The City of Poughkeepsie has achieved bronze level certification in the New York State Climate Smart Communities program, which recognizes the accomplishments of local governments that are reducing greenhouse gas emissions and responding to climate change impacts, such as flooding and extreme heat.
Cornell Cooperative Extension of Dutchess County provided guidance and technical assistance to the City or preparing its certification submission through the CCE 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.
“We are proud of this recognition and what it signifies to our commitment in protecting the environment,” said Mayor Rob Rolison. “The city continues collaborative endeavors on many fronts, and this is a great example of government and organizations coming together to work on solutions to complex problems.”
New York State's Climate Smart Communities (CSC) program supports municipal efforts to address the many challenges posed by a changing climate. Local governments join the voluntary program by passing a resolution adopting the CSC pledge.
The CSC pledge includes a commitment to decrease energy use, shift to renewable energy sources, take additional steps toward reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and enhance community resilience. The city took the CSC pledge in 2019. There are currently more than 300 registered Climate Smart Communities across the state.
The certification program is designed around 10 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 toward achieving CSC certification. 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. Gold level certification is currently under development.
“The city received certification points for projects that have been completed in recent years, such as the installation of electric vehicle charging stations and LED streetlights across the city, adoption of important land-use policies that support urban agriculture and green parking lots, completion of a Natural Resource Inventory, numerous tree plantings, adoption of a Community Choice Aggregation agreement, and many others,” said Acting Development Director Natalie Quinn. “There are also a number of climate-adaptive projects that the Climate Smart Communities Task Force is currently working on, so we look forward to submitting for silver certification in the near future.”
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 CSC 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.
For more information about the Climate Smart Communities program, visit https://climatesmart.ny.gov/