The Newton City Council unanimously approved the Climate Action Plan on November 18, 2019. It is a plan that commits the City to strategies that will significantly decrease greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions over the next five years. Written by City staff with assistance from City Councilors, the Citizens Commission on Energy, Green Newton, and other environmental groups, as well as the Metropolitan Area Planning Council. This plan will provide regular evaluations and updates that will build awareness and help Newton become carbon neutral by 2050.
City government, individuals, community groups, policy makers, parent and student groups, religious communities, climate activists, and retirees — we will all need to work together to take meaningful actions to combat the climate crisis.
The goal of the Climate Action Plan is to first “Use Less” by:
- increasing energy efficiency in all buildings;
- nurturing walkable, transit-oriented neighborhoods and business districts;
- reducing reliance on single occupancy gas and diesel vehicles;
- increasing our biking, walking, and use of shared rides and public transportation;
- and minimizing our “embodied carbon” emissions (the greenhouse gas emissions associated with extracting, manufacturing, and transporting materials for buildings, vehicles, roads, etc.).
Then we must “Green the Rest,”which involves:
- using renewable energy sources (solar and wind) instead of fossil fuels such as coal, natural gas, and oil to generate clean electrical power;
- electrifying everything we can – building heating and cooling systems, vehicles, and transportation systems;
- and capturing carbon from the atmosphere by expanding our street tree canopies and forested spaces.
Headline photo by Ken and Margaret Mallory