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Climate Smart Communities Guide to Local Action

Taking Steps to Combat Climate Change

Image of NYS with information about Climate Smart Communities' actions around the state.

Climate Smart Communities is a network of New York communities engaged in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and improving climate resilience. 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.

Climate Smart Communities Guide to Local Action

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.

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.

  1. Pledge to be a Climate Smart Community- A public commitment to reduce GHG emissions and prepare for unavoidable climate change
  2. Set goals, inventory emissions, plan for climate action- Steps for communities as they assess their emissions and choose actions
  3. Decrease community energy use - Reducing greenhouse gases and taxpayer cost for electricity and fossil fuel
  4. Increase community use of renewable energy
  5. Realize benefits of recycling and other climate-smart solid waste management practices
  6. Reduce greenhouse gas emissions through use of climate-smart land-use tools
  7. Enhance community resilience and prepare for the effects of climate change
  8. Support development of a green innovation economy - To come
  9. Inform and inspire the public - To come
  10. 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.

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