Northampton, MA's Climate Action Contribution
Climate Action Commitments
Current Climate Actions Northampton, MA Is Taking:
Adopt policies to reduce carbon footprint of new and/or existing buildings
Building electricity, heating, and cooling at the community-scale is, with transportation, the other major source of carbon emissions. Strategies will vary between single-family homes, multi-family residential housing, and commercial buildings. Conducting energy audits and using benchmarking is an excellent tool to drive efficiency. Incentive programs for energy upgrades can be done effectively the more buildings that participate.
Commit to 100% Renewable Electricity: Ready for 100
Ultimately, we must transition to communities powered by 100% clean, renewable energy. That transition should ensure benefit to low-income communities, a just transition for displaced workers in fossil fuel jobs, equitable access and affordability. If you are ready to set a 100% goal for your community, the Sierra Club’s Ready for 100 campaign can help build support for your vision. Join the nearly 70 US communities with 100% goals.
Give all residents in my community, especially those underrepresented or of marginalized groups, a voice in setting policy and action plans
Plans, strategies, and their implementation should include the input and priorities of the community. Having your residents’ support and involvement will lead to better long term solutions. Simply holding an open public hearing is not sufficient for the inclusion of all residents. Many methods exist for successful community engagement.
Increase energy efficiency of local government operations, such as buildings, street lighting, and water or wastewater plants
Energy efficiency is the best way to save taxpayer money and cut climate pollution right now. The average building wastes about a third of the energy it uses. Consider implementing a strategic energy management plan for all major operations.
Partner with other US cities/counties to advocate for national climate policies and take collective action: Climate Mayors
Climate Mayors, founded in 2014, is a bipartisan, peer-to-peer network of over 400 U.S. mayors working together to demonstrate leadership on climate through meaningful actions in their communities, and to express and build political will for effective federal and global policy action.
Purchase renewable power or build on-site renewable electricity to run local government needs
Powering your own operations with renewable electricity or using local government buildings and land to site solar PV panels is within the decision-making authority of most localities and can be a model to your community.
Quantify, track and publicly report my climate action through CDP or carbon Climate Registry
Disclosure of your climate targets, emissions profile, and actions on a transparent platform is important for accountability to your residents and is increasingly necessary to access tools and financial resources.
Set a goal for emissions reduction equal to or greater than the US goal under the Paris Climate Agreement (26-28% by 2025)
We all know the best way to measure, and actually achieve success, is to set a goal. Making that goal inline with or stronger than the U.S. nationally determined contribution under Paris signals that local governments are doing their part. Hundreds of cities and counties across the U.S. see an emissions reduction target of this level ambitious but doable.
Use strategies building resilience to threats of climate change in zoning, capital improvement, comprehensive planning, and hazard mitigation documents
One of the most important things local governments can do when it comes to addressing climate change is to prepare for its effects--severe storms, drought, flooding, heat waves and more. Local government is already pledged to provide for the health and safety of their residents from these hazards. Climate change will make them worse and understanding and accounting for what’s to come in existing official documents is part of that responsibility.
Work with energy utilities to increase renewable energy provided to residents and businesses
Going beyond the local government’s own operations to make renewable energy available to your community is a challenging, but critical step that means working with utilities, state government, and your residents. Clean, renewable bring with them better air, predictable, increasingly lower customer pricing, and local job deployment opportunities.