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Adopt the Climate Smart Communities Pledge

Community Action is Crucial to Protect Our Climate

Local governments have direct control or strong influence on most of the state's greenhouse gas (GHG) emission sources (including buildings, transportation, land use and community services), so local action is critical to reducing heat-trapping emissions. Cities, towns, villages and counties also are best able to assess their own vulnerability to a changing climate, and to initiate adaptation measures when changes cannot be avoided.

Joining Climate Smart Communities

Any New York town, city, village or county can join Climate Smart Communities, without cost. To join:

  • Adopt the Climate Smart Communities Pledge. Formally adopting the Climate Smart Communities Pledge initiates a community's commitment to GHG emission reduction and climate adaptation. The Climate Smart Communities Pledge includes all the elements of a successful local climate program. By reducing GHG emissions and preparing for a changing climate, local climate programs protect public health and safety, and support a secure economic future. Local legislative bodies can adopt the pledge as it appears on this website, or can add their own legislative findings or pledge elements.
  • Inform DEC that your community has adopted the pledge. Mail an executed, certified copy of the resolution to: Office of Climate Change, NYS DEC, 625 Broadway, Ninth Floor, Albany, NY. 12233-1030, Attention Climate Smart Communities. Or email an electronic copy of the pledge to climatechange@dec.ny.gov. Within a few weeks, your executive will receive a letter confirming the community's inclusion in the Climate Smart Communities program.
  • Sign up for the Climate Smart Communities Listserv. You will receive notification of funding opportunities, educational webinars and other important information and opportunities.

Benefits for Climate Smart Communities

Support from the Climate Smart Network: Climate Smart Communities receive notification of state and federal assistance that they can leverage to help adopt low-carbon technologies, and of programs and support for efficiency improvements and energy conservation. Plus, they receive an advantage in accessing some state assistance programs. They can call on the help of other local governments that already have adopted climate smart practices and policies. And their climate-smart accomplishments receive statewide recognition.

Saving taxpayer dollars: Reducing energy costs and improving operational efficiency will save taxpayer dollars for many years after the initial cost is paid. Climate smart land use practices can lower the cost of infrastructure and public services.

Improving operations and infrastructure: Increasing the efficiency of buildings and facilities saves operating dollars and often reduces other air pollutants at the same time, both within facilities and in the community at large. Modernized infrastructure will better support community services and will provide a more effective environment for municipal workers.

Increasing energy independence and security: The cheapest energy is energy that is not used. When a community lowers its energy consumption, it becomes less vulnerable to restrictions in foreign energy sources, and keeps more of its energy dollars within the local or regional economy.

Demonstrating leadership: Each Climate Smart Community joins the state's most forward-thinking municipalities in active climate protection. Climate Smart Communities benefit from the experience and knowledge of communities with mature programs, and in turn help other communities to get started. The Climate Smart Communities Pledge demonstrates that local government is acting to protect the future of its citizens and of coming generations, reassures concerned citizens and invites everyone to join in doing something about climate change.

Positioning for economic growth: Providers of "green" (energy efficiency and renewable energy) products and services -- and the workers who install and maintain these products -- will benefit as communities increase efficiency and adopt clean technologies. Green technologies generate more jobs per dollar than conventional fuel technologies, and these dollars are more likely to be retained in the local economy. According to the American Solar Energy Society (link at right), the renewable energy and energy efficiency sectors have the potential to generate up to 37 million jobs by 2030 - more than 17 percent of all anticipated employment in the nation.

More about Adopt the Climate Smart Communities Pledge: