Climate Smart Communities Pledge
The Climate Smart Communities Pledge includes all the elements of a successful local climate program. Communities can adopt the Model Pledge as a resolution of the governing body, or add their own legislative findings or pledge elements. The ten elements of the pledge are:
- Pledge to Combat Climate Change by Becoming a Climate Smart Community
Set goals to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and adapt to predicted climatic changes. Establish a task force. Designate a point person. Join a national climate campaign such as ICLEI - Local Governments for Sustainability.
- Set Goals, Inventory Emissions, Move to Action
Gather data about local GHG emission sources. Inventory emissions. Establish baselines. Develop quantifiable interim GHG emission targets. Propose emission reduction schedule and financing strategy. Develop a Local Action Plan for reducing emissions.
- Decrease Energy Demand for Local Government Operations
Adopt the state's goal of reducing electricity use by 15 percent from projected levels no later than 2015. Take into account existing public facilities, new public buildings, community infrastructure, vehicle fleet and commuting. Improve waste management in government operations.
- Encourage Renewable Energy for Local Government Operations
Set a goal to maximize the use of public energy generated from renewable sources (e.g. solar, wind, small hydro).
- Realize Benefits of Recycling and Other Climate Smart Solid Waste Management Practices
Promote reuse and ensure access to comprehensive recycling. Adopt a green purchasing program.
- Promote Climate Protection Through Community Land Use Tools
Keep development low-carbon-intensity and resilient to climatic change. Update land use policies, building codes, community plans in ways that reduce sprawl, minimize development in floodplains, and protect forests.
- Plan for Adaptation to Unavoidable Climate Change
Identify risks to government facilities and functions (e.g. water supply, sewers), and factor into long-term investments and decision-making. Develop a Climate Adaptation Plan, with priority to the most vulnerable areas.
- Support a Green Innovation Economy
Incorporate climate protection and sustainability into economic development plans. Encourage work force training and public education for energy efficiency and renewable energy.
- Inform and Inspire the Public
Lead by example. Publicize local government commitment to reducing energy use, saving tax dollars, and adapting to changing conditions. Encourage citizens to follow suit.
- Commit to an Evolving Process
Be willing to consider new ideas and adapt existing approaches. Compare successes and cooperate with neighboring communities.
Model Pledge for Community Adoption
Council member________ moved and Council member ________ seconded that:
WHEREAS, the Town/Village/City of ______________ (hereinafter "local government") believes that climate change poses a real and increasing threat to our local and global environments which is primarily due to the burning of fossil fuels; and
WHEREAS, the effects of climate change will endanger our infrastructure, economy and livelihoods; harm our farms, orchards, ecological communities, including native fish and wildlife populations; spread invasive species and exotic diseases; reduce drinking water supplies and recreational opportunities; and pose health threats to our citizens; and
WHEREAS, we believe that our response to climate change provides us with an unprecedented opportunity to save money, and to build livable, energy-independent and secure communities, vibrant innovation economies, healthy and safe schools, and resilient infrastructures; and
WHEREAS, we believe the scale of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reductions required for climate stabilization will require sustained and substantial efforts; and
WHEREAS, we believe that even if emissions were dramatically reduced today, communities would still be required to adapt to the effects of climate change for decades to come,
IT IS HEREBY RESOLVED that Town/Village/City of ______________ , in order to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to a changing climate will
1. Pledge to Combat Climate Change by Becoming a Climate Smart Community
Set goals to reduce GHG emissions and adapt to predicted climatic changes. Establish a task force of local officials and community members to review the issues and propose a plan of action. Designate a point person who will oversee climate change initiatives and publicly report on progress. Work cooperatively with similar task forces in neighboring communities to ensure that efforts complement and reinforce one another. As an official signal of commitment and for access to technical resources, sign on to a widespread climate campaign such as ICLEI Local Governments for Sustainability - Climate Protection campaign.
2. Set Goals, Inventory Emissions, Move to Action
Gather data, inventory GHG gas emissions, and establish baselines for local government operations and community sectors. Develop quantifiable interim GHG emission targets consistent with emission reduction goals and propose a schedule and financing strategy to meet them. Encourage stakeholder and public input and develop an action plan. Report emissions to The Climate Registry (TCR), which has developed a standardized method for reporting emissions inventories; use ICLEI and TCR's tools to track and evaluate progress.
