Manifest Boston Stories

HUB Madness Lightning Interview: Carbon Free Boston

Written by Zoe Dobuler | Apr 1, 2019 6:38:31 PM

HUB Madness 2019 presented by BNY Mellon is in full swing! We caught up with the team behind Carbon Free Boston, a project you voted into the Epic Eight in the science category. Read on below to get the inside scoop on their work, and what they'll be up to in 2019. 

Some background on the project:

Carbon Free Boston is a path-breaking new report from Boston University and the Green Ribbon Commission that's paving the way for a more sustainable future for our city. The report found that Boston can achieve its goal of carbon neutrality by 2050 using existing technologies, but that the city must move quickly and boldly to make carbon neutrality a reality. Undertaken at the request of Mayor Martin J. Walsh, Carbon Free Boston provides the analytics behind the actions available to City leaders, in concert with Commonwealth and regional policy-makers, to sharply deepen energy efficiency while reducing demand, electrify as much possible, and purchase 100% clean energy.

Where did the idea for the project come from?
In 2016, Mayor Marty Walsh committed to making Boston carbon-free by 2050 to achieve the goals set out by the Paris Climate Accord. Through the Boston Green Ribbon Commission, a team of researchers at Boston University’s Institute for Sustainable Energy was tasked with exploring ways for how the City could get there.

What has been the biggest challenge of the project? How have you overcome it?
Ensuring that aggressively reducing emissions can be done in a way that can benefit all of Boston’s residents regardless of background and location. With support from the Leventhal Foundation, we have been able to integrate a social equity analysis into our technical work. This has enabled us to show a strategy for how climate action can improve people’s lives through better access to public transit or through healthier resilient and efficient homes.

What's next for the Carbon Free Boston project? What are you looking forward to accomplishing in 2019?
We’re setting our sights on assessing carbon neutral strategies across the region to provide other municipalities and key stakeholders with the insights necessary to reduce their emissions to zero.

What did you think was the coolest thing to come out of Greater Boston last year (aside from your project, of course)?
The Metro Mayor’s Coalition’s commitment of adding 185,000 housing units in the urban core by 2030. People who live in an urban environment have a smaller carbon footprint, so welcoming more people into our cities is an important aspect of fighting climate change.

Cast your vote for Carbon Free Boston before the Epic Eight round ends on April 3!