Fred Davis chairs the Medfield Energy Committee and his “guest column” that follows appeared in the Medfield Press –
Medfield Guest Column: The Climate Issue: Less Inconvenient, Not Impossible
By Fred Davis
Medfielders can appreciate the difficult questions young people here and everywhere are asking: Why aren’t adults responding adequately to the climate emergency?
On Friday, Sept. 20, the Global Strike will involve millions of people worldwide; perhaps you or your child will be walking out of school or work.
For decades to come, there will be no answers that can entirely satisfy the accusations. But right now, a starting point should be an honest recognition that all carbon pollution in the world is an accumulation of all individual carbon footprints. Virtually every person in Medfield shares a significant responsibility in the cause, and therefore, also in the cure.
“Inconvenient” was how Al Gore shrewdly characterized this problem 13 years ago. Developments since then have made de-carbonizing more and more achievable, especially here in Massachusetts, the number one state in the country in energy efficiency (for eight years running, ACEEE).
A consensus has now crystallized among professionals as to what the necessary path looks like. Most if not all steps on the path are available right now, and are usually profitable. Drivers must drive electric. Available roofs must be solarized. Building owners must seal/insulate (to “passive house” standards), and upgrade lighting (to highest efficiency LED with controls). These steps are a whole lot less inconvenient than even a couple of years ago.
Most impactful is to “electrify” existing heating systems: replacing gas and oil boilers and furnaces with high-efficiency electric heat-pumps. Also, any new construction / rehab today must have a carbon footprint that is at least net-zero.
The bottom line is that steps necessary on the path to respond adequately to the climate crisis are, here and now, the responsibility of everyone who drives or lives or works in our town.
Davis is a 40-year veteran of the energy efficiency field. He is the new chairman of the Medfield Energy Committee, which over 10 years had reduced municipal energy use by 44 percent. All views are his own.