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Number of Members: 6


Climate Smart Community Task Force was created for the Town of Hartwick to have a local voice in the Otsego County Climate Smart Community Task Force Institute, which was created in March of 2019.

Martha Clarvoe was appointed the Climate Smart Community Task Force Coordinator and works with committee members: Heather Grant and Janet Williammee and former member, Bill Powers.

Minutes of the Climate Smart Community Task Force Committee can be found under “Minutes” on the home page of this website.

Climate Smart Communities is a program of the New York State Departments of Environmental Conservation, Health, State and Transportation; State Public Service Commission; and State Energy Research and Development Authority. (September 2014)


Climate Smart Communities Summary for Local Officials

Climate Change and New York’s Communities

Climate change affects every community in New York — economically, socially and environmentally. As the first line of response in emergencies, as the proprietors of critical infrastructure and as the governments with immediate responsibility for public health and safety, municipalities face a critical challenge in confronting and responding to climate change.

Why Our Climate is Changing

Naturally occurring greenhouse gases (GHGs) like water vapor, carbon dioxide and methane help keep temperatures on earth stable. By trapping heat near the surface of the earth — a natural phenomenon known as the greenhouse effect — GHGs keep the planet warm enough to support life as we know it. Since the industrial revolution, however, human activities have been adding significantly to the amount of GHGs in the atmosphere. Higher levels of atmospheric GHGs enhance the greenhouse effect, altering the earth’s energy balance and resulting in the warming of its surface, ocean, and atmosphere.

By the year 2100, average global temperatures are expected to be between 2.5 degrees F and 10.4 degrees F higher than 1990 temperatures, according to the nearly 2,500 scientists who make up the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). How much warming we experience will depend on how much GHG we emit. Warming is already having significant effects on climate, and will continue to change local climates for decades to come.

The latest available data about emissions in New York State show that fossil fuel combustion contributes almost 14 tons of CO2e per New York resident to atmospheric GHG per year. (For perspective, driving an average car across the U.S. would contribute about a ton and a half of CO2 into the atmosphere.) The goal of local climate protection programs is to reduce the GHG contribution of each New Yorker now and in the future, while preparing communities to adapt to unavoidable changes in our climate.

Climate Change in the Northeastern United States

The Northeast Climate Impacts Assessment (NECIA) prepared by the Union of Concerned Scientists identifies impacts of climate change that already have occurred in the northeastern U.S. The assessment found that average temperatures in New York today are 2°F higher than they were in 1970. The assessment also projected the following:

  • GHGs already in the atmosphere will continue to raise temperatures across the Northeast. GHGs can persist in the atmosphere for hundreds of years. Several decades from now, New York’s winter temperatures are expected to be 2.5 degrees F to 4 degrees F higher than today, and summer temperatures, 1.5 degrees F to 3.5 degrees F higher.
  • A warming climate will affect New York in many ways, and the impacts will persist long after GHG emissions have been reduced and atmospheric GHG concentrations become stabilized. Projected impacts in New York include the following:
    • Intense storm flooding will threaten roadways, infrastructure and developed areas.
    • Rains too intense for the land to absorb, along with reduced meltwater from dwindling snowpack, will cause erosion of topsoil, and will mean less reliable replenishment of groundwater and surface water sources used for public water supply.
    • Short-term droughts will increase in frequency, with dry spells of several weeks’ duration punctuated by extreme rains and storms.
    • Some native plants, like the sugar maple, as well as some native animal species, may migrate further north, possibly becoming extirpated from New York. Mosquitoes and other pests may become more abundant.
    • Sea level will rise by between 4 and 25 inches, or possibly even more, as a result of the expansion of warming seawater and the melting of land ice.

The earth’s climate in 2100 will depend largely on how much greenhouse gas we emit today and in the near future. The more we are able to reduce emissions in the next few years, the less risk we will experience from climate change later in the century. Conversely, failure to reduce emissions now will compound the impacts of climate change in the future, making dealing with them even more costly.

