Climate Ready Boston: Menino talks climate preparedness on Hurricane Sandy anniversary

Hurricane Sandy bears down on U.S. Mid-Atlantic coastline.
Hurricane Sandy bears down on U.S. Mid-Atlantic coastline.

One on the one year anniversary of Superstorm Sandy, Boston Mayor Thomas Menino on Tuesday gave an update on the Hub’s strides in climate change preparedness since February, when he announced new measures to protect the city from rising tides and storm surges.

“Over the past two decades, we have achieved a remarkable amount of success in our climate preparedness and mitigation work here in Boston… I’m proud of our continued progress towards being the greenest city in the United States,” Menino said at the New England Aquarium, where he was joined by city environmental officials to unveil a Climate Ready Boston report.

Since February, the Boston Redevelopment Authority to survey the climate preparedness of new developments and existing buildings, officials said. The Environment Department is drafting a new local wetlands ordinance and the Inspectional Services Department and Boston Public Health Commission have enhanced outreach and enforcement for flood proofing.

Six percent of the city would have been inundated with flood waters had Superstorm Sandy hit five hours earlier, during high tide, officials said.

“While climate preparedness is an ongoing long-term effort, the City has made significant advances this past year,” said Brian Swett, Chief of Environment and Energy. “We now have a deeper understanding of how climate change will impact Boston, and what the public and private sectors can and should do to prepare.”

Menino also said that the city continues to make progress in reducing its carbon emissions. Between 2005 and 2012, Boston has reduced its annual greenhouse emissions from city operations by about 51,000 metric tons – 27 percent. Officials said the reduction is equivalent to the removal of roughly 10,000 cars off the road each year.

Officials credited energy conservation measures at Boston Public Schools and Boston Public Libraries, the Public Work’s, the LED streetlight conversion program, uel switching at Boston Public Health Commission and city-wide steam fuel switching and co-generation.

City officials have set a goal of reducing community-wide greenhouse gas emissions by 25 percent by 2020 and 80 percent by 2050.

Follow Morgan Rousseau on Twitter: @MetroMorgan
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