29 thoughts on “Council Approves Plan to Reduce Greenhouse Gases & Prepare for Impact of Climate Change

  1. These plans involve a never-before-seen amount of government compulsion, obviously with penalties for people who disagree.

    Do you think that people will accept this?

    I wonder, how many of the people on the “Advisory Group” and Town Council own electric vehicles and heat their residences by electricity?

    Can we see the count? No, I didn’t think so.

    In the meantime, how about doing something about the crime problem, such as the theft of catalytic converters that cut down on vehicle emissions and the theft of non-polluting bicycles?

    No, crime is apparently not a priority.

      • It’s amazing to see people still denying the reality of man-made climate change in 2022. We see its effects literally every day and the best scientific minds in the world – the overwhelming consensus – is that this is real. It’s sad to see that people are still pretending its not out of fear or greed or whatever the reason.

      • Agree. In the meantime, India and China are building hundreds of coal plants. But our government will offset that by taking away your natural gas/oil burning furnace and internal fuel combustion vehicle?

        Those who support this non-sense should immediately volunteer to get every means of energy from green sources. Let’s see how they fare, particularly in winter. They should also offer a final solution to that pesky main contributor to greenhouse numbers, namely water vapors.

        Expect the trolls to attack your views (but you know that already) while merely quoting climate change is a scientific reality without offering specific facts. They just recite what the MSM tells them. We are not going to change that.

        • You won’t change the scientific consensus on climate change because it’s true and proven and the debate is long over. Why is the sky blue? Can you provide facts every time you make that assertion? We are dealing in facts, not fantasy.

          • Then state the “facts”. Start with quoting the eleven gases allegedly contributing to the “greenhouse effect” in order of importance.

            Fantasy is what the so-called-environmentalists propose every day to alter our lives.

            “Why is the sky blue”? Lack of context, meaningless question. In any event, the answer is short waves. Nothing to do with “green” stuff. Waste of time.

        • If everybody points to the other guy and says “well if they’re not addressing climate change, then we shouldn’t”, then we get nowhere. Let’s instead be an example of how it can be done. Do you not want to see a future free of carbon emissions?

          We are not reciting what MSM tells us. We are reciting what the overwhelming scientific consensus and decades worth of data and research tells us. But if you’re motivated to believe it’s not true, then there’s nothing I can say that will convince you.

      • Although there is room for disagreement on how to go about solving this problem, it is stunning that there are some who still refuse to believe that there is a problem despite plentiful evidence.

        It is almost as if certain homo sapiens are hell bent on marching the rest of the species down the road to extinction. Absolutely mind boggling when you consider the stakes. Perhaps it is because most of these humans won’t be around when the problem becomes horrifically dire, so why should they care?

    • What evidence do you have that crime isn’t a priority? The simple fact that crime logs show that it exists? Do you think crime is the ONLY problem government should address, even in a climate crisis? Watertown has elected a government to address all the city’s needs, not just the ones you feel need attention.

    • > Do you think that people will accept this?

      Yes. I wholeheartedly accept this.

      > I wonder, how many of the people on the “Advisory Group” and Town Council own electric vehicles and heat their residences by electricity?

      This is a non-sequitor. Even if it were true that none of the Town Council members are 100% renewable themselves doesn’t mean there shouldn’t be a long-term plan to transition to address climate change. It’s not like they’re proposing that the plan won’t apply to them.

      > In the meantime, how about doing something about the crime problem ….

      Ah the good old “fallacy of relative privation” rears its head once again. Since you might not know what this is, it’s dismissing an argument or complaint due to what are perceived to be more important problems.

      “Why are we talking about X when we haven’t even figured out Y?”
      “We can’t address long term climate change because we still need to address catalytic converter theft!”

      The thing is, there are actually a lot of people in this town and we can address multiple things at the same time! Not everybody in the entire town needs to focus on thefts until that problem is totally solved before moving on to whatever you think is the next most important thing.

  2. I have some definite concerns on the overreach and stomping on our rights with this plan. When you say “the plan calls for cutting ALL HEATING OF HOMES and buildings by oil or natural gas to zero percent by 2050”, this has some serious ramifications. I hope this just references new properties and not all of our older houses. I don’t think the City can afford to pay for changes for all existing homes and many residents certainly can’t afford to convert to all electric.

    Plus we know the costs of electricity are climbing steadily and the grids are not currently strong enough to support all of this new electric usage. You want everyone to drive EVs, which are extremely expensive and not affordable for most people at an average of close to $60,000. Where are all the used batteries with harmful chemicals going to be disposed? Most of the minerals needed for the batteries are in China. The cost of replacing these batteries is said to be around $10,000. The cost of installing electric chargers in houses is said to be about $2,500 and how do you manage the installations in all the apartments and charge the individuals using them? I hope some answers to these questions are in your plan.

    Haven’t we learned yet that we should not rely on China for their manufactured chips, aspirin and other medicines, solar panels, etc.? They are using coal, gas and oil to do all their manufacturing and their pollution along with India’s and other countries goes on while we are being restricted even though we have the cleanest oil due to our refineries.

    One of my biggest concerns is in Goal 1: “By 2050 non-vehicular transportation options are accessible, affordable, and connected throughout Watertown, and PERSONAL VEHICULAR TRAVEL MILES ARE REDUCED BY 50%. We have a large senior citizen population in Watertown plus people with special needs and medical problems who cannot ride bikes, walk or take public transportation with ease. Cars are their necessary preference for getting around. Family members and friends also need cars to assist them to get to appointments, etc.

    Another big concern: “Goal 2: By 2050, 100% OF ALL VEHICLES IN WATERTOWN ARE ELECTRIC. What happens when someone wants to move to the Boston area for a job or to rejoin families? If they don’t have an electric car and the surrounding cities and towns don’t have these strict rules, I don’t think they are going to move to Watertown. I wouldn’t.

    These rules could have a drastic effect on whether people want to live in this City going forward. We might even see a fast migration of people from Watertown in expectation of these rules being implemented. If I didn’t already live here, I wouldn’t move here now. It seems that many people now in charge are in favor of limiting our rights and freedoms. We are fast becoming the DREADED CAMBRIDGE.

    It is all well and good to set goals for the future if the infrastructure around the City and country can support all of these activities. Right now it definitely can’t and we don’t know if and when it will be, if ever.

    People demonize fossil fuels, but they are needed for manufacturing, construction, fishing and farming industries, and so many other areas of our economy. All of it can’t go away. This plan may force local oil companies and gas service industries to just quit and cause even less people to be willing to learn the skills to maintain existing equipment. Fossil fuels still need to be part of any master plan to some degree. We need backup sources to protect us as oil and gas aren’t just used for travel. They are needed for many critical areas of our economy.

    Sometimes pie-in-the-sky ideas are just that. I hope this plan can be amended and adjusted easily if you find that it is having deleterious effects on our City and its people. I thank God I am getting older and probably won’t be affected by many of these ideas in my lifetime or I will be forced to leave a City that I was once proud to live in.

    • Pie-in-the sky it is indeed. I think it was Sophocles who said “Do not command what you cannot enforce”. Crime is indeed increasing, so are potholes. We are not taking care of basics, but will implement this fiction of a plan? Notice all similar proposals are projected to be fruitful in 30, 50, 100 years. Sure. In the meantime, many will profit from it. They will be long gone when nothing has been delivered.

      • Crime rates rise and fall. Potholes get fixed. To pretend we can’t address climate change is a very sad and short sighted world view. We should try to deal with it because our generation may not be affected?

        • Sad is what it is being proposed to alter our lives. Those who believe in it, might as well believe there is a giant Earth thermostat somewhere that can be regulated by going electric everywhere. The lack of understanding as to how energy is generated and distributed is shocking, but not surprising – particularly in this State. Hey, lead by example. Go 100% green now, get rid of every plastic-containing object, get off the grid. See how the 3% sun/wind energy capacity helps you. We are done with this.

      • you know what causes potholes? car traffic!

        > pothole formation requires two factors to be present at the same time: water and traffic. Water weakens the soil beneath the pavement while traffic applies the loads that stress the pavement past the breaking point

        Notice that bike paths tend to not have potholes even though they’re subjected to the same weather?

        > Notice all similar proposals are projected to be fruitful in 30, 50, 100 years. Sure. In the meantime, many will profit from it.

        Wait, are you suggesting that this is a conspiracy and these climate mitigation projects are simply proposed to line the pockets of certain people? I’m trying to be as generous with my interpretation but you seem to be making a huge claim and providing no evidence. What can be asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence.

