals.

The Greenovate Boston 2014 Climate Action Plan Update builds upon seven years of work in reducing citywide GHG emissions and preparing for the impacts of climate change. The 2007 Executive Order for climate action planning initiated Boston setting GHG reduction goals of 25 percent below 2005 levels by 2020 and 80 percent by 2050 for municipal operations, and required the City to plan and prepare for the impacts of climate change.


Publication Date: January 15, 2015

Related Organizations:

  • City of Boston, Massachusetts

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  • Plans (other)

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