Pass the strongest possible Beudo amendments and minimize the use of dubious global offsets
I write to urge city councillors to pass the strongest possible Building Energy Use Disclosure Ordinance amendments, with a target date on net-zero greenhouse gases of 2035 for large emitters, and effective financial support for smaller emitters. A net-zero target date of 2050 is clearly inadequate, given the increased urgency of the climate crisis.
Please also minimize the use of global offsets. Boston plans to allow only 10 percent of emissions to be compensated for by carbon offsets, and the state up to 15 percent. Strict limits on offset use are essential, given the dubious and often counterproductive record of global offsets.
I attended a recent rally at City Hall sponsored by Sunrise and other environmental groups and was struck by the sincerity and passion of Cambridge Rindge and Latin School students on this issue. Please do not fail the next generation by bending to pressure from corporations and universities to water down climate action. We have collectively delayed action for much too long, while engaging in fine-sounding rhetoric on climate. Now is the time to prove our commitment by taking strong action.
Jonathan Harris, Marie Avenue
good idea. too bad the question always comes back to how to physically implement the systems needed and what it takes financially. How to comply without being displaced or going bankrupt. Solve these and I’m all for it.
Trying to convert small properties (triple deck units especially) in any way is going to be a nightmare for the folks that own and live in them. I don’t see how the city is going to in any way produce enough financial assistance for small owners (owner occupied single condo units in 3 unit buildings that are not part of a larger complex, trust etc.)
These buildings are in many cases 100+ years old, and anytime you open up a wall for any reason you create a whole lot of risks/can of worms of additional work that has to get done. Small owners don’t have an extra 50k to 100k of equity to borrow on (especially those who already have a mortgage ongoing).
And opening walls will be needed to rewire, remove gas lines, and then replace furnace systems… it becomes a serious burden in the current environment. The current planned set aside will not be sufficient to help enough small property owners… never mind deal with having to be likely moved out of our homes during such a renovation.
I know my wife and I certainly could not afford the current rental rate in the city if we had to temporarily move out for such work….
According to data collected by an MAPC-led consortium, as of the fourth quarter of 2022, the monthly median asking rent for market rate Cambridge apartment was $2,650 for a one bedroom unit, $3.275 for a two bedroom unit and $4,195 for a three bedroom unit.
These are considerably more than we pay for Mortgage and utilities; never mind the renovation costs. Our current furnace is only a year old, replacing it again seems neither efficient nor environmentally friendly. Its one thing to target the big new developers who are building fresh with new regulations, they are companies that can absorb costs, not the ordinary people who have to struggle to pay the bills.
I, too, hope that the city realizes what a burden this will be on you, and some of my friends.
Unfortunately, so many on our Council really don’t deal in reality. They want to ignore what might be behind 100 year old walls as well as all the other costs that you so well enumerated.
As I keep saying, because of our nonsensical electoral system, it is very probable that eight or perhaps all nine of the current councilors will be re-elected this November, and so what is being proposed is likely to be enacted re Jonathan Harris’s piece.
But, Cambridge only talks a good story about the environment and climate change. Here is an example. In Cambridge, if you go to a supermarket and don’t have your own bag, the only bag it can give you is a paper one, made from cutting down trees (I thought Cambridge didn’t want to see trees cut).
However, when you put disposable food trash in the proper bin, you can only use bio-degradable
bags. Why doesn’t Cambridge require that bio-degradable bags be used at supermarkets (and other stores) rather than paper? Don’t we have an entire city bureaucracy looking at environmental problems!
What do you say Mr. McGovern? Ms. Nolan. Mr. Zondervan.
The author of this letter, much like our Mayor and BEUDO enthusiasts, are unburdened with the complexities of the real world. This will end in lawsuits and Cambridge being a “climate bully” by pushing ahead of the state to achieve a negligible gain for climate change and a fleeting virtue signaling endorphin rush.
What a great idea to put the citizens of this city thru the ringer while the most impacted states, like Florida, turn a complete blind eye to this. Ask more of the people who are already doing their part so that others can slack off even more. Sounds like a perfect government-initiated plan!