welcome

to the Tompkins County Climate Protection Initiative

November-December 2012
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September 2012
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April 2012
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NOVEMBER-DECEMBER 2012

Lake Source Cooling: Ed Wilson, Cornell Sustainable Energ

  • Most of Cornell’s campus cooled with lake water. Cold water comes into heat exchange facility. Transfers heat off campus and into cold water. Discharge permit up for renewal
  • Phosphorus comes from Cornell Lake Source Cooling drawing water 2 miles up lake and depositing it at south end, most compromised part of lake
  • Models will be developed over next couple of years to understand various factors that affect health of the lake
  • Have to do a best technology available assessment. If we have to relocate our outfall, would moving it have positive impact on lake?
  • Assist in outreach. DEC selected consultants are leading the outreach; Cornell is providing the funding 
  • Herb: Cornell is polluting the south end of Cayuga Lake. Soluble reactive phosphorus is in fact being introduced into Cayuga Lake, which is what Environmental MGMT Council warned about. The new permits will allow Cornell to remove its monitoring stations, which is how we learned about the reactive phosphorus in first place. Allows Cornell to increase its pollution by 30% in exchange for spending $2 million on project. Town of Ithaca is very opposed to the project. This deal between Cornell and DEC set up before any stakeholders knew anything about it, including Town of Ithaca.
  • Ed: There are strong opinions pro and con concerning Lake Source Cooling.  Our replies to these concerns are clearly stated on our website.  I respect Herb’s opinions and it’s up to the public to educate themselves and make informed decisions.
  • Gary: Cornell is willing to spend $2 million to answer some of these questions. There 20 pages of FAQs on our website. Comment period ends on Dec. 19  
  • Ed: Other sources of phosphorus besides the LSC facility
  • Herb: Seems like a conflict of interest if Cornell is monitoring the study. Cornell should give the DEC $2 million and have them study it.
  • Question: Where in the process does the phosphorus come from?
  • Ed: We’re transferring phosphorus from one portion of the water body to another part (the south end), not adding phosphorus to the lake.
  • Herb: South end considered an impaired water body.  
  • Visit cayugalakemodelingproject.cornell.edu for more info

Town of Ithaca Community Energy Action Plan: Nick Goldsmith, Sustainability Planner

  • Plan focused on environmental sustainability – integrated throughout Master Plan
  • Nick developing Energy Action Plan now that Town of Ithaca has completed GHG inventory and established its targets for GHG emissions reduction

  • Looking to complete draft by early spring 2013 and final plan by end of the spring

  • Nick asked group to engage in brainstorm session to provide ideas for Town of Ithaca involving transportation, energy use in buildings, and energy sources

  • Why a TCCPI session?


    • Community outreach has focused on general public

    • Transitioning from ‘brainstorm’ phase to ‘refining ideas’ phase

    • Gather ideas from sustainability and energy professionals and advocates

    • The Town is focusing on environmental sustainability for now, hopefully will consider economic and social sustainability in future

  • Timeline
  • April 2009: Climate Smart Communities resolution

  • Sept. 2010: Sustainability Planner position created

  • Fall 2010: Joined ICLEI

  • 2011: Sustainability Documents: GHG inventories; Government Energy Action Plan; New Comprehensive Plan draft

  • 2012: Community Energy Action Plan

  • ICLEI Planning Process

    • GHG Inventory

    • Establish GHG and energy reduction target

    • Create EAP

    • Implement EAP

    • Monitor progress and report results

  • Gov’t sector in process of implementing EAP
    • Biggest problems: water and wastewater (65%) (pumping water uphill from Bolton Point, etc.), fleet (23%)

    • 30% reduction in GHG by 2020 short-term goal

    • Details specific actions that will help reach reduction targets

    • Quantifies emissions reductions

    • Identifies emissions reductions strategies

  • Community GHG Inventory:

    • Total emissions: 178,000 tons CO2 equivalent

  • Biggest problems/opportunities

    • Energy use in buildings (53%)

    • Transportation (44%)

  • Community EAP Timeline

    • GHG inventory: complete

    • Community outreach: Fall 2012

      • Phase 1: Brainstorm and gauge interest

      • Sustainability Outreach Sessions

    • Sustainability Intern: Jan. 2013

    • EAP advisory committee: Jan. 2013

  • Set reduction targets: Jan. 2013

  • EAP draft: spring 2013

  • Ideas from TCCPI?

    • Brainstorm ideas for actions to include in Energy Action Plan (and elsewhere)

    • Can focus on many aspects:

      • Barriers and Benefits

      •  Implementation

      • Target audience

    • Transportation

    • Energy use in buildings

    • Energy sources

      • Fossil fuels v. renewables

Transportation:
  • New Sources
    • Infrastructure for fuel cell vehicles, TCAT, Ithaca Carshare) → banners to educate public

    • Have policies in place that encourage mixed-use development, cluster development, and reduce need for driving. Housing dispersed, making it difficult for TCAT to serve them. That’s why land use planning will reduce transportation GHG.  Merge City and Town of Ithaca?

    • Some students buy vehicles when they get to Ithaca because buses inconvenient and taxi services expensive outside of Ithaca.  Improve taxi services.

    • Telecommuting and online classes

    • Higher cost for parking facilities, etc. Choose bus instead.

    • Electric bicycles

    • Electric cars and charging stations, powered by renewable sources

    • How do we change culture? Tax on gasoline to go to renewables

    • Parking maximums, rather than parking minimums

Energy in Buildings:

  • Solar in homes

    • Lower overall costs

    • Reduce barriers to individuals

    • Streamline permitting

    • Back up with policy at municipal, state, and federal level

  • Replace windows and roofing

  • Energy Conservation, turn things off

  • Energy Audits – Local, municipal role

  • Advance Energy Codes

  • Higher education: Establish green revolving loan funds at IC, Cornell, and TC3


    • Harvard set aside $12M from its endowment for green revolving loan fund, created over $5M in savings

  • Policies to create incentives for renters/landlords energy efficiency upgrades

  • Energy Meters & Behavior: energy meters in visible places in home (ex. Living rooms) where you can see your energy bill go up or down

  • Training for residents on how to use their thermostats

  • Helping people understand that water conservation is also energy conservation

  • Smartphone applications that allow you to control your home energy use

  • Form working group to discuss renter/landlord dynamics for energy efficiency

  • Access to real-time knowledge about energy use; colored orbs in residence halls at Oberlin, rather than just numbers

Energy Sources (Fossil Fuels v. Renewables):

  • Don’t feel locked into what your energy supplier provides – can demand higher percentage of renewables in portfolio. Ithaca College did this with their energy contractors/suppliers and in some cases fossil fuels went down 23% and renewables went up 15% in supplier’s portfolio.

    • Get more renewables

    • Consumer pressure on portfolio

    • Utilize energy supplier options

  • MEGA bargains with energy suppliers


    • Work with them on energy supply

    • Work as consortia

  • Carbon tax


    • Movement to divest from fossil fuels; institutions and individuals can also exert pressure on investments, not just energy use

  • Energy cooperatives


    • Joint investments with neighbors

    • Not allowed in New York State → policy changes

    • Virtual net metering

    • Political ground is shifting on this

    • Encourage sustainability audits for businesses and non-profits


The Northeast Response to Climate Change: Peter Bardaglio
  • Since 1970 northeastern U.S. warming at rate of nearly 0.5 degrees F per decade
  • Winter temperatures have risen even faster, at rate of 1.3 degrees F per decade from 1970 to 2000
  • Over next several decades, temperatures across Northeast will rise 2.5-4 degrees F in winter and 1.5-3.5 degrees F in summer regardless of emissions choices made now
  • Coastal flooding, shoreline changes
  • Increased stress on cod and lobster fisheries
  • Devastation of spruce and fir forests
  • Lower river and stream flows in summer
  • Decline in milk and apple production, rise in pest-related crop damage
  • Winter recreation industry highly vulnerable
  • Insect-borne diseases more common
  • So what is the Northeast doing to mitigate these changes and adapt to them
    • The NE has been a model for climate protection thus far
    • First enforceable state limits on CO2 emissions
      • Mass. first state in nation to impose limits on CO2 pollution from power plants in 2001
      • Cracked down on emissions from five dirtiest coal-fired power plants
    • First regional climate change action plan
      • In 2001, governors of six New England states and eastern Canadian provinces adopted Climate Change Action Plan
      • Built on previous regional cooperation on acid rain and mercury pollution
      • Not only first such regional plan in U.S. but also first international effort to combat global warming in world
    • First Comprehensive, State-Driven Climate Action Plan
      • RI convened multi-stakeholder process in 2001 to develop policy roadmap for meeting emission reduction targets in NEG/ECP plan
      • Released state climate action plan in 2002, providing other states with model for similar plans
    • Early Adoption of Clean Cars Program
      • CA adopted legislation in 2002 requiring state to limit emissions of global warming pollution from cars
      • Soon after every NE state except NH adopted “Clean Cars Program”
      • Called for 30% reduction in per-mile emissions of global warming pollution by 2016
    • First Regional Global Warming Emissions Cap: Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (2005)
      • NY Gov. Pataki took lead brought together other NE governors in 2003
      • Agreement establishing program signed in 2005
      • Gov. Christie pulling NJ out of RGGI
    • Statewide Global Warming Pollution Caps in NE
      • Besides policies such as RGGI capping GHG emissions in specific sectors of economy, four states adopted economy-wide limits on global warming pollution: NJ, MA, CT, MD (not NY!)
      • In each case, cap sets targets for reductions and then orders state agencies to study state’s economy and pollution sources and take regulatory steps necessary to bring emissions down to target
      • Based on scientific evidence about need to reduce pollution
  • NE has led in both pollution reductions and economic progress
    • Success in reducing GHG emissions has not come at expense of economy
    • Over last decade, NE has cut emissions faster and experienced stronger economic growth than rest of U.S.
    • CO2 emissions from energy use fell by almost 18% between 2000 and 2009- emissions reduced 20% faster than nation as whole
    • Over same period, per capita GDP in 10 RGGI states grew by 8.4% -- rest of nation only grew by 4.5%
    • Still lots more to do, obviously, but progress made in NE demonstrates power of regional collaboration and multi-stakeholder process
  • In sharply divided political era, achievements took root in surprisingly bipartisan way
  • Demonstrates extent to which solutions to climate change matter of political will

Roundtable Updates
  • Dominic: Just came back from meeting with Betsy Taylor (involved with 1Sky in 2009 for national climate legislation) – we’re on track to hit 4 degrees Celsius rise by end of the century according to World Bank; at the same time, though, we’re seeing a shift in narrative: 70% of Americans now believe in climate change
  • Reed: Green Umbrella has its strongest base in Tompkins County and Ithaca. We were accepted into a program called Summer of Solutions. We’re in process of finalizing our vision and we’ll be reaching out to many of groups here to shape our program.  We’ll also be looking for funding sources for our core organizing team to help. We’re trying to show what a clean, just economy looks like while also calling for fossil fuel divestment.
  • Peter: Students at Ithaca College have done a fantastic video about their divestment campaign, which Bill McKibben tweeted.
  • Karim: GYGB focused on local food this month, how to incorporate it into your holiday season. January is focused on riding the bus.
  • Andrew: HOLT upping its public commitment to carbon neutrality with new leadership, taking more forceful public stance and hopefully influencing some of our clients, partners. 
  • K.C.: Started working with 350.org in October as the NY Do the Math field organizer to support fossil fuel divestment campaigns at campuses across the state. Nearly a dozen schools in NY have fossil fuel divestment campaigns up and running and about a dozen more in works: NYU, Barnard/Columbia, Cornell, IC, Vassar, Bard, Syracuse/ESF, etc.  Check out www.gofossilfree.org.

