climate change

When It Comes to Climate Change, MBTA is Being Proactive

Since 2009, the MBTA says they’ve reduced carbon emissions by about 47 percent

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When it comes to climate change, the MBTA is planning for the future.

The agency is looking 20 to 30 years down the road.

When a big winter storm flooded the Long Wharf area in Boston in 2018, it sent water pouring into the Aquarium station along the Blue Line.

Since then, the MBTA installed a system of barriers that protect the station from rising water.

“We’ve done a good job protecting this, but there’s more to do with this station and there’s more to do with other stations,” said Andrew Brennan, MBTA Senior Director for Energy and Environment.

Aquarium Station is just one example of the improvements that have been made. There are now flood protection barriers around the Green Line’s Fenway Station. 

The Charlestown bus garage has also been hardened. The seawall next to it was crumbling, so it was rebuilt with a new community walking path.

“So now, not only is our major facility protected, but now it’s really nice access for people to the water,” Brennan said.

The MBTA said they have no choice but to plan for what could come next. 

“We’re thinking about what will climate change look like at the end of the century?” he added.

The T is also the largest consumer of electricity in the commonwealth and a big consumer of fossil fuels.

Since 2009, the agency says they’ve reduced carbon emissions by about 47 percent. And Brennan said it buys 100 percent of electricity from certified renewable sources and generates some of its power with solar arrays and wind turbines.

“The global benefits, the regional benefits from no greenhouse gases coming from the largest consumer of electricity is substantial,” Brennan said.

But there is still a long way to go. There are plans to convert the bus fleet to electric and a push to do the same for the commuter rail. 

“We’re moving forward on it but it is a generational shift. That’s definitely a long-term goal but it’s a goal that we’re on now and trying to launch now,” Brennan said.

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