Resolution Committing Brookline to Uphold and Adhere to the Paris Agreement on Climate Change

Petitioner: John Harris, TMM8 and Richard Rosen

Annual Town Meeting, May 2017

Brookline residents are familiar with human-induced climate change to some extent or other. Yet, in spite of both imminent and drastic long-term danger posed by climate change to human, animal, and biological life and happiness, not enough has been done in the town to help mitigate and adapt to climate change. Of course, mitigation should be the first priority in order to minimize the impact of climate change in the long run, and, therefore, to minimize the need to adapt to climate change.

Since the United States is now an official Party to the 2015 Paris Agreement, and since the Agreement has now come into force for all the Parties to it, it is only logical that Brookline, with its diverse, well-educated and well-informed citizenry, should play a leading role in facilitating its implementation.

While both the State of Massachusetts and the United States have begun to implement different climate change mitigation plans, neither plan is sufficiently strong to achieve the appropriate prorata share for either the state or the country to achieve the overall goals established by Article 2 of the Paris Agreement. There is a large technical literature on this issue, but a consensus has emerged that the total impact of all the nationally determined contributions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the future will not even come close to keeping the human-induces global average temperature increase to at most 2.0 degrees Celsius by the year 2100.

Thus, more must be done to mitigate climate change by all the parties, and their political subdivisions such as the Town of Brookline, just to meet the current commitment of the U.S. to the Paris Agreement, and even more to meet the 1.5 - 2.0 degree targets. This, then, requires immediate action and commitment by the Town of Brookline to ensure that it both intends to and actually achieves its fair share of global mitigation efforts. Thus, while the Board of Selectmen had drafted a plan in the past to help mitigate climate change, this plan clearly needs to be reviewed and reconsidered, and, probably, greatly strengthened.

Once this is done, this revised plan for mitigating and adapting to climate change should be filed with the appropriate mechanism for accumulating and publicizing such plans for towns and cities, which is the NON-STATE ACTOR ZONE platform maintained by the UNFCCC (the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change). This is appropriate, of course, since Brookline is not a nation state, which are the formal Parties to the Paris Agreement.

Official Town Meeting Vote Select Board Advisory Board

Favorable Action

Favorable Action

Favorable Action




Final Result:

Favorable Action

Community Organization Recommendations
PAX Green Caucus
Official Text of the Article

VOTED: That the Town adopt the following resolution:


WHEREAS the Paris Agreement is now in force under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), and the United States of America is an official Party to the Paris Agreement as of 2016;

WHEREAS climate change has already imposed economic and ecological hardships on various people across the world and it poses ever-increasing hardships on the peoples of the world in the future, including the loss of livelihood and possible death;

WHEREAS the Paris Agreement states "the need for an effective and progressive response to the urgent threat of climate change on the basis of the best available scientific knowledge;"

WHEREAS the Paris Agreement states "the importance of education, training, public awareness, public participation, public access to information and cooperation at all levels on the matters addressed in this Agreement;"

WHEREAS the UNFCCC has established a NON-STATE ACTOR ZONE for Climate Action, which provides a process that states, municipalities and other entities can use as "a platform for the exchange of experiences and sharing of best practices on mitigation and adaptation in a holistic and integrated manner";

WHEREAS as of April 2017, at least 2,508 cities, towns, and communities worldwide have registered their support for the Paris Agreement on the Non-State Zone platform. This includes American cities as diverse as Anchorage, Baltimore, Berkeley, Cleveland, Dallas, Las Vegas, Pittsburgh, Sacramento and Savannah; and locally Boston, Cambridge, Medford and Somerville;

WHEREAS each country signing the Paris Climate Agreement (UNFCCC) sets its own aspirational climate goals, which encourages each Non-State Actor to do the same, to be evaluated every 5 years; The Town of Brookline should set its own aspirational climate action goals for recurring evaluation;

WHEREAS, as a town of diverse and well-educated and informed citizens, Brookline is able to play a leading role relative to other cities and towns within Massachusetts and the U.S. in both mitigating and adapting to climate change;

WHEREAS the Paris Agreement requires that all parties should pursue efforts to help keep the global increase in average temperature due to human-caused climate change to no more than 2.0 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial levels, and to 1.5 degrees Celsius if possible;

BE IT RESOLVED THAT the Town of Brookline:

1. Understands it to be a moral and political obligation of the Town to commit to pursue upholding and adhering to the Paris Agreement of 2015.

2. Commits to register its support for implementing the Paris Agreement on the NonState Zone platform, as other U.S. cities and towns have done.

3. Commits to file its existing 2012 Climate Action Plan as amended in 2015, which was intended to meet the objectives of the Massachusetts Global Warming Solutions
Act of 2008, on the Non-State Platform, as other U.S cities and towns have done.

4. Commits to a goal of developing a revised town plan during 2018 to mitigate and adapt to human-caused climate change that may take a leading role above and beyond
those plans of the State of Massachusetts and the "nationally determined contribution" of the U.S. government, in order to help insure that those state and
federal plans are achieved faster and more thoroughly due to Brookline's actions.

5. Continue educating the citizens of Brookline about the dangers that climate change pose in both the short and long run to the world, in general, and to Massachusetts in particular. This enhanced education will, presumably, facilitate and accelerate both the voluntary and mandatory actions that the citizens of Brookline will take to help slow the rate of climate change.…