January 2021 – Beverly Mayor Michael Cahill

Beverly, MA Mayor Michael Cahill
Climate Mayors Steering Committee member

In these early days of the new year, we are heartened and energized by the Biden Administration’s urgent focus on climate change, as demonstrated through the series of Executive Orders vowing monumental action in cutting emissions. I joined the US Climate Mayors in 2017 in response to the former President’s decision to leave the Paris Climate Agreement, and I’m incredibly excited to continue working with so many great local, state, and now Federal partners to fight climate change. 

With a population of 43,000, five train stations, 14 miles of coastline, and located twenty miles north of Boston, we are actively building Beverly’s resilience to the rising sea while doing everything we can to reduce greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to these changes. We’re learning as we go, and trying to take as many meaningful steps as we can to move Beverly forward on our path to net zero as a community. Here are some recent examples.

In the past decade, we have installed 7.5 MW of solar on municipal land, with 4.7 MW more to be brought online in 2021, as we seek to capture the potential of every parcel of city-owned land. As a state-designated Green Community, we’ve improved energy efficiency at most of our public buildings, and switched all our street lights to LED bulbs. This summer, our new, nearly net-zero police station will be heated and cooled by a geothermal system, with both rooftop and canopy solar arrays, bringing us one step closer to meeting our goal for clean-powered municipal operations by 2030.

We have also begun to build robust EV charging infrastructure in our municipal parking facilities, with four electric vehicle charging stations online and nine more to be installed in the next few months, including four Level 3 charging stations. We have deployed our first electric school bus with another on the way, and are in the process of launching a green municipal aggregation program to make renewable electricity accessible to all of our community members.

Understanding that this work must be scaled quickly, we have joined regional advocacy initiatives to enact statewide policy and address shared transportation challenges. The threats of climate change are shared, and so must be the solutions. We are at the midpoint of developing a joint climate action plan, called Resilient Together, in partnership with our neighboring City of Salem to realize our collective vision for a resilient and sustainable future.

Together we have set citywide carbon neutrality goals by mid-century, with community resilience, economic vitality, and natural resource protection at the forefront. As we seek to integrate climate mitigation into our everyday operations, we strive to strengthen partnerships with and demonstrate leadership to the community organizations, institutions, and utilities inside and outside our geographic bounds. 

The next decade of climate action is critical for our future, and we are more committed than ever to move boldly at every level to ensure a bright, safe, and sustainable future for our kids and grandchildren. We welcome the federal administration’s leadership to help us deliver the strong and urgent action needed across the country and the world.