WESTPORT — Westport continued its commitment to being on the forefront of sustainability after the Representative Town Meeting passed a petition committing the town to become a net-zero community by 2050.

Becoming a net-zero community means reducing consumption through energy-efficient conservation and clean energy, according to Tony Odell, a member of the green task force. Another goal would be to preserve and protect the quality and quantity of the area’s water and reducing waste so nothing is sent to the landfill.

“We’re asking sustainability to be infused through the town’s 2017 Plan of Conservation and Development and for the net-zero 2050 goal to be front and center,” Odell said. “We believe this is critical to maintaining a successful future for Westport and for Westport to continue being a leader for the country when it comes to these issues.”

The effort to combat global warming locally began with over 300 signatures on a petition, urging Westport’s leadership to become a net-zero community by 2050, meaning no net impact on greenhouse gas emissions, water quality or waste creation. Local groups — including the Westport Public Library, the Westport Historical Society, Earthplace, Westport League of Women Voters, the Westport Arts Center, the Levitt Pavilion, Wakeman Town Farm and Westport Garden Club — also threw their support behind the initiative.

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State efforts

The Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative sets carbon emission goals and a cap-and-trade program to help fund green energy projects. The following states participate in the initiative:






New Hampshire

New York

Rhode Island


In the end, 23 RTM members voiced their support for the effort, with seven opposing and two abstaining.

In approving the petition, Westport became the first in the state to approve a net-zero goal across different levels of town government. The petition got an endorsement from a variety of boards throughout town.

Westport’s net-zero goal plays into the state’s Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, a plan to cut greenhouse gas emissions another 30 percent between 2020 and 2030 — an overall 65 percent reduction from the original goal set in 2009.

Includes prior reporting by Laura Weiss.