Climate Ready Boston: Municipal Vulnerability to Climate Change (2013)

Boston, Massachusetts' Mayor Thomas M. Menino administration’s report 'Climate Ready Boston: Municipal Vulnerability to Climate Change' identifies ways in which the City has and will prepare for the impacts of climate change on municipal operations. The report presents the assessments and key findings of Boston's Climate Preparedness Task Force. Short- and long-term vulnerabilities were examined for the City's sectors: Facilities and Capital Planning, Transportation and Water Infrastructure, Neighborhoods, and Public Health and Heat. This report was updated in 2016. Find the new version here

Under the leadership of the Chief of Environment and Energy, the Task Force is comprised of cabinet and department heads across municipal government, and was supported by a staff-level working group.The Task Force agreed that the major focus of this assessment would be internal facilities and operations. Furthermore, the goal would be to identify high-priority items and next steps, not necessarily solutions. The task force established the following procedure for completing the assessment: 

1. EES staff compiled summaries of likely consequences of climate change in Boston over the next 50-75 years.
2. Based on these summaries and their knowledge of their facilities, operations, and services, departmental staff prepared tables indicating vulnerabilities, priorities, and ongoing or next steps to reduce vulnerability.
3. Cabinet and department heads provided a summary for areas under their responsibility and a designation of the highest-priority items.
4. The Task Force developed City-wide key findings and the integrated report. The Task Force did not review departments’ determinations of their internal priorities.

The departmental assessments included in the appendix presents the next steps necessary to better understand and reduce the vulnerability of individual buildings to flood or heat, maintain or increase the level of service that the City provides, and increase its safeguarding of health and safety as the climate changes.

Based on these specific evaluations, the Task Force has five key findings:

  • Climate preparedness must be an important and explicit criterion in the City’s capital planning. The City’s critical IT, communications, and transportation centers need particular attention.
  • The effects of rising temperatures should be a high priority.
  • Municipal emergency plans should be reviewed and practiced in light of the expanded risks posed by climate change.
  • Close coordination with regional, Commonwealth, and federal partners is necessary to address cross-jurisdictional infrastructure vulnerability.
  • Education, engagement, and communication - within City government and with the community - are essential for preparing for both the short-term and long-term effects of climate change.


Publication Date: October 29, 2013

Related Organizations:

  • City of Boston, Massachusetts

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Resource Types:

  • Assessment

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