Photo courtesy of the city of Boston

Brian Swett is returning to Boston City Hall after a nine-year stint in the private sector to lead the city’s climate change and decarbonization policies.

Swett was appointed to the newly-created position of chief climate officer, Mayor Michelle Wu announced Wednesday. Since 2015, Swett has led the East region for environmental consultants Arup’s Boston office.

Arup has been involved with downtown Boston real estate owners’ preparations for rising seas, as leader of a consultant group that recommended construction of an $877 million flood barrier raising the Boston Harborwalk from Christopher Columbus Park to Congress Street. The study was commissioned by the Wharf District Council neighborhood group.

The leadership change comes as the Wu administration prepares to release a new “net zero carbon zoning code” that could impose additional requirements on developers to reduce or eliminate the use of fossil fuels in new developments.

In his role at Arup, Swett also co-chaired the city’s Climate Resiliency Working Group. He previously was chief of Boston’s chief of environment, energy and open space from 2012 to 2015 under former mayors Thomas Menino and Marty Walsh.

“He brings decades of experience implementing decarbonization, resilience, and energy transition programs with environmental justice principles at the core,” Wu said in a statement.

Under proposed legislation removing the Boston Planning & Development Agency’s eminent domain powers, the agency still would retain land-taking powers for projects related to coastal resiliency.

Swett is scheduled to begin the new position on June 10.

The city’s Environment, Energy and Open Space (EEOS) cabinet is currently overseen by Rev. Mariami White-Hammond, who is leaving her post on April 26. The founding pastor of New Roots AME Church in Dorchester, White-Hammond was appointed to the position in 2021 by former Acting Mayor Kim Janey.

Arup Exec Named Boston Climate Chief

by Steve Adams time to read: 1 min