Plan to identify strategies for reducing Somerville’s impact on climate change and preparing city for its impacts
SOMERVILLE – Members of the Somerville community concerned about climate change and determined to stick to the goals of the Paris Climate Accord, have a direct opportunity to get involved locally. On June 26th, the City of Somerville will launch the next phase of their planning process to create a new climate change plan. The plan, called Somerville Climate Forward, will serve as the city’s comprehensive strategy for addressing climate change. Somerville Climate Forward will identify actionable short- and medium-term policies, projects, and programs around two key goals:
1. Significantly decreasing Somerville’s contribution to climate change by reducing the collective carbon emissions of both city government and the larger community while working toward the city’s goal of being carbon neutral by 2050.
2. Preparing Somerville to be resilient in the face of the expected impacts of climate change.
“With the United States pulling out of the Paris Climate Agreement, it has never been more important to address climate change locally,” said Mayor Joseph Curtatone. “The U.S. has historically been the largest contributor to climate change, and if we’re stepping away at the federal level, we must step up at the local level and generate solutions that both reduce our contribution to climate change and prepare for the existing and evolving risks climate change presents.”
Somerville Climate Forward, led by the city’s Office of Sustainability and Environment along with a consulting team from the firms of Kleinfelder and AECOM, will be developed over the next year. There will be opportunities throughout the planning process for the Somerville community to provide input and to help shape the strategies within the plan.
The first Somerville Climate Forward community meeting will be held on Monday, June 26, from 6 to 8 p.m. at the East Somerville Community School. Baseline climate information will be shared at the meeting, and participants will be able share their thoughts regarding the goals of the plan. Those who want to get more involved in the planning process are invited to join working groups that will begin meeting at a later date. Email the City’s Sustainability Coordinator Hannah Payne at HPayne@somervillema.gov for more information.
Developing the Somerville Climate Forward plan is the culminating stage of a multi-year climate change planning process. The Office of Sustainability and Environment has conducted baseline studies that will serve as the technical foundation for the plan. Two completed studies of carbon emissions are available on the SustainaVille website, and a study of climate impacts in Somerville is forthcoming. The basic findings of the carbon emission studies will be reviewed at the meeting on June 26 and more in-depth meetings will be held later in the summer.
In addition to planning, there has been ongoing work throughout the city to reduce carbon emissions and advance climate resiliency efforts, including leveraging new development to help fund infrastructure improvements throughout the city, updating the zoning code to include new sustainability provisions, and increasing access to residential renewable energy. Somerville Climate Forward will be an opportunity to identify new policies, programs, and projects that may not be available through existing initiatives.
In developing Somerville Climate Forward, Somerville joins neighbors Boston and Cambridge, as well as cities and towns around the country and the world, in taking action toward strategically planning for climate change. Somerville was the first city in Massachusetts to set a goal to be carbon neutral by 2050, and now all 14 Boston-area cities and towns in the Metro Mayors Coalition have signed on to the same commitment.
For more information about the Somerville Climate Forward plan, contact Hannah Payne at HPayne@somervillema.gov. For other SustainaVille initiatives, including tips on what can be done at home to reduce carbon emissions, visit http://www.somervillema.gov/SustainaVille, sign up for SustainaVille updates, or follow the work on Facebook at Green Somerville.
The City of Somerville does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, age, national origin, disability or any other protected category. Auxiliary aids and services, written materials in alternative formats, and reasonable modifications in policies and procedures will be provided to qualified applicants and employees with disabilities free of charge, upon request.
If you need auxiliary aids and services for effective communication, written materials in alternative formats, or reasonable modifications in policies and procedures in order to access this program, please contact the Somerville Health & Human Services Department no later than seven (7) business days before the scheduled event, by contacting Nancy Bacci at NBacci@somervillema.gov, or 617-625-6600 ext. 2250.