It is hard to overstate the importance of these amendments, which will provide teeth, transparency, and tools rarely utilized in other cities in order to place meaningful requirements aimed at reducing the emissions of large buildings in Boston—where the building sector is responsible for more than 70 percent of the city’s GHG emissions annually. Reducing these emissions will mean better health for all residents, lower energy bills, and an increase in jobs needed to ensure the new standards and requirements are adhered to.
On November 19, 2020, Councilor Matt O’Malley held a (virtual) Boston City Council hearing to revisit previous efforts to promote net-zero-carbon (NZC) requirements for all new buildings as the city continues to undergo its second-largest development boom in history. Much has changed in the intervening three-plus years since Councilor O’Malley—with the support of BCEC—first raised the need to focus on reducing emissions from buildings (responsible for more than 70% of Boston’s GHG emissions) if the city is going to meet its carbon-neutral goals.
The Boston Clean Energy Coalition (BCEC) stands in solidarity with the Movement for Black Lives and all those working toward racial justice. BCEC was established in early 2017 to address the growing existential crisis of climate catastrophe, with a particular focus on grassroots organizing. The destabilization of our global climate is rooted in the same exploitative and […]
Much of what you hear in this report will not surprise you. But more people need to know. Please share this video widely; the producer and reporter have stated that whether NBC greenlights future stories on the subject—which they want to do—depends upon on how well this story does online. We need as many views of the story as possible to get future stories focusing on this topic.
On March 21, 2019, Councilors O’Malley and Wu held a City Council hearing as a first step to determining if they have support to require that all new municipal buildings henceforward will be net-zero carbon (NZC). This makes sense as the only course of action in light of the findings of the Carbon Free Boston Summary Report, released earlier this year. (See post below for more details about that report.) The report indicates that to meet the goal of being carbon neutral by 2050 promised by Mayor Walsh, all 87,000 buildings in Boston need to be NZC; any new construction henceforward should be NZC at the outset or it will just need to be retrofitted at great expense at a later date.
In January 2019, BU’s Institute for Sustainable Energy delivered the much-anticipated Carbon Free Boston Summary Report. The report evaluates key strategies across the building. transportation, waste, and energy sectors to inform the City’s Climate Action Plan update and is meant to provide a pathway based on real-world data by which Boston can reach carbon neutrality by 2050.
This is an excerpt from Bill McKibben’s piece in the April 4 issue of The New York Review of Books:
“Over the last decade, there has been a staggering fall in the price of solar and wind power, and of the lithium-ion batteries used to store energy. This has led to rapid expansion of these technologies, even though they are still used much less than fossil fuels: in 2017, for instance, sun and wind produced just 6 percent of the world’s electric supply, but they made up 45 percent of the growth in supply, and the cost of sun and wind power continues to fall by about 20 percent with each doubling of capacity. . . . Analysis suggests that in the next few years, they will represent all the growth. We will then reach peak use of fossil fuels, not because we’re running out of them but because renewables will have become so cheap that anyone needing a new energy supply will likely turn to solar or wind power.”
Families in the Merrimack Valley who are back in their homes but have no gas and can’t cook meals are being aided by deliveries of free induction cooktops. BCEC members Nathan Phillips and Ania Camargo and their Gas Leaks Allies groups have raised over $10,000 toward the cooktops on a GoFundMe page and through donations from cooktop makers.
Councilor O’Malley’s first order of NZC business in the new year was to refile (per City Council requirements when a new calendar year begins) hearing orders. Toward this end, on January 16, he refiled a slightly reworded order to amend the definition of the floor area ratio (FAR) when developers are constructing a net-zero-carbon building as well as an order requiring all new municipal buildings be net-zero carbon.
In an effort to bring transparency and social accountability to the use of the City’s pension fund investments, three city councilors will hold a hearing open to the public on Feb. 28 at 2 pm. Public and written testimony accepted.