Confronting Climate Change

Medford’s Climate Vision is that Medford is a place where everyone can thrive, now and for generations to come, ensuring that our future is just and equitable, resilient, healthy, and carbon neutral.

Medford’s Climate Action and Adaptation Plan was released in April 2022 and is available to read or download here. This plan was developed with the input of the public, staff, non-profits and state agencies throughout 2019-2021. Information about the development of the plan are on pages 60-62. 

The City’s Climate Vulnerability Assessment was released in 2019 and can be viewed here.

In 2021, the Office of Planning, Development and Sustainability released a 20-year retrospective on the climate work done by the City of Medford. 

In 2021, Medford committed to the Global “Race to Zero” campaign, pledging to cut our greenhouse gases in half by 2030 and to be carbon neutral by 2050. 

Hazard Mitigation Plan

Medford has also created a hazard mitigation plan, the most current of which was updated in 2017. Hazard mitigation planning is a proactive effort to identify actions that can be taken to reduce the dangers to life and property from natural hazard events. In the greater Boston area hazard mitigation planning tends to focus most on flooding, which is the most likely natural hazard to impact these communities. The Federal Disaster Mitigation Act of 2000 requires all municipalities that wish to be eligible to receive FEMA funding for hazard mitigation grants, to adopt a local multi-hazard mitigation plan and update this plan in five year intervals.

Medford’s Commitment to Climate Resiliency

Medford participates in a number of climate change initiatives, some of which are listed below:

Metro Mayors Coalition, a group of 15 Boston-area mayors tackling climate change issues together. In 2015 they signed a commitment to climate preparedness and in 2016 signed a historic agreement to go net-zero region-wide by 2050.

Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy, an international alliance with a shared long-term vision of promoting and supporting voluntary action to combat climate change and move to a low emission, resilient society.

Climate Mayors, a US mayors group working on local action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and to support federal and global-level policy actions.

Medford staff have played a vital role in forming the Resilient Mystic Collaborative, bringing together the communities of the Mystic River Watershed to work on climate change issues facing our region. Staff from Medford’s Planning, Development and Sustainability office, Engineering Office and Health Department are active participants in the collaborative, which has brought millions of dollars in funding to climate issues in the Mystic River Watershed.

Additionally, Medford is a founding member of the New England Municipal Sustainability Network.

Medford is a Massachusetts Green Community, and has been reporting on our municipal green house gasses annually since 2010. We are also part of the US Department of Energy Better Buildings Challenge, where we were the first Massachusetts community to join the Challenge. Our annual Better Buildings data is shared here.

According to the Trust for Public Land, 100% of Medford homes are located within a ten-minute walk of a park. Parks can counter urban heat, store carbon in trees, plants, and soil, and absorb stormwater to reduce flooding. They are important urban infrastructure that make cities better equipped to fight climate change.

Medford’s commitment to climate resiliency goes back to 1999 when the City joined the Cities for Climate Protection Campaign, sponsored by the International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives (ICLEI). This partnership between the City and ICLEI allowed the City to hire a graduate student intern to complete a greenhouse gas emissions inventory during the summer of 1999. Read the press release, the original Memorandum of Understanding between Medford and ICLEI, and the list of the other 55 cities participating in this initiative here.

Take action.
Individual actions, added together, can make a real difference in reducing the greenhouse gas emissions that cause climate change.

Learn more.
Medford has produced a series of reports and documents on energy use, climate change impacts and more. Read them here:

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