Local Government Response to Climate Change

Climate Smart Communities minimize the risks of climate change and reduce its long-term costs by changing in two ways:

  1. Reducing GHG Emissions: To stabilize atmospheric GHGs at manageable levels and avoid severe climatic changes, it is necessary to start now to reduce GHG emissions and to create permanent sinks that remove GHG from the atmosphere.
  2. Adapting to a Changing Climate: Altering the built and natural environment in anticipation of predicted climatic changes, or in response to actual changes, will alleviate the risks associated with unavoidable changes in climate.

Areas for Local Climate Action

New York’s local governments can take many actions to reduce GHG emissions and to help the community adapt to coming changes.

  • Municipal operations: Local governments can act directly to reduce fossil fuel consumption in municipal buildings and vehicles, to improve solid waste management practices, and to adapt infrastructure and operations for resilience to anticipated changes due to the warming climate. Flooding and changes in precipitation and snow pack that may affect water supplies are of special concern to localities.
  • Community-wide: Local governments can enable climate-smart practices in the community at large through land use plans, zoning and building codes, through policies dealing with roads and public transportation, and by leading, educating and setting an example of energy efficiency.

Climate Smart Communities Guide

New York State is developing a comprehensive Climate Smart Communities Guide that will provide detailed information to help communities develop and implement climate-smart practices. This guide will include information that communities need to become climate smart, including step-by-step guidance for planning and implementing climate smart practices, information on resources and funding, examples of successful implementation, and considerations for measuring and monitoring success.

This document summarizes some of the information that will be found in the Climate Smart Communities Guide. It discusses the first steps to becoming a Climate-Smart Community: pledging to combat climate change and inventorying the community’s GHG emissions. It also outlines the role of community planning in reducing GHG emissions and adapting to climate change.

First Steps For Protecting the Climate

Climate Smart Communities do their part toward avoiding the worst impacts of climate change by making emission reductions that help to stabilize atmospheric GHGs. At the same time, they develop plans to adapt to unavoidable changes in the climate. Climate Smart Communities do the following:

  • Publicly demonstrate their leadership and their commitment to climate security and “green” economic development by adopting the Climate Smart Communities Pledge and demonstrating the benefits of lower GHG emissions.
  • Determine how much GHG they currently emit; set measurable goals for reducing GHG emissions, and identify locations or community services that are at risk from climate change.
  • Create local Climate Action Plans that work out the steps to meet emission reduction goals and Climate Resilient Action Plans that chart the way to community adaptation to unavoidable climate change.
  • Begin immediately with easy projects that reduce emissions (and often save taxpayer dollars by reducing energy use).

The Town of Hartwick has Adopted the Climate Smart Communities Pledge on May 19, 2014.

Adopting the Climate Smart Communities Pledge is a public declaration of leadership and commitment to reducing emissions and adapting to a changing climate. Communities can adopt the pledge as it appears on page’s 2 to 4 of this summary guide or add their own legislative findings or pledge elements.

The Climate Smart Communities Pledge includes all the elements of a successful local climate program. By reducing GHG emissions and preparing for a changing climate, local climate programs protect public health and safety, and support a secure economic future.

Each Climate Smart Community joins the state’s most forward-thinking municipalities in active climate protection. Climate Smart Communities benefit from the experience and knowledge of communities with mature programs, and in turn help other communities to get started. The Climate Smart Communities Pledge demonstrates that local government is acting to protect the future of its citizens and of coming generations, reassures concerned citizens and invites everyone to join in doing something about climate change.


By adopting the Climate Smart Communities pledge, over 280 New York communities have partnered with their state government to build a resilient, low-emission future. These communities represent over 8 million people and 41 percent of New York State’s population.

The list of member municipalities below is organized alphabetically by county. Each of the local governments listed has passed the Climate Smart Communities (CSC) pledge as a municipal resolution.

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