It's Climate Week, and NY's Counties are Taking Action

Acting locally, by the numbers.
When it comes to “think globally, act locally,” county governments are in a strong position to make a difference.
Across New York State, local governments are enacting local laws, adopting energy-saving initiatives, taking steps toward climate resiliency, and collaborating to develop programs for supporting more resilient communities. 
“As we celebrate Climate Week, it must be noted counties across New York are investing in hundreds of initiatives to combat climate change and promote more climate resilient communities,” said Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz. “From the tip of Long Island to the shores of Lake Erie and everywhere in between, New York counties are at the forefront of reducing greenhouse gas emissions and promoting a greener, cleaner state for all. As Chair of the NYSAC Climate Resiliency Committee, I commend my fellow county leaders for taking action every day of the year, action which will have a far lasting impact well after we leave office.”
Through state programs such as Climate Smart Communities and Clean Energy Communities, counties are acting to both mitigate their environmental impact and save taxpayer dollars in the process.
Counties will also be key partners with the state in meeting the goals established by the recently-enacted New York State Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act. This legislation set the most aggressive greenhouse gas emission (GHG) reduction goals of any major economy and will put New York State on a path to carbon neutrality.
“Our county leaders are in a unique position to work with state, federal, and local agencies on environmental issues, and to develop partnerships to mitigate and prepare for the impact of climate change on our communities,” said NYSAC Executive Director Stephen Acquario. “During this Climate Week, we are highlighting the programs underway in our communities.”
County Climate Action: Acting Locally, By the Numbers
  • 20 counties are registered Climate Smart Communities.

  • 3 counties (Madison, Sullivan, and Schenectady) are Bronze Certified.

  • 2 counties (Tompkins and Ulster) are Silver Certified.

  • 25 counties are designated Clean Energy Communities.

  • To date, over 400 actions have been completed and approved through the Climate Smart Communities and Clean Energy Communities programs.

  • At least 26 counties have adopted a policy to annually report the energy use of county buildings, known as benchmarking. 

  • At least 17 counties have installed electric vehicle charging stations or deployed alternative fuel vehicles.

  • At least 17 counties have participated in Solarize, Clean Heating and Cooling, or the Solar for All campaigns to increase access to clean energy.

  • At least 15 counties have offered energy upgrade financing to businesses and non-profits.

  • At least counties have created residential organic waste programs.

  • At least counties have created a government operations GHG inventory.

  • At least counties have entered into a long-term power purchase agreement for renewables.

To learn more about the climate actions your county has undertaken, check out thNYS Energy Research & Development Authority (NYSERDA)'s Clean Energy Communities Map and the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC)'s Climate Smart Communities Map.