Can Belmont be a lab for green innovation?

Now that the Board of Selectmen has endorsed (by a 2-1 vote) Sustainable Belmont’s proposal for a Climate Action Plan (CAP), the big question is: what next? The resolution approved by the BOS on Oct. 5  would require the BOS to create and appoint an Energy Committee to coordinate town-wide efforts  to reduce Belmont’s carbon output by 80% by 2050. There will be a resolution on fall Town Meeting warrant seeking approval of this. The CAP  would then be used as a reference guide by the Energy Committee. As it stands, the CAP has recommendations (around 75 in all) for every segment of town to reduce Belmont’s environmental footprint –that includes residential users, town government, businesses, our public utilities. (You can read the entire CAP on Sustainable Belmont’s Web page.)

What types of programs might be considered? A recent article in the New York Times (thanks to the Belmont Yahoo Group for the heads up)  highlights the steps that other suburbs are taking to curb carbon emissions and to encourage. They include town-financed home energy improvements and zoning changes to allow businesses to generate their own electricity with wind turbines, solar and other green energy sources.

The big test of the next three to five years is whether Belmont will be able to move from planning and committees to actual implementation of some of the great recommendations and ideas in the CAP, and whether Belmont residents and businesses will get a helpful hand in making their homes and businesses greener — or continue to try to do the right thing in the face of a stiff headwind.