As part of the world’s largest coalition of city leaders addressing climate change,
Somerville pledges to take action in advance of UN’s Climate Conference in Paris
SOMERVILLE – Today, Mayor Joseph A. Curtatone committed to the Compact of Mayors, a global coalition of city leaders dedicated to reducing their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, making their communities more resilient to climate change, and regularly reporting their progress publicly.
By participating in the Compact of Mayors, Somerville has committed to taking stock of greenhouse emissions and the current effects of climate change in the city, creating an action plan that includes clear and ambitious reduction targets, implementing a common system of measuring those emissions, and monitoring climate risks.
“Cities are responsible for 70 percent of greenhouse gas emissions, so it is incumbent upon local governments to take on climate change,” said Mayor Curtatone. “In Somerville, we are lucky to have creative, engaged residents and business owners who are willing to take on the challenge with us.”
As one of the key initiatives launched at the UN Climate Summit in September 2014, the Compact of Mayors is the world’s largest collective effort to date by cities to tackle climate change, proactively prepare for its impacts, and regularly track and report progress. Using the data collected by cities, the Compact of Mayors hopes to show the true impact municipalities can have on climate change.
Recent research shows that if every local government in the world took action in accordance with the Compact of Mayors—particularly by targeting their building energy, transportation, and waste sectors—the reduction in global greenhouse gas emissions would be equal to cutting the world’s annual coal use by more than half. In 2014, Mayor Curtatone set the goal of Somerville becoming carbon neutral by 2050. Part of reaching that goal includes a citywide greenhouse gas inventory, which will be in line with the standards set by the Compact of Mayors.
“Somerville, on its own, can do its small part to reduce greenhouse gases,” said Mayor Curtatone. “But if cities around the world all take steps to reduce their carbon footprints, we will see a huge impact.”
Along with the greenhouse gas inventory, Somerville has begun other initiatives to address climate change. Last year the Office of Sustainability and Environment launched the Somerville GreenTech program to support people and companies tackling environmental issues. The City of Somerville also partnered with MIT’s Climate CoLab on a contest to collect “atypical” ideas for carbon neutrality.