Home Climate justice Boston mayor signs sweeping zero-emission requirement for tall buildings by 2050

Boston mayor signs sweeping zero-emission requirement for tall buildings by 2050

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Boston Mayor Kim Janey (R) on Monday signed an ordinance requiring tall buildings in the city to achieve zero carbon emissions by 2050.

The ordinance, which was unanimously approved by city council, applies to about 3,500 buildings over 20,000 square feet, or about 4 percent of the city’s buildings. The structures targeted by the ordinance represent approximately 60% of Boston’s emissions, The Associated Press reported.

The measure is an amendment to a 2013 ordinance requiring buildings of at least 35,000 square feet to report their annual electricity and water consumption to the city. The original ordinance also required building owners to show evidence of their energy reduction efforts every five years.

Building owners can choose to improve energy efficiency, switch to clean, efficient electric heating systems or fossil fuel-free systems, and purchase clean energy to meet the city’s needs.

Janey called the prescription “A monumental achievement that will have positive impacts on our residents for generations to come”, adding that the effects of climate change have a disproportionate weight on “the most socially vulnerable communities.”

“We know that the negative effects of climate change bear a disproportionate burden on our most socially vulnerable communities,” Janey continued. “I am grateful for this collaboration with City Council to actively minimize the challenges associated with climate change and create more resilient communities.”

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“By adopting and signing this transformative climate legislation, we are codifying equity and resilience in large buildings in our city”, said Councilor Matt O’Malley, the sponsor of the measure, which was modeled on similar pans in Washington, DC, New York and St. Louis.

“I am proud to have led and collaborated with environmental justice organizations and various stakeholders across the city to create aggressive but achievable sustainability goals for a carbon neutral future,” O’Malley concluded.


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