Net Zero Resolution
At Annual Town Meeting in May 2023 the Sustainable Green Committee and Select Board jointly put forth a Net Zero Resolution before the citizens of Hopkinton which was approved by the voters.
The resolution sets our town, citizens, and businesses on a path to reach a goal of net zero carbon emissions by 2045.
The following graphic encapsulates the essential information about the resolution.
Full text of the resolution
Frequently asked questions
What is Net Zero?
According to the United Nations, "net zero" means cutting greenhouse gas emissions to as close to zero as possible, with any remaining emissions re-absorbed from the atmosphere, for instance by oceans and forests. Greenhouse gas emissions come primarily from burning fossil fuels for electricity, heating, and transportation.
Why do we need a resolution?
By accepting a resolution, we are aligning on a common goal with the support of the community. This allows carbon emissions to be factored into decision making for municipal budgets, zoning, and other bylaws.
Why is 2045 our net zero goal?
The state and nation have set an overall target of Net Zero by 2050. Hopkinton has advantages in open space, few industries, and newer construction which meets more efficient building codes, to work towards a faster timeline than some other towns and cities in MA, and therefore have the capability and responsibility to set more ambitious targets.
Why use a 2017 baseline?
Will this be expensive?
In some cases, there may be higher costs up front for the greener option. However, over the long term there are often lower operational and maintenance costs which recoup the difference in cost. Also, there are state and federal programs with financial incentives (rebates, subsidies, grants, and low interest loans) for things like heat pumps, solar panels, electric vehicles, insulation, and induction cooking available to residential, business, and municipal purchases that can significantly offset the expenses.
Is the technology really ready?
For the emissions sources in Hopkinton, yes! The technology already exists for electric vehicles, solar panels, heat pumps, induction cooking, energy storage, etc., and the options for consumers are expanding every year. We know the benefits of composting and waste reduction, regenerative farming and sustainable land management. The potential is there to make significant progress towards the net zero goals given what we know and have available today.
Is this target achievable?
It will be hard, but it is possible! It will take collaboration and broad support. We know that major changes will be necessary for limiting the worst impacts of climate change, and so we need to do everything we can.
What does this mean for me, or for my business?
While the actions in the resolution are directed at the municipal operations, the overall goals include businesses and residences. We will need the partnership of everyone in the community in order to be successful in achieving these goals. The Sustainable Green Committee will be working to implement programs that provide education and support in transitioning to low and zero carbon emissions.
How can I help?
There are many ways that individuals can help us reach net zero. Some of the actions with highest impact include: