ITHACA, N.Y. — City leaders and representatives from the Department of Environmental Conservation faced freezing temperatures Wednesday morning as they announced that the City of Ithaca is officially certified as the state’s 17th Climate Smart Community.
DEC Executive Deputy Commissioner Kenneth Lynch said that both locally and nationally, there is a trend of climate change directly impacting people’s people’s lives.
“Go back to just last week when we had, I think, 60-degrees weather one day and subzero weather the next, resulting in some flooding, resulting in ice jams. We’re seeing that more and more often, which means we all need to work together to fight climate change,” he said.
The City of Ithaca, Lynch said, has created and implemented plans to address climate change, from its walkability to its Green Building Policy Project.
From 2001 to 2010, the city reduced its greenhouse gas emissions by 20 percent.
“Since 2012, the city of Ithaca has purchased enough Green-E Certified Renewable Energy Credits to offset 100 percent of its electricity use in municipal facilities. As a result of these RECs and biogas from the local waste water treatment plant, about two thirds of the total energy used in city facilities comes from renewable energy,” the DEC said in a news release.
The city doesn’t stand alone locally in its designation. In June, Tompkins County and the Town of Ithaca were also awarded the Climate Smart Community status.
The county reduced greenhouse gas emissions of county operations by 53 percent and reduced community greenhouse gas emissions by 21 percent from 2008 to 2014. Legislators aim to continue working toward environmentally conscious governance to have at least an 80 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, compared to 2008 numbers.
“It really demonstrates that this area in the heart of Central New York is leading the way across the state to demonstrate what communities can do to help with our battle against climate change and be a climate smart state,” Lynch said.
Mayor Svante Myrick said the city is committed to continuing its efforts to make environmentally conscious efforts.
“Why bother to do all this? Why go through all this expense? Why go through all this effort? It’s because the greatest threat to the health and well being of people on Earth is the change of climate. And the greatest contributor to that change of climate is carbon emissions. It’s a simple fact. The solutions to it, it turns out, are fairly simple too.”
Featured photo: DEC Regional Director Matthew Marko and Executive Deputy Commissioner Kenneth Lynch present Mayor Svante Myrick with signs designating Ithaca as a Climate Smart Community.