On trip to Vatican, Wu boasts Boston’s climate policies

Local News

Wu joined her family, Gov. Maura Healey, state Climate Chief Melissa Hoffer, and two BPS students at the “Vatican Climate Summit: From Climate Crisis to Climate Resilience.”

Mayor of Boston Michelle Wu delivers her speech during the “From Climate Crisis to Climate Resilience” 3-day summit organized by The Pontifical Academy of Sciences at The Vatican, Thursday, May 16, 2024. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)

Mayor Michelle Wu addressed her first international audience at the Vatican Thursday to tout Boston’s position as a leader in climate action.

Wu spoke at a discussion called “Governance, Energy,” where she detailed some of Boston’s climate-forward policies — including an opt-in utility program for residents to choose greener energy and an ordinance to force large buildings to slowly reduce emissions.

“(We) then heard from mayors and governors from around the world about what’s happening in their communities right on the front lines, both the risks and the challenges but also incredibly important and inspiring stories of progress that is happening every single day,” Wu shared on social media.

Wu said with so little snow this year, her 6- and 9-year-old sons are missing out on frosty Boston winters, The Boston Globe reported from the Vatican.

”The energy I’m talking about now is the energy of a mother who doesn’t want to have had her last snow day ever with her kids,” she said, the Globe reported. “It’s the energy of a mom who wants her kids to know how beautiful the Charles is, frozen over on a clear December night.”

Wu joined Governor Maura Healey and state Climate Chief Melissa Hoffer in the city-state for the “Vatican Climate Summit: From Climate Crisis to Climate Resilience.” Two Boston Public Schools students from BCLA-McCormack — recently renamed Ruth Batson Academy — also joined as part of an eight-person summit of young people for “Voices of the Youth.”

Healey gave a keynote address at the opening session of the summit on Wednesday, where she announced a new initiative, the Climate Careers Fund.

“The heroes of the clean energy revolution are the train operators, farmers, electricians, heat pump installers, wind turbine technicians – the workers who make all of this possible. We need people who are skilled and ready to fill these jobs,” Healey said in a statement.

The multi-day conference is hosted by the Pontifical Academy of Sciences and their Academy of Social Sciences, which is under the leadership of UMass Boston Chancellor Marcelo Suárez-Orozco.

California Governor Gavin Newsom and New York Governor Kathy Hochul also attended the summit. Wu is the only American mayor to attend the conference, according to the Globe.

Also on Wu’s itinerary is a meeting with Rome Mayor Roberto Gualtieri and visits to a few Italian towns after the conference. She’ll visit Sulmona on Saturday, a town of about 25,000 east of Rome that has ties to Boston’s North End. 

Then, she’ll visit Coreno Ausonio, a small town south of Rome where her children have family ties. Her children’s great great-grandparents emigrated from the small town, which was liberated from Nazi occupation 80 years ago. Wu and her family will attend a celebration of the anniversary on Sunday and meet the town’s mayor.

“Our goal in Boston is to make our city a home for everyone from every background, every generation, every walk of life,” Wu said, the Globe reported, “and for me, it has been a treasure to represent the jewel of our home.”

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