September 9, 2022 By John Borger, Hingham Net Zero
Are you concerned about climate change? You’re not alone. At Hingham’s 2021 Town Meeting, voters overwhelmingly approved setting the Town-wide goal of reaching net-zero carbon emissions by 2040 and chartered the new Climate Action Planning Committee (CAPC – “cap-see”) to develop Hingham’s climate plan. CAPC has already started to hold open forums to get public input into the plan. Sessions are scheduled for 7:00 PM on Wednesday, 9/14 (in person at Town Hall) and Tuesday, 9/20 (a virtual session - Zoom details to be posted). CAPC has two main charges:
1. To evaluate a wide range of carbon emission reduction strategies; and,
2. To propose ways to reduce carbon emissions in the Town so that, when combined with credits and carbon “sequestration” from green spaces, total carbon emitted within the Town will net out to zero by the year 2040 (or another target date deemed feasible).
CAPC is comprised of eleven members in total, seven of whom are selected from various other Town committees and four of whom are appointed by the Select Board and Town Moderator. The Committee meets approximately every two weeks and welcomes members of the public to attend. Currently, the meetings are being conducted via Zoom. You can find Zoom log-in specifics, agendas and minutes here: https://hingham-ma.gov/AgendaCenter/Climate-Action-Planning-Committee 87. The Hingham Municipal Lighting Plant (HMLP) donated $80,000 and the Committee has used this funding to hire a local consulting firm, Energyzt, to support the planning process. The envisioned plan will complement and extend the Hingham Climate Change Vulnerability, Risk Assessment and Adaptation Study completed in 2015 and more recently, the 2019 Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness Program.
One of CAPC’s primary objectives is to make the planning process as transparent and inclusive as possible, incorporating the ideas, preferences, needs and concerns of all Hingham residents. Accordingly, since engaging Energyzt in late spring 2022, a major focus has been securing extensive public input into the planning process.
In early June, the CAPC released a brief survey to determine residents’ top priorities and concerns for a climate action plan. The survey remains open and the Committee strongly encourages Hingham residents to participate. (Take the 5 minute survey at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/HinghamCAPC ).
On June 15th, the CAPC held their first planning forum via Zoom. During this meeting, residents shared their thoughts on four major aspects of the climate action plan: electrification, buildings, transportation, and waste. The valuable insights gleaned from this meeting are already being incorporated into the rapidly evolving climate action plan. The Committee is planning additional forums at 7:00 PM on 9/14 and 9/20 and urges all Hingham residents to participate (see details at the Town website listed above). You don’t need to be a climate expert or activist to contribute – CAPC is looking for your input based on your everyday experience and observations.
Want to get more involved? Much of the committee’s work is being accomplished through working groups devoted to specific topics. Sample sub-groups include the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Initiatives Working Group, which is focused on municipal projects; the Resident Net Zero Working Group, which is focused on residential projects; and, the Community and Regional Engagement Working Groups, which are focused on connecting with other groups and organizations working on climate action strategies, both in Hingham and in our region.
To Learn More and Get Involved:
Visit www.hingham-ma.gov/917/Climate-Action-Planning-Committee to learn more. If there are topics you would like to see addressed by the CAPC and/or ideas and suggestions you would like to share, please contact them via their Contact Form on the site above. All meetings will be listed on the Town calendar, which can be accessed here: www.hingham-ma.gov/calendar.aspx.
Minutes for past meetings are also available on the CAPC website.
Most important, please do plan to attend one of the upcoming public forums at 7:00 PM on September 14 th or 20 th . . CAPC needs you to help build Hingham’s climate action plan!