This week Greenovate hosted a webinar about Boston’s climate preparedness project, Climate Ready Boston. Here are the key takeaways from the webinar – and some tips for how you and your community can prepare for a changing climate.
Climate Ready Boston brings the region’s top climate scientists together in order to project what climate change will look like in Boston. It provides local residents and policymakers with the best possible information to prepare for the changes ahead – including rising seas and extreme weather events.
This week, more than 80 of you tuned in to learn more about Climate Ready Boston in Greenovate’s first-ever webinar. Chief of Environment, Energy, and Open Space Austin Blackmon and climate Preparedness Program Manager Mia Goldwasser explained how climate change is projected to affect our city and answered many of your questions about how the city is working to prepare for them.
Here are some key takeaways from the webinar:
The Climate Ready Boston project comes at the same time as other citywide planning efforts like Go Boston 2030, which is concerned with creating a sustainable and accessible transportation future for Boston, 100 Resilient Cities Boston, which works to ensure that our city is resilient to the physical, social, and economic challenges of the 21st century, and Housing a Changing City: Boston 2030. Climate Ready Boston takes all of these focus areas into consideration as it develops recommendations to help our city plan for the effects of climate change.
Several coastal storms have come close to Boston in recent years, but have not caused widespread damage. You can see a map of these near-misses at 2:22. Climate Ready Boston is helping the city prepare for time when we might not be so lucky in the future.
Climate Ready Boston enlisted the region’s top climate scientists to produce a climate projections consensus report, which is released in June. See it here.
Climate Ready Boston is currently developing its vulnerability assessment, which will identify the neighborhoods and population who are at greatest risks for the projected effects of climate change.
Climate Ready Boston has identified several general populations that are most vulnerable to the effects of climate change in Boston: older adults; children; people with disabilities; medical illness; low- to no- income; or lack of english proficiency; and people of color. Starting at 12:56 you can see maps that show the intersection of vulnerable populations and places where the effects of climate change like flooding and extreme heat are projected to be most pronounced.
The main ways Boston will experience the effects of climate change are increased rainfall (4:39), increased overall temperature and increased extreme temperature events (5:45), and sea level rise (6:31).
Through the middle of this century, these projections are generally independent of emissions reductions – meaning that regardless of how successful we are in reducing emissions, we can start preparing for these changes now. Beyond the middle of this century, the intensity of effects like sea level rise and extreme weather events will depend largely on how successful we are in reducing greenhouse gas emissions worldwide.
The landscape of Boston has changed a lot over the last several millennia — due to geologic processes and man-made changes. Starting at 9:01, you can see an illustration of these changes that helps put future sea level rise projections into context.
Climate Ready Boston focuses on these guiding principles to ensure that the resiliency initiatives it recommends are sustainable, equitable, and feasible: support multiple benefits with each activity; make improvements as part of natural building cycles (in other words, not attempting to make all these changes all at once); incorporate local involvement; develop adaptive and flexible strategies; and work at the building, neighborhood, citywide levels so that many different solutions can reinforce one another.
- As Climate Ready Boston develops its resiliency recommendations, it focuses on four major categories: protected shores; resilient infrastructure; adapted buildings; and prepared and connected communities.