3. Decrease Energy Demand for Local Government Operations
Adopt a goal of reducing electricity use by 15 percent from projected levels no later than 2015.
Existing Public Facilities. Inventory current building electricity usage and identify opportunities for conservation and efficiency retrofits. Obtain energy assessments from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), the New York Power Authority, the Long Island Power Authority or other professionals. Consider actions such as purchasing energy efficient equipment and appliances, such as ENERGY STAR®; improving lighting, heating, and cooling efficiency; setting thermostats for maximum energy conservation; decreasing plug load from office equipment; and increasing pump efficiency in water and wastewater systems.
New Public Buildings. Achieve at least minimum U.S. Green Building Council Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design standards (LEED Silver) for all new local government buildings.
Infrastructure. Incorporate energy efficient technologies and operations and maintenance practices into municipal street lighting, traffic signals, and water and wastewater treatment facilities.
Vehicle Fleet and Commuting. Improve the average fuel efficiency of local government fleet vehicles. Discourage vehicle idling and encourage bicycling, car-pooling and public transit for employees. Consider reducing the number of vehicles; converting fleet vehicles to sustainable alternative fuels; and using electric vehicles where possible.
4. Encourage Renewable Energy for Local Government Operations
Supply as much of the local government's power, heat and hot water needs as possible from solar, wind, and small hydro through purchase or direct generation.
5. Realize Benefits of Recycling and Other Climate Smart Solid Waste Management Practices
Expand the "reduce, reuse and recycle" approach to waste management in local government operations and in the whole community. Reduce the amount of solid waste generated -- promote backyard composting, implement volume-based pricing and educate residents on how to prevent waste. Promote reuse by organizing community-wide yard sales, and providing a space for drop-off or trade of reusable goods. Provide recycling receptacles in local government buildings and outdoor spaces, require duplex printing in government offices, compost food scraps and green waste, and adopt a comprehensive green purchasing program.
6. Promote Climate Protection through Community Land Use Planning
Combat climate change by encouraging low-emissions development that is resilient to climatic changes. When updating land use policies, building codes or community plans, include provisions to combat climate change; reduce sprawl; preserve and protect open space, biodiversity, and water supplies; promote compact, transit-oriented, bikeable and walkable communities; promote infill development; minimize new development in floodplains; maintain or establish healthy community forests; and promote best forest management practices and encourage tree planting, especially along waterways, to increase shading and to absorb carbon dioxide.
7. Plan for Adaptation to Unavoidable Climate Change
Evaluate risks from unavoidable climate change, set adaptation goals and plan for adaptation. Identify climate change impacts (such as flooding, drought, and extreme temperatures) that could affect the community. Identify areas such as water supply and sewer infrastructure that may be at risk due to sea-level rise and future changes in climate. Factor risks into long-term investments and decision-making. Execute climate change adaptation and preparedness measures through local government planning, development and operations, giving priority to the highest risk areas.
8. Support a Green Innovation Economy
Identify opportunities to incorporate climate protection, sustainability and environmental goods and service industries into economic development plans. Encourage workforce development training and school curricula that support the emerging green collar job sector, including renewable energy and energy efficiency, as well as climate smart solid waste management practices. Procure climate smart goods and services for local government operations and support modernizing of local and national electricity grids.
9. Inform and Inspire the Public
Lead by example. Highlight local government commitment to reducing energy use, saving tax dollars, and adapting to changing conditions. Demonstrate the benefits of energy savings, energy efficiency, and renewable energy projects by hosting open houses; distributing fliers; holding local meetings; working with school districts, colleges, and universities to develop climate change curricula and programs; engaging faith-based communities in climate protection; and regularly communicating community climate protection goals and progress to constituents.
10. Commit to an Evolving Process
Acknowledge that research and policy on climate protection are constantly improving and evolving. Be willing to consider new ideas and commit to update plans and policies as needed. Compare successes, cooperate and collaborate with neighboring communities to redirect less-effective actions and amplify positive results.