Certified Climate Smart Community
“Climate change will have devastating impacts and the City of Hudson must reduce greenhouse gas emissions,” says Mayor Kamal Johnson. “We must prepare for a changing climate by identifying and deploying adaptation strategies. It’s an added benefit that many of these climate strategies will save money over the long term.”
“DEC applauds the work of these six communities who are helping address the climate crisis by acting locally and bolstering New York State’s climate leadership by doing so,” Commissioner Seggos said. “We look forward to working with these Climate Smart Communities and other local leaders who are incorporating clean energy, climate resiliency, and reduced greenhouse gas emissions, among other actions, in plans that benefit local residents and New York State.”
Started in 2009, the interagency Climate Smart Communities program provides guidance and technical support to local governments to take locally-driven climate action. The first step to becoming climate smart is to register by pledging to reduce emissions and adapt to climate change.
The certification program was launched in 2014 to document and celebrate the accomplishments of communities taking climate action. There are now 70 certified Climate Smart Communities in New York State and two in Columbia County. To be certified, communities must demonstrate an active climate change task force that includes residents and municipal representatives.
The certification program is designed around the ten pledge elements and provides a framework for communities to organize and advance their sustainability and resilience efforts. Through the program, communities can choose from a menu of over 100 actions for addressing emissions, land use, waste management, energy conservation, and clean energy, as well as climate adaptation and public education. Each action that a community completes earns points towards achieving Climate Smart Communities certification.
Communities apply for certification by documenting the completion of their chosen actions, which must equal a minimum of 120 points. The submission undergoes a rigorous review process, and communities that successfully document the completion of actions are awarded certification at the bronze, silver, and gold levels. Communities that earn a minimum of 120 points are certified at the bronze level and those that earn a minimum of 300 points are certified at the silver level.
The City of Hudson earned 127 points, seven points more than the 120 points required for bronze-level certification. Recent actions that garnered points include creating a Flood Guide and Culvert Management Plan, improvements to bicycle infrastructure, and lighting-efficiency improvements.
Communities that implement certification actions receive many benefits, including energy independence and improved air quality from switching to clean renewables, cost savings through greater energy efficiency, and reduction of risks related to flooding and other climate-related hazards. Some additional benefits of Climate Smart Communities certification include streamlined access to resources, training, tools, and expert guidance; opportunities for networking and sharing best practices with peers; and better scores on grant applications for some state funding programs. Certified Climate Smart Communities are recognized as New York’s leaders in local climate action.
Cornell Cooperative Extension of Columbia and Greene Counties provides assistance to communities with an interest in earning Climate Smart Communities certification through their membership in the Climate Resilience Partnership. The Climate Resilience Partnership is a collaboration between Cornell Cooperative Extension associations in the Hudson Valley, with financial and technical support from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation’s Hudson River Estuary Program and the New York State Water Resources Institute. The partnership aims to build long-term resilience to extreme weather and climate change in the Hudson River Estuary watershed. The partnership provides resources to local communities pursuing climate change adaptation efforts and assistance to municipalities with Climate Smart Communities certification. The program serves communities in Columbia, Dutchess, Greene, Rensselaer, Rockland, and Ulster counties. For more information about the Climate Resilience Partnership, visit www.climateresiliencepartnership.org.
The Hudson River Estuary Program helps people enjoy, protect, and revitalize the Hudson River and its valley. Created in 1987 through the Hudson River Estuary Management Act, the program focuses on the tidal Hudson and adjacent watershed from the federal dam at Troy to the Verrazano Narrows in New York City. The Estuary Program has seven key focus areas: clean water, resilient waterfront communities, vital estuary habitats, sustainable fisheries, natural areas & scenery, education & public engagement, and access & inspiration. For more information about the Hudson River Estuary Program’s climate change initiatives, visit wri.cals.cornell.edu/hudson-river-estuary/climate-change-hudson-river-estuary/.
New York State Water Resources Institute, based at Cornell University, has a mission to advance water resource management and address critical water resource problems in New York State and across the nation. NYS Water Resources Institute builds towards this mission by leveraging unique access to scientific and technical resources at Cornell University and in collaboration with partners to improve communications and networks for promoting water literacy and management. For more information about the Water Resources Institute, visit wri.cals.cornell.edu/.
For more information about Hudson’s sustainability initiatives visit https://cityofhudson.org/business/sustain.php.