According to the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), avoiding climate change’s most catastrophic effects requires eliminating greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. Business as usual is not an option. In response to this challenge, last fall Newton Citizens Commission on Energy, NCCE, embarked on development of the Citizens Climate Action Plan for Newton (CCAP). The latest version of the CCAP (August 2019) is now available.
The plan addresses two questions:
- What will it take for Newton to meet the recommended IPCC reduction targets for GHG emissions?
- Are the necessary actions feasible to implement?
The plan, based on extensive research, analysis and modeling, concludes that it is technologically and economically feasible to meet the IPCC targets in Newton, and that the City should adopt them as its policy goals. CCAP provides a 30-year roadmap for achieving these targets. It outlines the roles of Newton’s residents, businesses, government, and institutions. The Plan focuses on the three sectors responsible for 88% of GHG emissions: transportation, and buildings—residential and commercial. Of the several dozen specific recommendations for action, the Plan identifies 8 priorities for immediate implementation:
- Create an Energy Service to help residents, businesses take next steps towards reducing energy use and electrification Allocate staff.
- Adopt a Green Property Tax initiative as a financial incentive for residential and small business energy retrofits.
- Create a Green Ribbon Commission to motivate the largest commercial/institution building owners to develop their own CAPs.
- Design/implement an outreach campaign to encourage purchases of electric vehicles.
- Transition in stages to Passive House energy performance in all types of new buildings. Benchmark and publish the energy performance of all buildings.
- Provide preferential parking spaces for EVs throughout the City.
- Expand the WiseWays mobility program to cover all residents.
- Advocate with the State and utilities to encourage stricter building codes and rigorous efficiency programs.
FINAL CCAP-Aug 14-1.1