        > We are not taking care of basics, but will implement this fiction of a plan?

        The fallacy of relative privation. Turns out there are a lot of people and we can address many things at once!

        • Fallacy of relative privation? I am rejecting the plan’s arguments because I believe they lack merit. Period.

          Your quote about it is misplaced.

    • Joan, just one small note: Consider that if personal vehicle traffic were reduced by 50%, then horrible traffic problems that everyone complains about would be greatly reduced for those who must drive. It would be much easier to get around. No one said that we should reduce vehicular traffic to zero.

      I wish that I could have convinced my Mother to move to Watertown when she was in her 80’s. She never got a driver’s license and in Northern New Jersey, she had no reliable transit and so was mostly shut in. Here she would have been better able to get around more.

      I doubt that anyone imagines limiting rights and freedoms, but rather offering citizens better and attractive alternatives to using their cars. That works quite well in many places.

      You also might consider that in 2050, all cars in the US may be electric, so this is perhaps not as radical as it might sound. As the technology and manufacturing get better, the cost will come down. Electric vehicles seem to be the direction of the future. Got anything against the future?

    • Okay, Joan, chill out for just one minute

      This is a long-term plan. A lot can (and will) change in 28 years. You’re ranting like these changes are happening abruptly tomorrow. As one example, look at the changes in solar and wind in the past decade. Costs have dropped significantly. I have solar panels on my house and they’ve paid for themselves in just a 4 years! Battery technology is advancing fast. Batteries are recyclable (lithium doesn’t just go away, it can be reclaimed!). Biking is becoming a more feasible way to move around the city (I bike almost everywhere now, year round). Heat pump technology has advanced rapidly too. Don’t assume the world of tomorrow is going to be the same as it is today… but it will still take investment to get there.

      If we, as a society, do not address climate change, we will have FAR worse problems than the trivial matters you’ve cited.

      • Scott, thank you for pointing out several examples of how technological advances allow market forces, rather than government compulsion, contribute to fixing this problem.

      • Joan does not need to “chill out”. She is not “ranting” either. What gives you the right to make those inappropriate personal attacks? I thought these postings were subject to moderation.

        • Erik, you have to understand this is a private site. Basically a blog. Paid subscribers here are given a lot of leeway as to what their allowed to say.

          • How exactly is this a “private site” when anyone who is willing to use their actual name can comment? When you say “subscriber”, do you mean the free subscription to the newsletter that is an option? Who is a paid subscriber? There are ads and donations are accepted. The assertion that anyone must pay to be here, or that anyone gets a “lot of leeway” is simply not accurate.

          • Tom:

            I don’t have to. I just do understand.Thanks for the advice, anyways.

            I will test what a lot of leeway means in my future responses.

        • While I don’t believe we have met Erik, I thank you for your comment regarding Joan Gumbleton’s post. Joan was expressing her opinion and sharing her thoughts on these issues. She was not ranting and certainly doesn’t need to be told to chill. Joe Levendusky’s response – personal, thoughtful, and considerate. Scott Frazer – get a grip.

          I would also like to know if the people posting comments on Watertown News are actually living in Watertown, working in our community, or working for our city government. Whether ai agree or not, those are the folks whose opinions and thoughts I’m interested in hearing about.

          IMO, the moderation guidelines of this private site leave a lot to be desired. Unfortunately with loss of local newspapers it’s all we’ve got.

          • Elodia:

            Thank you for your kind post. I have been a Watertown resident for almost 30 years. I am for well-thought, factual-based change and progress in our community, and I – like many others – will and deserve to disagree with proposals which deviate from such.

  3. These are excellent goals on which Watertown, and all communities, need to focus if we are going to slow the ongoing effects of climate change. It takes courage to address real issues and not simply try to shift the focus away and to deny science and reality.

  4. Reaching these goals will require that the city known as the Town of Watertown, along with other cities demand that the Commonwealth fix and expand the T so as to provide service that is reliable, quick and attractive. Watertown is already a town where folks use transit regularly.

    But we must make transit an option that will appeal to those who don’t currently use it. Currently, the service isn’t frequent enough and there are too many holes in the system’s coverage (You can’t get there from here).

    Watertown will not make good on these goals without more and better transit service. The time for half measures and niceties is past. Watertown and other municipalities must DEMAND that the MBTA be brought in line with the better transit systems around the world. It can be done. And it can be done economically.

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