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, Eighth Floor, Albany, NY. 12233-1030, Attention Climate Smart Communities. Or email an electronic copy of the pledge to email@example.com. Within a few weeks, your executive will receive a letter confirming the community's inclusion in the Climate Smart Communities program. As a Climate Smart Community, you will be placed on our email list to receive notification of grant opportunities, presentations and training, and other items of interest.
- 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.
Next Steps: Carrying Out the Climate Smart Communities Pledge
Every Climate Smart Community needs to accomplish the following steps:
- Appoint a climate coordinator or establish an energy or climate task force to assess local resources and issues, galvanize community support and develop an energy or climate plan.
- Identify sources of greenhouse gases in the community.
- Set goals for emission reduction and develop a climate action plan.
- Implement your plan. Most communities begin by reducing emissions from their own facilities, vehicles or programs; some move at the same time to reduce emissions in the community at large.
- Encourage businesses, institutions and individuals to "go green" by demonstrating and explaining the savings from energy efficiency and low-carbon energy.
- Learn from our Climate Smart Communities webinar series. DEC will host a series of occasional Climate Smart Community webinars presenting useful information to promote exchange of ideas among communities and participating agencies. Webinars are accessible to anyone via an Internet connection and telephone.
- Going forward... Notify the Climate Smart Communities program of your successes so the state can recognize your accomplishments and encourage others to join you. Read how some Climate Smart Communities are saving energy and cutting greenhouse gas emissions.
The Climate Smart Communities Guide to Local Action contains how-to's and case studies to help communities get started as they implement the CSC pledge.
To help initiate their climate programs or save money on implementation, many New York local governments have joined climate-related associations or advisory groups (see links on right).
- Regional climate consortia are becoming increasingly active in New York: AdkCAP (Adirondack Climate and Energy Plan) is a consortium of community leaders and experts whose goal is to achieve energy independence in 20 years, setting an example for how other rural places in the U.S. could get off carbon and use the movement to support local economies; the Northern Westchester Energy Action Coalition is a 14-town group seeking cost containment for energy with a strong commitment to reducing harmful greenhouse gas emissions and pollution.
- ICLEI Local Governments for Sustainability is a membership association of local governments committed to climate protection and sustainability. More than 500 local governments in the U.S., including more than 40 in New York have become members of ICLEI and adopted its five milestone planning process for the development and implementation of climate smart initiatives. [be sure there']
- The Climate Registry (TCR) is a nonprofit partnership that has established a common system for recording, independently verifying and publicly reporting greenhouse gas emissions. Twenty-one New York public and private organizations, including three local governments, DEC and NYSERDA have enrolled as reporting members to the Climate Registry. Though membership is voluntary, reporting entities are required to verify and publicly report their emissions.
More about Adopt the Climate Smart Communities Pledge:
- List of Climate Smart Communities - List of communities that have adopted the climate smart communities pledge
- Map of Climate Smart Communities - Map showing all the climate smart communities that have become a climate partner by signing the pledge
- Climate Smart Communities Pledge - Model text for a Climate Smart Communities Resolution.
- How to Set Up a Climate Smart Coordinator or Task Force - Information for Climate Smart Communities on creating a task force or coordinating efforts to implement the pledge.
- Climate Smart Communities Summary for Local Officials - First steps to becoming a climate smart community