Mayor Walsh joined Governor Patrick this morning for the exciting and timely announcement of more than $50 million to help local communities in Massachusetts prepare for the impacts of climate change. Under the new leadership of Mayor Walsh and following the release of Climate Ready Boston: Municipal Vulnerability to Climate Change, the City of Boston is ready to work with the state to ensure that Boston is prepared for sea-level rise and intense storms like Hurricane Sandy.
“Climate change preparedness is a high-priority for me and my administration,” Mayor Walsh said at his morning’s event. “Hurricane Sandy and Nor’easters Nemo and Hercules all hit Boston within hours of our high tide, barely avoiding 100-year flood events that could have flooded approximately six percent of our land mass.”
Of the $50 million in funding, $40 million will be distributed for renewable, back-up power supply. The City’s report specifically identified the need to enhance Boston’s Neighborhood Emergency Shelter’s back-up power supply. This new state initiative could help our shelters and other critical facilities in Boston be more resilient to extreme weather and other impacts of climate change.
Boston is already leading the way in this area with projects such as a solar-powered fueling station for emergency vehicles. In continuing to bring clean, reliable, local energy to Boston, we reduce our greenhouse gas emissions to avoid the unmanageable, and manage the unavoidable by being prepared.
The remainder of the funds announced by the Governor will go towards seawalls and other improvements to protect the Massachusetts coastline from rising sea levels and intense storms. Boston could see as much as six feet of sea level rise by the end of the century, presenting a huge challenge to City Hall, as well as state and federal governments.
“Boston must begin planning and making investments today to ensure the city is prepared for our future climate,” said Brian Swett, Chief of Environment and Energy. “The cost of inaction is far greater than the cost to prepare.”
The 2014 Climate Action Plan Update will lay the foundation to address these long-term challenges. The conversation has already started on Engage.GreenovateBoston.org. We rely on the valuable input from residents, the design community, our scientific community, businesses, institutions, and all of Boston to help shape our future and prepare Boston for climate change. The solutions are out there; we need your input on how to apply them in Boston so that our neighborhoods become better prepared and more vibrant, livable communities.