Last Monday, the Concord Energy & Environment Advisory Committee, Concord Greenspace, ICLEI-USA and others co-hosted the first "Local Climate Stocktake" to assess the city's progress towards its climate goals. Little did we know that we were making history! It turns out that Concord is the first city in the world to host a "local climate stocktake" which is an initiative that came out of the Paris Agreement "Global Stocktake". Bravo Concord for leading the world in this important process!!
Below you will find the notes from the event. If you didn't have the chance to attend, it's not too late to provide feedback! We've set up a feedback form on our website where you can provide YOUR input at anytime and we will use your thoughts and ideas as we move forward with our joint climate action initiatives. Your input will go directly to the Concord Energy and Environment Advisory Committee and will be public record.
Provide YOUR input here!
“What should Concord do to combat climate change?”
Here are the notes from participant responses:
Plug-ins downtown for EV’s – in addition to along highways
Places for bikes to lock up
Solar opportunities for homeowners
Other communities have fronted money for rooftop solar and this is paid backover time through taxes
Access funds for EV chargers.
The VW funds have been allocated
Inflation Reduction Act funds have not been allocated but staff was not assigned to apply and it is a big task (a community member tried but it was too much). Need a plan to get this $. Staff assigned.
Necessary for economic development
Less costly solutions that individuals can do without a lot of money: composting, walking more, biking while saving money, energy reduction. Facilitate these options.
GreenLifeNH.com has lifestyle tips for individuals
ADVOCATE, and work with city planners
City is developing a form based code to encourage growth where we already have development (so as to minimize impacts to open space)
Purchase street trees through Concord’s street tree program (act as a carbon sink)
Everyone should plant pollinators (Next year the Concord Garden Club is hosting Doug Tallamay a speaker on this topic)
Reduce parking area requirements of businesses (France requires all parking lots over a certain size to have solar)
Change code so that nothing built today has fossil fuel power
Electric school busses for both Concord School District and Merrimack Valley School District
CSD applied for grant funding for a new electric bus but it was declined. Will try again
Efficient heat for low income housing
NH Saves and Community Action Program can help
Department heads need to prioritize green decisions, ie, gas powered golf cart purchase and other hasty decisions
Support Sustainability Director position. Was proposed 5 years ago as a key investment to activating our city goals on renewable energy and emissions. Is not currently in the 2024 budget.
Concord Greenspace has information on how to advocate
A lot of trees have been lost in Concord. Need to look at ways to maintain and increase tree cover other than voluntary
Urbana, Illinois has a forester and program to replace trees on a 1:1 basis.
Concord is building new gas stations, such as that on Gavins Falls Road, next to a river. Need city zoning to change so we don’t build new gas stations, but we do build new EV charging stations.
Need e-bike charging and share program
Councilor Stacey Brown is working on this
Now there are also racks on buses that can accommodate e-bikes
Heat pump campaign, like a solarize campaign
Ex., ARPA + Efficiency Maine in Augusta, Maine. Here, there is good assistance for heat pump installation
Sustainability needs to become central to city investments and financing, not an
Visualizations to see how future city plans would look
Establish mechanisms for cross-pollination between committees.
Concord has acquired ARPA money for solar at Wastewater treatment plant, which is the biggest electricity consumer in the city
Integrate different systems for appropriate stormwater mitigation
Community power committee may be able to help advise the city and businesses are lighting unused areas, such as tennis courts in winter. Costly and wasteful. Use sensors perhaps to not do this and can the city take a role in working with businesses to reduce this?
Encourage NH based medical centers to pledge to reduce emissions (Federal DHHS goal). MA hospitals have pledged but NH hospitals are not on board
Follow Concord Greenspace (https://www.concordgreenspacecoalition.com/) guidance on where our advocacy will make a difference. Write letters when needed and show up.
City staff need to be unified around sustainability goals and have tools to implement sustainability improvements.
Need to reduce reliance on fossil fuels by 4% per year to reach 2050 goal. What is Concord going to do this year?
Concord High School has a large community for outreach
To effect change, need to change systemic factors, find what people can do themselves, incentives. It shouldn’t feel like people are being forced to DO anything. (pricing, social trends, shift norms, etc.).
Community champions can lead change. (ref. Tipping point, Malcolm Gladwell).
Concord Greenspace will have a portal to continue to collect feedback on what Concord can/should do.