Earlier today, Greenovate hosted a webinar about Boston’s climate preparedness initiative, Climate Ready Boston.
More than 60 of you tuned in to learn more about Climate Ready Boston, the current projects the city is involved with to address climate change preparedness, and ways to get involved. Mia Goldwasser is the Climate Preparedness Manager for the City of Boston, walked attendees through the Climate Ready Boston report, including the proposed solutions, and ways to get involved. Towards the end of the webinar.
Webinar Q & A
Q: Are there ways residents of surrounding communities (Somerville, Winthrop,etc.) can get involved in Climate Ready Boston? Or is it only for Boston residents?
A: It is not technically only for Boston residents, though we’re definitely focused on the municipal boundaries of the city of Boston in much of the report, but obviously many of the recommendations and the types of strategies would apply more broadly to other areas. I would definitely recommend staying involved and engaged, but also other communities in the greater Boston area are also working on climate change. The City of Somerville has conducted a climate vulnerability assessment and is launching a climate change planning process now. City of Cambridge is also a leader here, having conducted a vulnerability assessment and is working on a climate adaptation plan now. Other communities in the metro area as well, so reach out to your local municipality if you’re interested while staying engaged with the Climate Ready Boston process. Also a note through MAPC, the Metropolitan Area Planning Commission which conviens the 101 municipalities in Eastern Massachusetts. They’re also convening a Metro Boston Preparedness Task Force of the 14 municipalities in the greater Boston area, and we meet regularly to discuss regional climate issues and actions.
Q: When will the South Boston program get underway?
A: We have an RFP (Request for Proposals) out right now. If you go to the City of Boston’s procurement website and search for South Boston Waterfront Coastal Resilient Strategies- these kind of keywords- you’ll see our RFP and get a sense of the scope of the proposed work and what the project is all about. We hope to have a consultant team on board by July, and have the program underway later this summer and into the fall. Being complete early next year.
Q: What sensitivity levels did you incorporate into the climate change impacts? Recent scientific finding suggest that flooding will be worse sooner than has been anticipated.
A: The Boston research advisory group was comprised of top climate scientist and experts from universities across the state. This was the first component of Climate Ready Boston and it came out last June and it was using the most updated projections at the time. The team actually working on the sea level rise projections were publishing their findings in real time in scientific journals. The 9, 21, and 36 inches that we’re using were decided on because they are likely scenarios, not worst case scenarios, that we had really complete data sets for. We recognize that they are not the worst case scenarios, and this is why it is important to continue to update these projections every few years to make sure that we’re continuing to work from the most updated science.
Q: How are you collaborating with Cambridge and Somerville in the climate planning and implementation?
A: Primarily, the infrastructure piece comes from MAPC’s Metro Boston Preparedness Task Force. This is where we’re all sharing findings, work, collaborating on which projections, which assumptions that we’re using in planning, different strategies. We’re also bringing in climate resilience leaders from the different infrastructure agencies and from our different partners to come and share new information and programs so that we’re all building our capacity together. I also wanted to mention for the Charlestown project, the flooding that is projected in Charlestown is also projected to impact parts of Somerville and Cambridge. They are key partners on that project because as both of those cities plan for the impacts of climate change, we’re looking at similar areas where they intersect.
Q: There seems to be a lot of ways to get involved, which do you recommend to have the most impact?
A: The Climate Ready Boston Leaders program is a really important way to get involved. It is really important for us to spread the message of Climate Ready Boston and to increase awareness of these challenges and these opportunities and all of this work throughout the City of Boston.