Special to the Gazette
As the City of Boston continues to lead nationally on urgent climate action, Climate Mayors announced that Mayor Martin J. Walsh has been named Chair of the coalition of 468 U.S. mayors committed to bold environ-mental action and upholding the Paris Climate Agreement. In this role, Mayor Walsh will help catalyze efforts to combat climate change at the local level, provide an example of climate action for leaders at all levels of government, and advocate for an economic recovery founded in equity and environmental stewardship. Mayor Walsh succeeds Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, who founded Climate Mayors, and has also served as the network’s Chair since its launch in 2014.
“I’m very proud to be named Chair of the Climate Mayors,” said Mayor Walsh. “As Mayors, we’re close to the people we serve. We see how climate change is already impacting the residents in our cities, and we know how important it is for us to take decisive action for the sake of public safety and public health. American cities have led on climate action for a long time, and especially over the last four years. As we welcome in a federal administration committed to urgent, bold climate policies, the Climate Mayors are looking forward to accel-erating our efforts.”
In the absence of national leadership over the last four years, Climate Mayors has remained committed to the tenets of the Paris Climate Agreement, which the Trump Administration withdrew from in 2017. In June 2018, the City of Boston hosted the International Climate Mayors Summit, which provided a criti-cal opportunity for some of the most influential mayors and leaders to strate-gize, collaborate, and learn from one another about approaches to the global crisis of climate change. Climate Mayors has continued to advance and promote progress and send a clear signal nationally and internationally that the U.S. has not turned its back on its commitments. In July 2020, Climate Mayors sent a letter to Congressional leaders advocating for bold investments in an economic recovery that injects more resilience, equity, and sustainability into our com-munities in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Since founding Climate Mayors in 2014, Mayor Garcetti has helped shape Cli-mate Mayors into a robust, engaged network of more than 450 members and cemented it as a leading voice in climate advocacy,” said James Ritchotte, Di-rector of Climate Mayors. “As we look ahead to this new phase under the lead-ership of Mayor Walsh, the Climate Mayors network expresses its deepest grati-tude to Mayor Garcetti for galvanizing our membership and for his commitment to addressing the climate emergency. We’re honored to have Mayor Walsh serve as the new Chair, knowing that he will expand on this legacy, and drive an ambitious agenda focused on a green and equitable recovery across the coun-try.”
Mayor Walsh has made bold climate action a top priority since beginning his term in 2014. The City of Boston’s 2019 update to the Climate Action Plan outlined a five year roadmap to accelerate action towards achieving car-bon neutrality by 2050, and put Boston on track to meet the goals laid out in the Paris Climate Agreement. In order to decarbonize large buildings, the City of Boston is currently developing an emissions performance standard that, when implemented, is projected to decrease citywide emissions nearly 40 per-cent by 2050. To decrease municipal emissions, Mayor Walsh last year signed an Executive Order for all new City-owned buildings to target a Zero Net Carbon standard, and recently required that all new affordable housing construction funded by the City must meet Carbon Neutral performance standards.
Boston continues to build on its long track record of driving down emissions while simultaneously preparing for sea level rise, extreme temperatures, and storms. In each year of Mayor Walsh’s tenure so far, Boston has ranked among the top two cities in the country for energy efficiency by the American Council on an Energy Efficient Economy, highlighting programs such as Renew Boston Trust, Boston’s long-standing building energy benchmarking program, and the upcoming Community Choice Electricity program. The City is also implementing climate solutions to make Boston’s most vulnerable communities more resilient to the impacts of climate change. Climate Ready Boston and Resilient Boston Harbor are the City’s comprehensive efforts to fortify Boston’s 47-mile coast-line against sea level rise and storm surges, while improving public access to the waterfront and greenspace. These goals are supported by Imagine Boston 2030, Boston’s first citywide plan in 50 years, that helps to ensure that climate plays a role in all city planning and growth.