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Baseline Findings from the Racial Equity Organizational Self-Assessments of Barr Foundation Climate Program GranteesSeptember 30, 2022
In 2021, the Barr Climate Program partnered with Community Centered Evaluation and Research (Community CER) to design and implement a Racial Equity Organizational Self-Assessment. The goals of the self-assessment were to provide Climate grantees with an organizational profile that allowed them to review their organization's progress in adopting and implementing racial equity practices and to help the Climate Program better understand organizations' efforts and how to target resources. This report is a summary of the findings of the Climate grantees as a group. The appendix includes the full survey used in the self-assessment.Access the full report by clicking the cover below
The Barr Foundation Climate Program initiated this Climate Resilience Analysis to establish a framework and methodology for analyzing progress towards climate resilience in the Greater Boston metro region. The goals of this project are to:Establish a rubric to measure progress on policies and practices forclimate resilience in Greater Boston, aligned with the BarrFoundation's goals for climate resilience.Identify the gains the Greater Boston region has made to becomemore climate resilient.Understand the changing landscape/context in Massachusetts onclimate resilience.Stantec, as the Barr Foundation's consultant, led the effort to create a survey to assess current policies and practices related to resilience at the municipal and regional level in Greater Boston. Responses to the survey have informed a qualitative resilience rubric that measures climate resilience in the region and identifies opportunities to strengthen it. The Barr Foundation Climate Program intends to utilize this assessment to shape its funding programs to meet the greatest areas of need.
This guide is made for Barr Foundation Climate Program grantees that may fall in different places along the racial equity knowledge and practice spectrum. It includes assessment tools and resources for having introductory conversations on racism and white supremacy, information about collaboration models and movement structures, available workshops, training, and consultants that you can leverage to further your learning. It was written and compiled by Kendra Lara for One Square World and edited by Adeola Oredola, Vatic Kuumba, and Andrea Atkinson.
For more than a decade, states and cities across the country have served a leadership role in advancing science-informed climate policy through city, state and multi-state efforts. The rapid pace by which state climate policy is emerging is evidenced by the number of new laws, directives and policies adopted in 2018 and the first half of 2019 alone. Currently, there is an active ongoing dialogue across the U.S. regarding the intersection of climate and equity objectives with efforts targeted at addressing needs of disadvantaged communities and consumers. This climate/equity intersection is due to several factors, including recognition by many cities and states that climate change is and will continue to have a disproportionate impact on certain populations and will exacerbate existing stressors faced by disadvantaged communities and consumers. Research indicates that a greater proportion of environmental burden exists in geographic areas with majority populations of people of color, low-income residents, and/or indigenous people. It is well known that certain households (including some that are low-income, African American, Latino, multi-family and rural) spend a larger portion on their income on home energy costs. States and stakeholders are realizing that a transition to a low-carbon future by mid-century will require significantly increased participation of disadvantaged communities and households in the benefits of climate and clean energy programs.
This UCS analysis provides a detailed view of how extreme heat events caused by dangerous combinations of temperature and humidity are likely to become more frequent and widespread in the United States over this century. It also describes the implications for everyday life in different regions of the country.We have analyzed where and how often in the contiguous United States the heat index—also known as the National Weather Service (NWS) "feels like" temperature—is expected to top 90°F, 100°F, or 105°F during future warm seasons (April through October). While there is no one standard definition of "extreme heat," in this report we refer to any individual days with conditions that exceed these thresholds as extreme heat days. We also analyzed the spread and frequency of heat conditions so extreme that the NWS formula cannot accurately calculate a corresponding heat index. The "feels like" temperatures in these cases are literally off the charts.We have conducted this analysis for three global climate scenarios associated with different levels of global heattrapping emissions and future warming. These scenarios reflect different levels of action to reduce global emissions, from effectively no action to rapid action. Even the scenario of rapid action to reduce emissions does not spare our communities a future of substantially increased extreme heat. For the greatest odds of securing a safe climate future for ourselves and the ecosystems we all depend on, we would need to take even more aggressive action, in the US and globally, than outlined in any of the scenarios used here. Our challenge is great, but the threat of not meeting it is far greater.
