A note on the climate resolution:
The Chelmsford Climate Action Team plans to submit a Citizen’s Petition at the April 2021 Town Meeting proposing that Chelmsford charge a committee with studying and making recommendations for specific strategies and actions for the town to achieve a goal of net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. Chelmsford has already done a lot to address climate change by improving energy efficiency, constructing solar arrays and aggregation of electricity with 100% renewable options. With this track record why are we proposing a new committee? The answer is that we need a larger group of dedicated workers to take the next steps. We are proposing that this committee:
• Draft a Plan to achieve Net- Zero Greenhouse Gasses emissions in the town by 2050. This is an intensive activity that needs dedicated attention over an extended period to be completed successfully. A committee composed mostly of town volunteers can draw up this plan with town oversight using free state-approved software tools, and can do it without the cost of hiring professional consultants. Arlington is an example.
• Join with Climate Committees from other towns to lobby the Commonwealth for new and larger incentives to address its stated goal of Net- Zero emissions by 2050. Lowell, Westford and Pepperell already have committees. The conditions are right for new state incentives now. Towns need to apply pressure.
• Recognize that a town Net-Zero plan will probably be needed for Chelmsford to respond to new state incentives, so it’s prudent to anticipate this and draw one up now.
• The existence of a vigorous working committee dedicated to planning for Chelmsford to reach net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 will demonstrate that our town has the will and human resources to respond to this upcoming challenge. This committee can also suggest decisions that Chelmsford can make on its own without waiting for state support.
to Address Climate Change
Science overwhelmingly reports that climate change is happening, and that human-produced greenhouse gas emissions are by far the biggest cause.
Furthermore, recent studies have shown that global warming is occurring faster and the negative effects on society everywhere are likely to be greater than predicted only a half-decade ago. Consequently, in April of 2020, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts established a 2050 statewide emissions limit of net-zero greenhouse gas emissions.
In recognition of the need to address global warming and in accordance with the Commonwealth’s net-zero emissions goal, Chelmsford hereby resolves to reduce fossil-fuel-based energy use in town facilities, vehicles and operations, and to promote actions that residents and businesses may take to reduce their carbon emissions.
Be it resolved that the Select Board will charge a Committee with studying and making recommendations for specific strategies and actions for Chelmsford to achieve a goal of net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, and also to recommend intermediate targets that are consistent with the overall final objective.
The Committee will provide a report of findings and recommendations to the Select Board annually, and will also provide an overall assessment of Chelmsford’s progress toward net-zero emissions to the Select Board every five years.