Medford Releases Climate Action and Adaptation Plan Executive Summary, 32 Strategies for Addressing Climate Change

Full plan will be released this fall.

MEDFORD— Ahead of its release of a detailed Climate Action and Adaptation Plan later this fall, today Mayor Lungo-Koehn and the Medford Office of Planning, Development, and Sustainability released a 36-page Executive Summary that outlines the city’s plan to address climate change, cementing its status as a leading voice in the push to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The Executive Summary serves as a roadmap for the City’s future operational plans, guiding policy initiatives and laying out key steps that will reduce greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050, and includes 32 strategies across four focus areas: Buildings & Energy, Ecosystems & Natural Environment, Public Health, and Transportation.

The plan sets new goals for future efforts, like expanding renewable energy sources, providing tools for property owners and tenants to prepare for climate hazards, as well as expands on ongoing work like protecting and growing our tree canopy, investing in stormwater maintenance, addressing food insecurity and increasing local food system resilience.

“Cities are among the world’s largest emitters of greenhouse gases, accounting for more than 70 percent of total emissions. We need to act, now, to protect our community and our planet from increasing impacts of climate change,” Mayor Breanna Lungo-Kohen said. “This Climate Action and Adaptation Plan will be critical in helping us take bold decisive action, and to continue on actions we have already started, to help shape the future of Medford and deliver a truly sustainable city for future generations.”

Greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide have increasingly built up in the atmosphere over the last century due to human activities such as burning fossil fuels (like oil and gas) to heat our homes, drive vehicles, and power industries. Greenhouse gases trap heat and have been causing the average temperature on earth to rise faster than ever before. Experts warn that if we do not transition our energy consumption to green-friendly alternatives and continue to burn fossil fuels, we are guaranteed to see temperatures rise to levels that can significantly harm communities, ecosystems, and local economies.

Earlier this year, Mayor Lungo-Koehn formally merged the office of Community Development and the Office of Energy and Environment, bringing together the expertise and resources of staff from planning and development backgrounds and staff focusing on energy and environment in an effort to ensure that environmentally sustainable practices and policies are at the heart of our planning and development strategies in Medford. The release of the Climate Action and Adaptation Plan summary is the latest in a series of actions the City of Medford has taken this year to address climate change and advance sustainable policies. This month, the City signed onto the global Cities Race to Zero Campaign, committing to cutting greenhouse gas emissions in half by 2030. The formal CAAP will be released this fall.

“This plan is a vital tool in our city planning process and highlights key areas that we need to focus on – and in some instances already are focused on – in order to reduce our carbon footprint and increase accessibility and equity for the community,” said Alicia Hunt, Director of the Office of Planning, Development, and Sustainability. “It has taken innumerable hours of work to produce a roadmap that accurately addresses the environmental needs of the City of Medford and their sustainable solutions. I’d like to thank the many staff, residents and consultants that have spent time over the past two years on this effort.”

In the coming month the City will begin to adopt policy ideas identified in the plan to meet its net zero goal such as expanding diverse housing options to meet the needs of all residents, setting net zero energy and resiliency standards for new municipal construction, expand local renewable energy sources, mitigate flooding using nature-based solutions such as rainscaping and making a substantial investment in stormwater infrastructure and sewer-system management.

While the Plan sets short-, medium-, and long-range strategies for addressing climate resiliency, the City is already hard at work on several strategies and actions as part of its ongoing commitment to sustainability. Ongoing work that relates to the Climate Action and Adaptation Plan includes but is not limited to:

Buildings & Energy
Expanding EV charging stations citywide
Hiring a Facilities Manager to oversee all municipal facilities, including preventative maintenance
Installed solar panels at DPW, Library, & Police Station

Ecosystems & Natural Environment
Launched a curbside composting program
Expanding the City’s tree canopy with $188,000 allocated for planting in low- and moderate-income areas, $90,000 in CPA funding for public parks, increased tree planting funds in FY22 budget

Public Health
Installed 19 micro food pantries
Pledged to be hunger free by 2025
Launched a Multilingual Resource Line
Created a social justice road map

Transportation
Installed Medford’s first dedicated bus lane on Mystic Ave.
In the process of bringing a bike share program to Medford
Expanding/adding dedicated bike lanes citywide

“As these and other projects came up with the development of the Plan, we knew we couldn’t wait for its release to move these plans forward. Even before releasing this plan publicly we are being responsive to the Plan itself, as well as to our commitment to a more sustainable Medford,” Alicia Hunt said.

The development of the Plan was made possible in part by a Planning Grant and an Action Grant from the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources’ Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness Program, particularly with early planning and development, and outreach and engagement with under-represented populations.

You can view the full Climate Action and Adaptation Plan Executive Summary at http://www.medfordma.org/departments/planning-development-sustainability.

Medford city services are available to all residents, regardless of race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, religion, age, language ability, economic situation, or immigration status.

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