After a pause during the Great Recession, housing costs began rising again as the shortage of homes identified in 2001 began to widen. In some degree, this is because of nationwide changes that have increased demand for apartments and homes on small lots, especially in walkable, transit-connected places. But Greater Boston is also a victim of its own success. The many attractive characteristics of our region are drawing new households by the thousands. Young adults are forming new families and older residents are less likely to flee to Florida and Arizona. Overall, the population of the region is growing – in fact, Massachusetts is the fastest growing state in the Northeast. The disinvestment and population declines of earlier decades have been reversed, and the benefits are overwhelmingly positive. But, if housing supply cannot keep up with demand, these gains could be lost.From 2010 to 2017, the Metropolitan Boston region added 245,000 new jobs, a 14 percent increase. Yet according to the best data available, cities and towns permitted only 71,600 housing units over that same time period, growth of only 5.2 percent. When supply of new housing does not keep pace with the growing demand created by new workers and young adults forming new households, there is more competition for the existing units. Low rental vacancy rates (just above half of normal) and low for-sale inventory (just above a third of normal) make it a landlord and sellers' market, allowing them to charge top dollar to the highest bidder. Continued demand for labor, driven by economic growth and the retirement of the Baby Boomers is likely to continue driving strong population growth and housing demand well into the future. Compounding the issue is the fact that Baby Boomers will continue to need housing well after they retire, but are stuck in large single family homes because there are very few affordable options to downsize.For more information: https://ma-smartgrowth.org/resources/resourcesreports-books/
This Carbon Free Boston: Social Equity Report provides a deeper equity context for Carbon Free Boston as a whole, and for each strategy area, by demonstrating how inequitable and unjust the playing field is for socially vulnerable Bostonians and why equity must be integrated into policy design and implementation. This report summarizes the current landscape of climate action work for each strategy area and evaluates how it currently impacts inequity. Finally, this report provides guidance to the City and partners on how to do better; it lays out the attributes of an equitable approach to carbon-neutrality, framed around three guiding principles:1) plan carefully to avoid unintended consequences2) be intentional in design through a clear equity lens3) practice inclusivity from start to finish.
Carbon Free Boston was developed through comprehensive engagement with City staff, utilities, neighboring municipalities, regional authorities, state agencies, industry experts, and community representatives, among others, and was supported by comprehensive analysis using models that project feasible pathways to carbon neutrality by 2050. To ensure meaningful and actionable outcomes, we looked across scales and considered opportunities and challenges associated with specific actions at the city, state, and regional levels. We also addressed disparities in communities' capacity both to mitigate climate damages and to benefit from the transition to a carbon-neutral city.Supporting technical reports and other resources are also available on the project web site: http://sites.bu.edu/cfb/
As this report indicates, implementing CRB is necessary but not sufficient to prepare Boston's built environment for the freshwater and coastal flooding anticipated to result from climate change. Additional steps we must take include reforming existing tools, monitoring and evaluating flood adaptation activities, and establishing governance for district-scale coastal flood protection implementation. This report presents an array of options for moving forward. Over the next year or so, the City and relevant stakeholders will need to come together and decide which, if any, of these options provide the best paths forward for a more resilient city and region.We recommend that the Governor of Massachusetts and the Mayor of Boston establish a joint commission to explore the options and determine a path forward. There is an opportunity for us to learn from the transition to clean energy as we prepare for climate change impacts. We recommend that the legislature take a leadership role in this effort as well, in order to evaluate the different options available to the Commonwealth as we attempt to address this dynamic challenge.
As sea levels rise, more and more American homes and businesses will experience frequent, disruptive flooding that makes everyday life impossible. More than 300,000 of today's coastal homes are at risk of this untenable flooding within the term of a 30-year mortgage.Yet property values in most coastal real estate markets do not currently reflect this risk. And with short-sighted investments and policies at all levels of government concealing this growing problem, homeowners, businesses, communities, and investors are not aware of the financial losses they may soon face.In the coming decades, many coastal real estate markets will be strained by flooding, some to the point of collapse, with potential reverberations throughout the national economy. Individual homeowners and businessowners, banks, lenders, investors, developers, insurers, and taxpayers are poised to sustain large collective losses. Shrinking property tax bases could spell decline for many coastal cities and towns.We have scant time remaining to brace our communities, and our local and national economies, for this challenge. While there are no easy solutions, knowing our risk—and using that knowledge to create bold new policies and market incentives—will help protect coastal communities. Whether we react to this threat by implementing science-based, coordinated, and equitable solutions—or walk, eyes open, toward a crisis—is up to us right now.
Financing Climate Resilience: Mobilizing Resources and Incentives to Protect Boston from Climate RisksApril 1, 2018
This report, sponsored by the Boston Green Ribbon Commission with the generous support of the Barr Foundation, looks at different financial mechanisms for climate resilience. It provides recommendations for the City of Boston and the region on how to pay for climate adaptation investments.
In May 2017, Conservation Law Foundation (CLF), Boston Green Ribbon Commission (GRC), and Boston Society of Architects (BSA) convened two workshops bringing together over 60 experienced industry professionals from diverse professional backgrounds. The workshops focused on the legal implications of failing to adapt to known climate risks for both government entities and private sector professionals and the potential obstacles to considering and designing for climate risks. Workshop participants were asked to identify and think through on-the-ground barriers to adaptation and what role law and policy plays in encouraging or discouraging adoption of climate adaptation and resilience strategies. The purpose of the workshops and this Report has not been to identify climate resilient design strategies or regulatory solutions. Rather, the focus has been on how potential liability may advance or inhibit implementation of known and well-developed adaptation approaches.
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