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Boston partners with Cambridge, Copenhagen to address climate change

The City of Boston collaborates with Cambridge and Copenhagen to sign a climate memorandum focusing on the cities’ climate goals. PHOTO COURTESY GAVIN DAVIS

Boston is teaming up with cities near and far — from Cambridge and Copenhagen — in the fight against climate change.

Boston Mayor Martin Walsh, Cambridge City Manager Louis DePasquale and Copenhagen Mayor of Technical and Environmental Affairs Morten Kabell signed a climate memorandum of collaboration Thursday, according to Walsh’s office. This partnership is meant to help advance each city’s climate goals.

Walsh said during the signing that the collaboration highlights the importance of working with others on tackling big issues like climate change.

“[This partnership] really shows […] the importance of international collaboration that needs to happen here when it comes to the environment,” he said.

John Cleveland is the executive director of the Boston Green Ribbon Commission, which hosted the forum for the signing. He said working with Copenhagen will help to advance Boston’s techniques for fighting climate change.

“Having the city being in a position to learn closely from Copenhagen is definitely relevant with [the] mission,” he said. “They really are the world leader in shifting to low-carbon transportation modes and that could be really useful to us, too.”

Cleveland said the collaboration is vital to the cause.

“If we don’t stay on the adaptation side, there are changes that are going to happen no matter what we do and we certainly need to be prepared for them,” Cleveland said. “If we don’t do anything, we’re going to lose big chunks of the city to daily flooding at high tide.”

Andy Bean, the campaign coordinator at the Boston Climate Action Network, said this collaboration presents a big opportunity for Boston to learn from, converse with and implement the practices of other cities.

“I hope it brings more people into the conversation about climate change,” Bean said. “I think that’s a conversation that’s long overdue as a coastal city, and I think that it’ll bring in more people from the international community and we’ll be able to learn a lot from that, as well.”

Bean said this agreement is a step in the right direction, but there’s a difference between talking and taking action,

“The mayor is talking a pretty good game and it’s easy to be against a lot of current elected officials now that are in the federal government,” Bean said. “Translating that into effective, local action is something that we need to put a little more energy on.”

Several Boston residents said it is important that Boston is proactive about climate change.

Dinah Pu, 30, of South Boston, said the fact that the City is acting on climate change is vital.

“I feel as though with [President Donald] Trump, he doesn’t believe in it, or he doesn’t care to do anything about it, so the fact that people are not just following his lead and doing something about it is great,” Pu said. “It’s great that we’re taking an active stance on it.”

Keith Loranger, 31, of Fenway, said the collaboration is beneficial to Boston due to its proximity to the water.

“Boston is being proactive in their attempt to try and curb the effects of climate change,” Loranger said. “They’ve come to the realization that it will have a very real impact on our city, as well as other coastal cities especially and others in close proximity to waterways.”

Kellyn Campbell, 25, of Brighton, said working with other countries on this issue will work to fight climate change on a larger scale.

“I definitely think it’s a current issue and something that we should just be aware of and involved in as citizens of the world and not just as citizens of the United States,” Campbell said. “Working across countries is super important for something like this because one country can make huge strides and if it’s not being reflected in other parts of the world, then it’s not going to really have the same impact.”

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Breanne is a former editor-in-chief and city news editor. She is a senior in the College of Communication and an oxford comma enthusiast. Follow her on Twitter @breannekovatch.

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