Climate Action Planning
The latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report found that climate change is unequivocally caused by human activities, primarily through greenhouse gas emissions. Climate change threatens human well-being and planetary health and there is a rapidly closing window of opportunity to secure a liveable and sustainable future for all. The Town of Milton is actively working to develop a climate action plan to mitigate the emissions that we produce and strengthen our capacity to adapt to the effects of climate change on our community. In January 2023, the Select Board approved the formation of the Climate Action Planning Committee. The Committee has been charged to review and evaluate Town bylaws, regulations, and policies and recommend strategies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, mitigate climate risks, and expand energy efficiency opportunities for the Town to develop our Climate Action Plan.
Greenhouse Gas Inventory
The Town is currently working with consultants from Apex Companies and Environmental Partners to prepare a comprehensive Greenhouse Gas Inventory for the Town of Milton, using data from 2017 and 2022. This inventory will be essential in understanding our baseline emissions and setting achievable targets for reductions.
In the Fall of 2022, Town staff used state-provided tools to create a baseline emissions inventory using 2017 data. The ongoing inventory work has more precise data for 2017 and up-to-date emissions for 2022.
Milton’s total emissions in 2017 were 278,934 metric tons of CO2e and total emissions in 2022 were 290,545 metric tons of CO2e – that represents a 4.2% increase over 5 years.
In 2017, 45.8% of our emissions were generated from buildings (stationary energy) and 52.8% were generated by transportation. Waste was a very small part of our emissions inventory, representing 1.3% of our total.
In 2022, 45.1% of our emissions were generated from buildings and 53.1% by transportation. Again, waste was low at 1.8% of total emissions.
Apart from sources like buildings and transportation, emissions are also classified into various "Scopes". Our GHG Inventory distinguishes between emissions that physically occur within the town (Scope 1), ,those that occur from the use of electricity, steam, and/or heating/cooling supplied by grids which may or may not cross town boundaries (Scope 2), and those that occur outside the town but are driven by activities taking place within the town's boundaries (Scope 3).
Our climate action planning work is informed by the Massachusetts Clean Energy & Climate Plan for 2050, which sets state-wide targets for emissions reductions and clean energy adoption. The state measures emissions in million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalents or MMTCO2e. You can track our statewide progress by visiting the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs' Clean Energy and Climate Metrics webpage. Key benchmarks include:
- Reduce 2050 greenhouse gas emissions by more than 85% relative to the 1990 baseline level
- Reduce transportation emissions by 86% (4.1 MMTCO2e) and residential heating and cooling emissions by 95% (0.8 MMTCO2e)
- Utilize carbon sequestration and other methods to absorb and store the remaining emissions to achieve Net Zero in 2050
- 2.5-fold increase in electric load compared to 2020 with 97% of electricity from clean and renewable sources
- 40% of lands and waters in MA permanently conserved and 64,400 acres of new riparian and urban tree cover