Climate Smart Communities is a State program designed to encourage towns to take actions that will help forestall and mitigate the impact of climate change. There are over 150 possible actions, ranging from completing a town-wide inventory of greenhouse gas emissions to installing recycling bins in Town buildings. Each completed and documented action brings with it a certain number of points towards different levels of Climate Smart certification, beginning with Bronze. The more points, the likelier that state grant money will come the Town’s way.
The town’s Climate Smart Task force is responsible for the task of bringing the various actions to the finish line and eventually applying for Bronze status. Here are some of the items the Task Force is currently working on:
- Creating a Greenhouse Gas Inventory for town-owned properties. This would be a baseline measurement of how much carbon the town generates in a given year. It will be used to measure progress in cutting Copake’s carbon footprint, and may save the town money by clarifying where energy usage is highest.
- Ensuring that the town has climate-friendly Smart Growth policies and Land Use policies embedded in its zoning code.
- Documenting and publicizing the use of solar panels on the Town Hall and Park Building.
- Installing an electric vehicle charging station in the hamlet.
- Creating a Natural Resource Inventory that would identify and prioritize environmentally important sites in town.
- Developing educational opportunities around climate action.
- Establishing a town cooling center.
- Obtaining energy code enforcement training for the town building inspector
Dan Haas is the coordinator for the Copake Climate Smart program. Currently, the Conservation Advisory Committee overlaps with the Climate Smart Task Force: Mary Ann Carrick is CAC chair, Ned Schneier, Marcia Becker, and Brian Boom are members, with Cara Boyle, Ex Officio Member and Jeffrey Judd as Board liaison. We generally meet on the first Saturday of each month, and meetings are open to the public. Contact Dan at [email protected] if you’d like to get involved.