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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/
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.
Metropolitan Boston Health Care Energy & Greenhouse Gas Profile: 2011 through 2015, and 2020 ProjectionMay 1, 2017
Metro Boston hospitals have made significant energy reduction and GHG progress. Completed in May 2017, this analysis of more than 24,000 energy and greenhouse gas (GHG) records covering 22 million square feet of metro Boston hospitals shows they cut their energy's greenhouse gas emissions by 29 percent between 2011 and 2015, are on track to reduce emissions 33 percent by 2020, and 47% by 2020 compared to "business as usual" energy growth of 1.5% per year. The 47 percent reduction is the equivalent to eliminating the annual greenhouse gas emissions of 42,220 passenger vehicles.
While the broad outlines of how climate change would impact Boston have been known for some time, it is only recently that we have developed a more definitive understanding of what lies ahead. That understanding was advanced considerably with the publication of Climate Change and Sea Level Rise Projections for Boston by the Boston Research Advisory Group (BRAG).The BRAG report is the first major product of "Climate Ready Boston," a project led by the City of Boston in partnership with the Green Ribbon Commission and funded in part by the Barr Foundation. The BRAG team includes 20 leading experts from the region's major universities on subjects ranging from sea level rise to temperature extremes. University of Massachusetts Boston professors Ellen Douglas and Paul Kirshen headed the research.The BRAG report validates earlier studies, concluding Boston will get hotter, wetter, and saltier in the decades ahead (see figures below). But the group has produced a much more definitive set of projections than existed previously, especially for the problem of sea level rise. BRAG also concluded that some of the effects of climate change will come sooner than expected, accelerating the urgency of planning and action.
The purpose of this guide is to help stakeholders in the City of Boston understand how regional electricity markets function in New England and Massachusetts, and to introduce some of the important choices about the design of those markets currently being discussed in the region. The guide was prepared by the Conservation Law Foundation for the Boston Green Ribbon Commission, a network of business and civic leaders supporting the implementation of the City of Boston's Climate Action Plan (CAP). It is one of three information products commissioned by the GRC. The other two focus on: 1) an overview of how regional electricity and gas infrastructure decisions are made in New England, and 2) an overview of options for large scale institutional renewable energy purchasing.
The report outlines how regional electricity and natural gas infrastructure decisions are made. It examines the current proposals to expand electricity transmission lines and natural gas pipelines into New England, as solutions to electricity and gas price and reliability issues, and briefly discusses the major implications of both.
The report discusses the important role the public sector is playing in achieving Boston's greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets. City, state, and federal agencies together own a large portion (more than 11%) of the city's building stock, and each level of government has committed to a goal of 25% reductions in GHG emissions by 2020. The report highlights four examples of action by public agencies in Boston that are going beyond pilot projects and are pursuing energy innovation on a portfolio-wide basis. These initiatives demonstrate how aggressive climate targets are both attainable and often beneficial for generating cost savings and helping streamline operations -- benefits that could be widely replicated in other sectors.
The report addresses the conundrum that although the price of renewable energy has dropped, the cost of completing a transaction for wind or solar energy remains high. This is because the deals are customized and complicated and because there is usually a steep learning curve for institutional purchasers like universities, hospitals, and businesses, which are accustomed to a more traditional energy procurement process. The report identifies and explains common approaches and strategies to guide institutional purchasers, with the goal of reducing both flattening the curve and reducing the costs.
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