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Michelle Wu’s victory heralds a new age of climate politics

The Hill, November 2021

Michelle Wu recently became the first woman and the first person of color ever to be elected mayor of Boston. In a diverse and unequal city with a legacy of white men dominating politics and power, this election represents a transformation that is so much more than representation and Mayor-elect Wu’s identity: it reflects support for a new type of American climate policy.

Wu is not only a 36-year-old Asian American who has served on the Boston City Council for the past seven years. She is also an innovative, inspiring leader who brings optimism and hope with a new approach to climate justice. The cornerstone of her policy platform is her detailed plan for a Green New Deal and Just Recovery for Boston.

Her win is the first time a candidate for executive office at any level of government has won on a Green New Deal platform. This is big news for climate action in the United States, because the Green New Deal approach is a new kind of climate policy. Moving beyond climate policies that rely on technology mandates, emission standards, or carbon taxes, the idea behind the Green New Deal is to invest in climate action in a way that reverses social inequities. Rather than seeing climate action as a daunting expensive proposition, the Green New Deal reframes the climate crisis and the need to accelerate decarbonization as an opportunity to invest in both physical and social infrastructure including an urban climate corps and workforce training for green jobs, green municipal bonds to finance renewable and efficient energy projects and free public transportation to reduce transit injustices.

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