Climate Smart Program

The Time To Act Is NOW.

Protect your community, your children’s future and your pocketbook …

According to NASA, 97% of scientists agree that man-made greenhouse gases are very likely triggering blazing wildfires, raging floods, melting glaciers, rising temperatures, severe droughts, and rising sea levels. We have about a decade left before reaching a tipping point from which our precious planet’s health may never recover. Learn more

“Twenty-five years ago, people could be excused for not knowing much, or doing much, about climate change. Today we have no excuse.” — Desmond Tutu

“The world will not be destroyed by those who do evil, but by those who watch them without doing anything.” — Albert Einstein

“If you really think that the environment is less important than the economy, try holding your breath while you count your money.” — Guy McPherson

“I’m often asked whether I believe in global warming. I now just reply with the question: Do you believe in gravity?” — Neil deGrasse Tyson

Source for above Chart – National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (formally National Climatic Data Center)

Every country, state, town, and citizen needs to work urgently to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and save our planet for our children and grandchildren. To that critical end, the Town of Clinton is proud to join the Climate Smart Communities Initiative.

WHAT CAN YOU DO AS A CITIZEN?

The average American annually generates almost twenty metric tons of carbon dioxide, a leading contributor to greenhouse gas emissions. The world average is just four tons. Source

To reduce your emissions:

  • Improve the energy efficiency of your home. Learn how
  • Insulate your home for summer and winter. Learn how
  • Add solar panels and/or enroll in a community solar plan. Learn how
  • Get a free home-energy audit. Learn how
  • Use LED bulbs and look for the Energy Star when buying them. Learn how
  • Avoid wasting food. Learn how
  • Calculate the energy cost of appliances you buy.
  • Shop with reusable bags.
  • Limit plastic packaging to protect our environment. Learn how
  • Bike when possible—don’t drive. Learn more
  • Earn federal tax credits and state tax rebates for driving a hybrid or battery electric car. Learn how
  • Plant trees. Learn how

A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE CLIMATE SMART COMMUNITIES INITIATIVE

The Climate Smart Communities (CSC) Program provides municipalities with a framework to guide local climate action and recognizes high-performing communities for their leadership in reducing emissions and adapting to a changing climate. Launched in February 2009, the CSC Program is jointly sponsored by six state agencies and is administered by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.

There are over a hundred actions that communities may choose to complete that help mitigate and adapt to climate change at the local level, and communities can complete and document actions in order to achieve CSC certification. The certification program recognizes communities for their accomplishments with three levels of award – bronze, silver, or gold.

The Town took the first step towards CSC certification by passing the Climate Smart Communities Pledge in July 2017, joining hundreds of Participating Climate Smart Communities statewide.

Benefits as a Climate Smart Community

  • Receive state and federal assistance to help adopt low-carbon technologies.
  • Reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Save taxpayer dollars.
  • Improve operations and infrastructure.
  • Increase energy independence and security.
  • Enhance the community’s reputation as an environmental leader.

Potential Long-term Benefits for Clinton:

  • Cut Town taxes by reducing energy costs
  • Cut federal and state taxes through solar credits/rebates
  • Secure grants to add more solar panels to the Highway Department Salt Shed and the Town complex on Centre Road
  • Attract economic growth by enhancing the Town’s reputation as an environmental leader
  • Improve air quality.
  • Provide an opportunity for residents to use Clinton’s collective buying power and scale to provide 100% NYS-generated renewable electricity supply and services aligned with our needs via participation in the Hudson Valley Community Power CCA.

The Climate Smart Communities Certification program is organized around the ten CSC Pledge Elements, with various actions available under each one. The following includes some of the actions that the Town has completed, as well as those planned for the future:

  1. Build a climate-smart community:
    • PE1 Action: National/Regional Climate Program: The Town is participating in NYSERDA’s Clean Energy Communities Program, which provides rewards and recognition to local governments that demonstrate clean energy leadership. Communities that complete four out of the ten available High Impact Actions can become New York State ‘designated’ Clean Energy Communities. The Town has currently completed three High Impact Actions and plans to achieve Clean Energy Communities designation by 2020. The Town’s completed Actions, as well as all statewide participating Clean Energy Communities can be viewed here: Participating Clean Energy Communities Map.
  2. Inventory emissions, set goals, and plan for climate action.
  3. Decrease energy use:
    • PE3 Action: Energy Benchmarking for Government Buildings: Gauge greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) from our municipal buildings (Link). Establishing the baseline energy use and GHG emissions associated with the Town’s municipal buildings will allow us to measure our progress towards achieving a 10% reduction by 2020 and even further reductions over time.
    • PE3 Action: Energy Code Enforcement Training: The Town’s code enforcement officer completed this NYSERDA training, which focuses on what code enforcement officials need to know about the Energy Code in the context of its practical application on active construction projects.
  4. Shift to clean, renewable energy.
  5. Use climate-smart materials management.
  6. Implement climate-smart land use:
    • PE6 Action: Unified Solar Permit: The Town has adopted this permit, which streamlines the approvals process for small-scale residential and commercial solar installations.
  7. Enhance community resilience to climate change.
  8. Support a green innovation economy:
    • PE8 Action: Community Choice Aggregation (CCA): The Town of Clinton is joining the Hudson Valley Community Power CCA Program. CCA is a New York State policy that puts control of choosing energy supply in local hands, allowing local leaders to pool demand and negotiate fixed-rate, potentially lower pricing with private suppliers. Communities are also able to choose cleaner energy.
    • The Town hosted two open house events to educate our community on the CCA Program on October 12, 2019, at the Clinton Town Hall and on October 22, 2019, at the West Clinton Firehouse. The speakers were Jeff Domanski and Hannah Karp of Hudson Valley Energy, a nonprofit focused on fostering sustainable communities with emphasis on people-focused strategies. Their team serves as the within-community support for the Hudson Valley Community Power CCA.
    • Youtube Video available of this meeting.
    • Slides from this meeting HVCP Clinton event slides 10.12.2019 v1
    • Hudson Valley Community Solar’s website
  9. Inform and inspire the public:
    • PE9 Action: Local Climate Action Website: The Town and the Conservation Advisory Council are involving our community in this important work, in part by making this webspage available. We are always seeking additional opportunities to engage with and be a resource for our residents.
  10. Develop an evolving process of climate action.