SOMERVILLE – Somerville has been recognized as a global leader in climate action by environmental-impact nonprofit CDP. Somerville is one of 95 cities to make the 2021 CDP Cities A List, scoring top marks for its ambitious, transparent work to address climate change.
Designed to encourage and support municipalities to ramp up their climate action, the Cities A List is an annual rating based on environmental data provided by participating cities. To make the A List, a city must publicly disclose a citywide emissions inventory, have set an emissions reduction target and a renewable energy target for the future, and have published a climate action plan. It must also complete a climate risk and vulnerability assessment and have a climate adaptation plan to demonstrate how it will tackle climate hazards. Of the cities scored by CDP in 2021, 9.8% made the A List.
The City of Somerville works to exceed these benchmarks, prioritizing bold, innovative policies and actions that will advance the urgent work of mitigating carbon emissions, building climate resilience, and alleviating the unequal burdens of climate change.
“I’m proud that Somerville has earned this distinction and pleased to see so many cities and towns across the globe recognized for their work to address climate change,” said Mayor Joseph A. Curtatone. “In Somerville, we seek to lead by example and show that bold transformations are possible. Climate change is one of the most pressing challenges of our time, and as CDP makes clear, we need decisive action at the local level on a global scale. If cities around the world take steps to tackle the climate crisis, we can forge a better future for all.”
“It is an honor for Somerville to be recognized for its dedication to mitigating, adapting, and responding to climate change,” said Christine Blais, Acting Director of the Mayor’s Office of Sustainability and Environment. “Enhancing our understanding and sharing what we know – not only about the impact of climate change in Somerville but also about Somerville’s role in climate change – is critical to identifying equitable solutions and sparking action. This would not be possible without support from Mayor Curtatone, City staff, and the community.”
Over the past year, the City made progress on implementing Somerville Climate Forward, its climate action plan, and worked to address immediate climate threats exacerbated by the pandemic. Among other major achievements, Somerville has reduced energy consumption of municipal operations by 23 percent to date and established its first energy stabilization fund to redistribute savings from energy-efficiency improvements to new projects.
Keep Cool Somerville, a collaboration between the City of Somerville and the Metropolitan Area Planning Council, supported six community-led pilot projects to advance heat resilience among diverse populations of Somerville residents, including children and youth, older adults, low-income individuals and families, and immigrants. All six project teams reported meeting most or all their goals.
Somerville Community Choice Electricity continued to provide Somerville residents and businesses more electricity supply options and more renewable energy for its fifth consecutive year. The program’s standard option exceeds the State’s renewable energy requirements by including 10% additional renewable energy (MA Class I RECs) to all customers from sources within New England, primarily wind and solar. The program also includes optional upgrades to 100% renewable. Annually, this results in the voluntary purchase of over 17.9 Gigawatt Hours (GWh) of renewable energy, which displaces over 5,800 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions. At the same time, the City has maintained competitive, stable prices, saving participants a combined $5.8 million compared to Eversource Basic Service supply (note that future savings cannot be guaranteed).
Looking ahead, 2022 will bring the first update of Somerville Climate Forward since the plan was first published in 2018.
To learn more about Somerville’s climate and sustainability efforts, visit somervillema.gov/climateforward and sign up for the SustainaVille newsletter. For more about the CDP Cities A List, visit cdp.net.