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. Local impacts are predicted to include increased flooding from increased precipitation and storms, and increased temperatures. Temperature change in the U.S. is predicted to be greatest in the Northeast, including summer heat waves of much greater duration.”
The proposal adds that the Massachusetts Legislature passed the Global Warming Solutions Act in 2008, which requires a reduction of greenhouse gas emissions in the state to 10-25 percent below 1990 levels by 2020 and to 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050. Also, that the Metropolitan Area Planning Council (MAPC) is urging its member communities — including Watertown — to move to 100% renewable energy.
In addition, when the Watertown Comprehensive Plan was created, a recommendation was to consider creating a Climate and Energy Master Plan.
The proposal calls for Watertown to do a Green House Gas Inventory and Energy Assessment, to collect data on emissions from housing, businesses, municipal buildings and activities, and from transportation
Another part of creating the Climate and Energy Master Plan would be working on a Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment. This would look at the housing, businesses, infrastructure, and transportation in Watertown would be impacted by projected weather conditions and and temperatures.
The Town Council voted unanimously to endorse the W3EC’s proposal for the Energy and Climate Master Plan, and ask the Town administration to identify potential consultants for the assessments, to develop one or more requests for proposals, and identify a funding source, which would be brought to the Town Council for consideration.
In addition, the Council voted to adopt a resolution to transition the Town to 100 percent renewable energy. Among the references in the resolution is the U.S. Global Change Research Program’s Fourth National Climate Assessment released in November, which predicts the impacts of climate change will be felt sooner than previously forecast.
The resolution calls for:
- the Town of Watertown use 100 percent renewable electricity by 2035
- the town to use 100 percent renewable energy for municipal heating and transportation by 2050
- encouraging non-municipal residential, commercial, and transportation sectors in Watertown commit to a transition to 100% renewable energy by 2050
See the entire resolution below: