As a Certified ‘Climate Smart’ community, Ulster County is a model for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and building local climate resilience
In April, Ulster County became the first County in New York State and among the first in the nation to release a comprehensive Green New Deal plan
KINGSTON, N.Y. – Ulster County Executive Pat Ryan announced today that Ulster County has renewed its Silver-level certification in the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation’s (DEC’s) Climate Smart Communities program, the highest level or recognition, which supports locally led efforts to meet the economic, social, and environmental challenges posed by climate change. Coming only a few weeks after Ulster County became the first County in New York State and among the first in the nation to release a comprehensive Green New Deal plan, the recertification is yet another recognition of Ulster County’s leadership in climate action and environmental protection in the state.
“I am tremendously proud that Ulster County is once again being recognized as statewide leaders in taking climate action and making smart investments to protect our environment.” County Executive Pat Ryan said. “As part of our Green New Deal for Ulster County, we will continue to lay the foundations for a green, equitable economy while doing the work to undo generations of economic and environmental injustices.”
“Municipal leadership in the fight against climate change creates a more sustainable future that benefits residents and businesses alike and strong community engagement creates a compelling wave of participation that inspires more residents to embrace cleaner, greener energy and transportation options,” NYSERDA Acting President and CEO Doreen M. Harris said. “As part of the State’s clean energy and climate plan, our collaborative efforts are spurring long-term change that provides New Yorkers with options to lower their carbon footprint in the heart of where they live and work each day.”
Ulster County was the first County in New York State to achieve certification in the Climate Smart Communities program and is one of only three Counties in the State that have achieved Silver-level certification. Recertification is required every 5 years.
The certification program was launched by the Department of Environmental Conservation 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. To be certified, communities must demonstrate an active climate change task force that includes residents and municipal representatives. Most certified communities complete greenhouse gas inventories that calculate emissions at the local level and help local leaders identify how best to help New York State meet its ambitious greenhouse gas reductions.
Ulster County completed 53 actions to earn a total of 343 points. Some highlights from the recertification effort include the follow actions:
Government Operations GHG Inventory and Climate Action Plan: Ulster County published its Government Operations Climate Action Plan and GHG inventory in 2019. This plan serves as a guide for reducing GHG emissions within County government operations. Read the plan here: https://ulstercountyny.gov/environment/climate-action-plan
Reduce GHGs from Government Facilities: Between 2012 and 2020, Ulster County achieved a 24.7% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) from government facilities.
Alternative-fuel Infrastructure: Ulster County currently owns and maintains twenty (20) publicly available Level 2 EV charging stations at County facilities. These stations support the County vehicle fleet but are also available to the public.
Ulster County’s Green New Deal
Ulster County is continuing its climate action efforts through its Green New Deal plan which lays out an ambitious agenda across three areas:
Accelerating the transition to clean energy
Building the equitable green economy
Conserving our natural resources and building our resilience
Learn more here: https://gnd.ulstercountyny.gov/
You can get involved in Ulster County’s Green New Deal by subscribing to community solar through the Solarize Ulster campaign—available here: https://solarizeulster.org