Climate Smart Communities
Local Action to Combat Climate Change
Two types of actions enable Climate Smart Communities to minimize the risks of climate change and reduce its long-term costs:
- Reducing GHG Emissions: Starting now to reduce GHG emissions and create permanent sinks that remove GHG from the atmosphere; these actions will help stabilize atmospheric GHGs at manageable levels and avoid severe climatic changes.
- Adapting to a Changing Climate: Altering the built and natural environment in anticipation of predicted climatic changes, or in response to actual changes, which will alleviate the risks associated with unavoidable changes in climate.
Many municipalities begin by reducing emissions and increasing climate resilience in municipal operations alone, but action by the entire community is needed to make significant reductions in greenhouse gas emissions and to successfully adapt to unavoidable climate change. Local governments can act directly to reduce fossil fuel consumption in municipal buildings and vehicles, to improve solid waste management practices and to adapt infrastructure and operations for resilience to anticipated changes as the climate warms. Flooding and changes in precipitation and snow pack that may affect water supplies are of special concern to localities.
To help the broader community act, local governments can enable climate-smart practices through land use plans, zoning and building codes and efficient transportation policies. A key local government role is leading, educating and setting an example of energy efficiency and adaptation.
Climate Smart Communities Guide to Local Action
The Climate Smart Communities Guide to Local Action contains overviews of possible community actions, how-to's and case studies to help communities implement the CSC pledge.
The table of contents below links to guide sections now available; additional sections will be posted as they are developed.
- Pledge to be a Climate Smart Community- A public commitment to reduce GHG emissions and prepare for unavoidable climate change
- Adopt the Climate Smart Communities Pledge - Joining and benefits; model pledge; list and map of CSCs
- Set goals, inventory emissions, plan for climate action- Steps for communities as they assess their emissions and choose actions
- Decrease community energy use - Reducing greenhouse gases and taxpayer cost for electricity and fossil fuel
- Municipal Facilities and Operations - Buildings and local services, such as water treatment and street lighting
- Municipal Transportation - Reducing miles traveled by municipal governments making government fleets more efficient
- Municipal Low-Energy Policies - Green purchasing and other policies that save energy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions
- Increase community use of renewable energy
- Tapping Abundant Renewable Energy Resources - Taking advantage of the state's abundant renewable resources to supply more of the energy we need
- Realize benefits of recycling and other climate-smart solid waste management practices
- Climate Smart Waste Management - Managing materials to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and grow the economy
- Reduce greenhouse gas emissions through use of climate-smart land-use tools
- Enhance community resilience and prepare for the effects of climate change
- Increasing Local Climate Resilience - Developing local adaptation plans to minimize the adverse impacts of climate change
- Support development of a green innovation economy - To come
- Inform and inspire the public - To come
- Commit to an evolving process of climate action - To come
The Climate Smart Communities program is jointly sponsored by the following six New York State agencies: Department of Environmental Conservation; Energy Research and Development Authority; Public Service Commission; Department of State; Department of Transportation; and the Department of Health.
More about Climate Smart Communities:
- Climate Smart Communities Certification Program - A more robust framework to guide local governments climate actions and to provide recognition to leading communities.
- Climate Smart Community Coordinators - Information and contacts for the four regional Climate Smart Community coordinators and the two statewide coordinators.
- Next Steps for Local Governments - Guidance for local governments intersted in joining the Climate Smart Communities program.
- Adopt the Climate Smart Communities Pledge - Model Climate Smart Community Pledge that municipal government leaders can use as a guide in developing their own Climate Smart Community Pledge
- Local Greenhouse Gas Inventories - Available tools and assistance for conducting a greenhouse gas inventory.
- Develop a Local Climate Action Plan - Information on creating a local climate action plan.
- Reduce Utility Bills for Municipal Facilities and Operations - Energy efficiency and conservation in buildings and in local services, such as water treatment and street lighting
- Reduce Municipal Energy Use for Transportation - Reducing vehicle miles traveled by municipal governments and employee commuters; making local government fleets more efficient
- Low-Energy Policies for Communities - Green purchasing and other policies that save energy and reduce greenhouse gases from government and the community.
- Climate Smart Waste Management - Information on reducing solid waste for Climate Smart Communities.
- Climate Smart Communities Toolkit - The Climate Smart Communities Toolkit allows New York communities to find recommended practices that will help to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to the effects of climate change, specifically in the areas of land-use, transportation policy, green building, infrastructure investment, green infrastructure, housing policy and adaptation and reslience.
- Renewable Energy for Climate Smart Communities - Information on the availability and implementation of renewable energy use for New York's Climate Smart Communities.
- Climate Change Adaptation - Increasing local resistance to climate change impacts
- Climate Smart Webinar Presentations - Links to past Climate Smart Communities' webinar presentations.
- Climate Smart Communities in the News - Learn how pledge items have been translated into tangible climate smart actions.