Group Discusses How Climate Change Will Impact Area, Importance of Trees

Several local groups came together to host an event called “The Latest News in Climate—and How Trees Help” at the Watertown Free Public Library. The following information was provided by the event organizers:

Jennifer Shakun, an Applied Forest Scientist, and featured speaker at the well-attended “Trees for Climate Change in Watertown” symposium on March 23, brought dramatic news about climate changes in the Northeast. Local leaders, whose talks followed hers, described in-town, tree-related resources and activities available to Watertown residents. Climate Changes in the Northeast

Shakun told attendees that the Northeast has been warming faster than many parts of the world. Since 1895, the average NE temperature has climbed 2.9 degrees Fahrenheit, (1.6 degrees Celsius), which is higher than the average global rise during that time.

Find Out About Trees and Climate Change at Program in Watertown

The following information was provided by the event organizers:

Is planting trees in city streets and backyards a good way to help manage the damaging effects of climate change? The answer is an emphatic “Yes!,” according to organizers of “Trees and Climate Change in Watertown,” a free informational program that will be held on Saturday, March 23, 10 a.m.-12 noon, at the Watertown Public Library. Sponsored by the Watertown Environment and Energy Efficiency Committee and co-sponsored by Trees for Watertown and Watertown Faces Climate Change, this community event will focus on the important role trees play in keeping a city healthy, and how citizens and Watertown can work together to improve Watertown’s urban forest. Topics will include:

How trees reduce the effects of heat and severe weather and protect our health and environmentWhat trees to plant: tree species that will do best in our changing climateThe state of Watertown’s urban forest, and city plans for its growth and careAdvice on tree-planting and care, including how to get help in organizing a neighborhood tree-planting party, how to join the Citizens Pruning Corps, and how to request a new street tree to be planted by Watertown

Speakers will include:

Chris Hayward, Watertown’s Forestry Supervisor and Tree WardenJennifer Hushaw Shakun, Applied Forestry Scientist at Manomet: “Our Urban Forests in a Warming World”David Meshoulam and teen participants from Trees for Watertown’s Teens for Trees ProgramLibby Shaw, President of Trees for Watertown

There will also be information tables where community members can connect with a variety of groups working on enhancing, protecting and enjoying Watertown’s natural environment. This program will take place in the Watertown Savings Bank Room, Watertown Public Library, 123 Main St, Watertown.

Town Council Seeks to Have Town Move to 100% Renewable Energy

Watertown Town Hall

In a move to respond to climate change, the Town Council voted to create a Climate and Energy Master Plan, and get the town to 100 percent renewable energy in the coming decades. A proposal for the Climate and Energy Master Plan was presented to a joint subcommittee at meetings in October and December by the Watertown Environment & Energy Efficiency Committee (also called W3EC). It seeks to prepare Watertown for the changing weather conditions, and take steps to reduce the town’s impact on climate change. The proposal states, in part:

“It is clear from projections that Watertown as a community will be increasingly affected by climate change. Significant impacts to daily life in Watertown are to be expected.

OP-ED: State Senate Passes Energy Bill Aimed at Addressing Climate Change

{The following piece was provided by State Sen. Will Brownsberger (D – Belmont) who also represents Watertown}

After a long day of debate, the Senate passed the Barrett-Pacheco omnibus energy bill on Thursday — significant legislation to continue movement in Massachusetts towards a cleaner energy future. Addressing climate change is a core priority for me and I am glad to move this legislation forward. The next step will be action by the House of Representatives.   After that, the branches will need to reconcile their differences and get the bill to the Governor’s desk.  We should expect the bill to continue to evolve. As mentioned in a previous post, I am most enthusiastic about the provisions that will lead to carbon pricing in the transportation sector. A summary of the major provisions appears below, excerpted from the Senate press release on the bill:

Increasing the percentage of Class I renewable energy that must be purchased by retail electric suppliers under the Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard from an additional 1% annually to an additional 3% annually. Requiring the Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs to establish market-based compliance mechanisms to maximize the ability of the Commonwealth to achieve its greenhouse gas emission limits for: (i) the transportation sector not later than December 31, 2020; (ii) the commercial and industrial building sectors not later than December 31, 2021; and (iii) the residential building sector not later than December 31, 2022.

OP-ED: How Will Climate Change Impact Transportation in Massachusetts?

The following piece was submitted by State Sen. Will Brownsberger (D – Belmont) who represents Watertown:

I spent Wednesday morning at a Rappapport Institute forum on climate change and transportation infrastructure. When I think about the local impacts of climate change, what I worry about most is water — flooding due to sea level rise. Increased precipitation is also an issue, but for the coastal region that I represent, the big issue is sea level rise. The areas I serve are sheltered from direct coastal flooding and do not face immediate inundation risks, but every legislator has to be concerned about the vulnerabilities of the transportation system that the region depends on. The Massachusetts Department of Transportation has lead the region’s efforts to understand climate change — making the initial investment in the Boston Harbor Flood Risk Model to better understand the risks to the central artery and harbor tunnels.

OP-ED: Sen. Brownsberger Looks at Local Flooding Risks From Climate Change

As a legislator, I’ve been concerned to reduce our contributions to climate change.  Over the last few weeks, I’ve been trying to better understand the local flooding risks caused by the climate changes we seem unable to prevent. It’s hard to know how much the seas are going to rise. First, no one knows how much the people of the world will be able to reduce carbon emissions. Second, even within a given emissions scenario, the uncertainties are considerable.  For example, if we just assume continually growing emissions, the estimates of probable local sea level rise vary by a factor of two from 3.2 feet to 7.4 feet by 2100. Much of Boston lies quite low, so these uncertainties matter.

Group Holding Discussion of How Climate Change Could Impact Massachusetts

A meeting will be held about how climate change will impact Massachusetts. ProgressiveWatertown sent out the following announcement:

Please save Saturday, Oct. 21, when ProgressiveWatertown will host a public forum on Climate. The Forum will take place at the Watertown Free Public Library, 123 Main St., starting at 1:30 p.m. Attendance is free. We have three wonderful speakers to lead the discussion; Emily Norton, the Director of the Sierra Club of MA, George Bachrach, the former President of the Environmental League of MA (ELM), and Chris Dempsey, the director of Transportation of MA.