More than three years after introducing her Green New Deal plan for Boston as a mayoral candidate, Mayor Michelle Wu said in an interview last week that the city will not be participating in a state program that will allow 10 communities to ban developers from including fossil fuels in new buildings. The pilot program is the only way for Massachusetts communities to take this step without violating state regulations.
Wu’s decision not to apply for the program came as a surprise to environmental advocates and legislators who have been trying to move the state away from heating and cooling new structures with fossil fuels. Constructing buildings that are only powered by electricity is considered among the low-hanging fruit of plans to decarbonize. Buildings account for roughly 70 percent of Boston’s greenhouse gas emissions.
The adoption of Boston’s new building code already goes a long way toward getting fossil fuels out of new buildings, said Kyle Murray, Massachusetts program director at the clean energy advocacy group Acadia Center.
The code is “strong and will really help drive down emissions,” he said. “So I still think Boston is going to do some amazing things, but still — I’m a little disappointed.”
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