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Pledge Element 2 - Next Steps for Local Governments

Carrying Out the Climate Smart Communities Pledge

Every Climate Smart Community should follow the following steps:

  • Appoint a Climate Smart Community coordinator, a Climate Smart Community task force and an internal "green team." The Climate Smart Community coordinator and task force assess community resources and issues and galvanize community support. The internal green team focuses on municipal operations and facilities.

  • Identify sources of greenhouse gases in the community and those associated with municipal operations.

  • Audit municipal buildings for energy efficiency.

  • Review existing plans for opportunities to decrease vulnerability with the Climate Smart Resiliency Planning Tool (see link on right).

  • Assess vulnerabilities and risks to changing climate hazards.

  • Set goals for emission reduction and develop both municipal operations and community climate action plans.

  • Implement the plans. Most communities begin by reducing emissions from their own facilities, vehicles or programs; while moving 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 hosts a series of monthly 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.

  • Consult the CSC Certification Manual, select the specific local actions that are right for your Climate Smart Community and plan to work toward becoming a Certified CSC.

  • Notify the Climate Smart Communities program of your successes so the state can recognize your accomplishments and encourage others to join you.

  • Read how other Climate Smart Communities are saving energy, cutting greenhouse gas emissions and preparing for a changing climate.

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.

The Orange County Sustainability and Smart Growth Toolkit (link leaves DEC's website) can be used by NY Communities as a model to find recommended practices that will help to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Further Resources

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: the Northern Westchester Energy Action Coalition (see link on right) is a 16-town group seeking cost containment for energy with a strong commitment to reducing harmful greenhouse gas emissions and pollution.

ICLEI Local Governments for Sustainability (see link on right) 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.

The Climate Registry (TCR) (see link on right) 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.