The Climate Action Committee is on a mission to reduce Brookline’s greenhouse gas emissions by 25 percent of the 1990 levels by 2020. This goal is on an equal course with the rest of the Commonwealth.
“It has been nearly ten years since the town adopted a climate action plan,” Selectman Jesse Mermell said. “Starting in January of 2011, the Climate Action Committee started looking into how we could update our climate action plan.”
To maintain their action plan as a live document, as opposed to an archaic, the committee has created a Wiki page as well as a printed hard copy of the plan.
“The goal of the Wiki page is to maximize public participation,” Mermell said.
On top of the exstensive outline, the Wiki page has six categories under the Actions to Reduce Emissions page: Energy Efficiency, Renewable Energy, Urban Form and Mobility, Consumption and Solid Waste, Food and Agriculture and Community Coordination. Each category has several outlines for plans of actions, which the committee is in the process of pursuing.
“My analogy for this situation is this: For a couple thousand years, we’ve been building what we think of as a pretty sophisticated and complex world and it’s all based on fossil fuels and putting things in landfills,” Werner Lohe, Conservation Commissions member on the Climate Action Committee said.“Now we’re being forced to reverse engineer that. We’re now basically pulling things out of the landfill and figuring out how to use them. Building the complex world was hard enough, now sustaining it will be much harder.”
Lohe added, “I don’t think the plan in Brookline is going to save the world or anything like that. Different communities are all taking different shots on how to handle this situation.”
The Committee developed a mathematical ranking system for about 150 possible actions to reduce Green House Gas emissions. It then established five rating criteria, CO2 savings, feasibility, co-benefits, community support, and cost.
“The biggest challenge was figuring out what you can do,” Lohe said. “I wont kid you, I don’t claim that this is exact. There are a lot of unknowns and many subjective factors; I think that was part of the process. It was an education comparing all the different actions you may take.We made a judgment that this is a local plan."
Community cooperation is important in order for this plan to work efficiently. “We worked with the Assessors Office and found out that we have over 1,000 buildings that aren’t condos with flat roofs we could put solar panels on,” Lohe said. “There are 500 condos with flat roofs. That’s 1,500 buildings we could put solar panels on.”
“The charge of the Climate Action Committee is specifically about reducing the Green House Gasses emissions that come out of Brookline from both private property and municipal property,” Mermell said.
The Board voted to approve the Climate Action Plan as proposed in a hard copy format and the Wiki page alike.