Last week the Town of Wellesley’s Sustainable Energy Committee (SEC) launched its climate
action planning process. The SEC is seeking approval of updated greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reduction goals in Article 24 at Wellesley’s Annual Town Meeting next week. The SEC tracks Wellesley’s GHG emissions and leads efforts to mitigate them. The updated goals call for achieving net zero GHG emissions by 2050, and interim reduction goals of 50% below a 2007 baseline by 2030 and 75% by 2040.
These science-based targets are similar to those set by many of Wellesley’s peer communities and are in line with recommendations from the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. The Commonwealth of Massachusetts has also committed to accomplishing net-zero GHG emissions by 2050 with interim goals. Governor Baker signed “An Act creating a next-generation roadmap for Massachusetts climate policy” into law on March 26, 2021.
Residents are encouraged to contact their Town Meeting Members to show support for these objectives that will drive action to minimize the causes of climate change while also improving Wellesley’s environmental resiliency.
To assist in Wellesley’s climate action planning efforts, Kim Lundgren Associates, Inc. (KLA), a local firm focused on climate action planning and solutions, will work with the SEC on a ten-month effort involving outreach to the Wellesley community and Town boards and committees.
KLA has two decades of municipal climate action and sustainability planning experience. In the past
three years, KLA supported development of 16 climate action plans for local governments across the country, including eight for Massachusetts communities. The firm’s ability to facilitate a data-driven and practical approach contributed to the firm’s selection.
“We are excited to begin the climate action planning process working together with representatives
from Town departments and the community to evaluate which GHG emissions reduction measures will be most appropriate for Wellesley,” said Laura Olton, Chair of the Sustainable Energy Committee. “We are confident that Wellesley will produce an evidenced-based, fiscally-responsible, equitable and practical plan to guide local climate action.”
In October 2020, Town Meeting Members approved a Select Board resolution calling on Wellesley
departments, boards, and committees to take action to address the accelerating climate change crisis.
Town-wide carbon goals will help to catalyze community-wide climate action. “It is important that we develop a strategy to bring our community together to protect our environment and promote
sustainable building and mobility practices, as well as the use of renewable energy sources where
possible,” said Thomas Ulfelder, Select Board Chair. “The town may benefit from increased financial
savings through energy efficiency and improved quality of life.”
To lay a foundation for developing the plan, Wellesley’s Sustainable Energy Director, Marybeth Martello, is briefing Town departments and committees on the climate action planning process. The SEC and key department heads will hold a televised kick-off meeting on Friday, May 7. Public Forums and other community engagement efforts will take place throughout the process. Residents who are interested in keeping up to date with climate action plan development can subscribe to receive periodic updates by email at ClimateAction@WellesleyMA.gov.