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City Manager's Message

Monday, September 25, 2023
" Climate change is impacting our lives and it’s a top priority for the City. As a community, we need to act with urgency and resolve to address this critical work. As a leader in this work, we have set ambitious goals and have opportunities for all in the community to play a valuable role. "

Dear Cambridge Community,

Climate change is the fight of our generation. As I read the news, I only grow more concerned as our scientists express increasing alarm over what we are learning. We are already seeing the accelerating impacts of global warming on our planet – extreme heat, massive wildfires that send smoke thousands of miles away, and severe storms that flood cities and towns. Our changing climate will impact not just the most vulnerable around the world, but also us locally in Cambridge. What we do in the next decade will set a course for the world that we are leaving for our children and the next generation.

Addressing global warming will require an enormous restructuring of our economy and infrastructure and it gives me hope that we are seeing significant action on both the federal and state level. The federal Inflation Reduction Act is making over $500 billion of climate investments and the state is pushing hard on increasing renewable energy generation and upgrading grid infrastructure that will change the way we use power. But much of the necessary change will also be local – what we do as cities to change the way we live, work, and travel.

The City of Cambridge has been a climate leader for many years and worked closely with the City Council, climate activists and experts, business and institutional leaders, and residents to chart a path forward. The Net Zero Action Plan was adopted in 2015 and set us on course with prioritized climate programs. This past June, we passed a major milestone with the adoption of an amended Building Energy Use Disclosure Ordinance (BEUDO), which mandates large, non- residential buildings to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions with a net zero requirement by 2035. BEUDO buildings represent ~60% of the City’s emissions and this regulation targets a 70% reduction in BEUDO emissions by 2035, representing the most aggressive city goal in the country. As of August 2023, we have also adopted a new Fossil Fuel Free regulation that will restrict fossil fuel use in new construction or major renovations. We have also expanded public electric vehicle charging stations.

This edition of The Cambridge Life will provide an overview of these major initiatives as well as so much of the other climate work that are happening across the City. You’ll also learn about what the City is doing to support residents and businesses, how you can make your voice heard, and actions you can take to make a difference – whether that’s signing up for Cambridge Community Electricity’s 100% renewable electricity program or using the City’s free composting program. To learn more about the City’s climate work and how you can help, visit www.cambridgema.gov/CDD/climateandenergy for more information. If residents would like to connect with someone in the City about this work, you are encouraged to email climate@cambridgema.gov.

We are at a global inflection point and while I’m proud of the work we have done, there is much more to do. As with all of our work, we will move forward together as a community.


Yi-An Huang

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