OCTOBER 2012

Marcellus Shale Update: Martha Robertson

  • Where do we stand in October 2012?
    • Martha explained how dynamics of NYS politics, esp. some of crucial races, are shaping debate over Marcellus
    • Gov. Cuomo has focused attention on five counties where Marcellus Shale is deepest
  • New York State politics:
    • Sen. Avella ranking member of Environmental Conservation Committee in the Senate; he’s promised that if the Senate flips majority to Democrats, he’ll bring ban resolution to the floor; whether the Governor will sign it, of course, is another issue
    • Critical races- Democratic candidates
      • Cecilia Tkaczyk (N. Hudson Valley)
      • Joe Addabbo (City) - incumbent
      • Ted O’Brien (Rochester) - challenger
      • George Latimer (Westchester) - open seat
    • Independent Democratic Caucus? 4 state senators split off from Democratic Caucus and have voted with Republicans sometimes, so not clear what IDC will do on fracking
    • Will the Southern Tier send a message?
      • Broome, Tioga and Chemung Counties are the most likely to be drilled (as well as Chenango and Steuben) - because of depth of shale and most economically depressed
    • Elected Officials to Protect NY: Dominic Frongillo and Martha started in June 2012; now have 465 local elected officials, 61 out of 62 counties (only missing Staten Island- hope to change that soon); calling for 3 studies (health impacts, cumulative impact study, socioeconomic study) before any decision is made on fracking
    • Visit www.nyelectedofficials.org to see list of officials and letter sent to Governor Cuomo; upcoming meeting with Joe Martens and Shaw
    • If Cuomo approved drilling, it would begin right before his next election in 2014
    • In Tompkins County, opposition to drilling bipartisan
    • Karen Edelstein’s map of bans and moratoria in NYS updated regularly: www.fractracker.org/maps/ny-moratoria; 40 bans, 104 moratoria, 86 movements for ban/moratoria as of 10/8/12
    • City of Binghamton’s ban was questioned in court because of procedural technicality, but the judge validated home rule
    • Dryden case: Anschutz corporation sued Town of Dryden; they didn’t want to file appeal and sold leases to Norse Energy, which is filing the appeal instead
    • Town of Groton will be voting on 6-month moratoria soon and likely to pass
    • On the other hand, the landowner coalitions and gas industry have pushed back; preemptive resolutions have been passed by town boards, too (but are they valid since no advance notice, violating open meetings laws, passed without public input, compared to extensive petitioning and public input for bans or moratoria?)
    • Even in some Republican counties, more than 60-70% of people against fracking
    • Martha thinks that the health impact study could be an “out” politically for Cuomo
  • National Politics
    • Getting Obama elected first priority; no chance if Romney is elected, total affirmation of “drill baby drill”; he would pull the plug on EPA’s ability to regulate greenhouse gas emissions
    • Real debate among members of Obama administration – conversation will start to change. 
    • First national rally was in July 2012 with Stop the Frack Attack
    • Changing the conversation:
      • NYS is a must-ban state; we are a tipping point - if we stop it here, we’ll send a huge message to the rest of the country.If Cuomo bans fracking, that’ll be huge, especially since he has aspirations to run for president. He needs to get reelected for governor in 2014 before he can run for president in 2016. 
      • We do have allies!
    • David Kay suggested some industry people don’t think that Governor Cuomo will make a decision during his time in office since it’s not worth it for him politically and price of gas is low right now
    • Federal government projects that by 2016 we’ll be a net exporter of gas to China and Europe where price is much higher than here
    • Leases are also expiring and the gas companies want to hold onto them so that when prices are ready, they can drill
  • Tompkins County
    • Bans, moratoria in place everywhere except for Town of Groton, but they’re voting soon -  becoming a bipartisan issue
    • County Legislature only has power to ban drilling on county land
    • But County Planning Department has posted list of measures that towns can take
    • Other protective measures include aquifer protection laws, definition of critical environmental areas for County
    • Cornell’s role
      • Ban on its land: several years ago, Skorton set up a task force on drilling and came up with set of recommendations to have moratoria
      • Southern Tier Regional Economic Development Council: Skorton was co-chair but Cuomo just appointed him as the chair of horse racing task force, so Skorton resigned as co-chair of STREDC; STREDC said it would not seek funding through regional economic development process until adequate regulatory framework is in place for fracking
      • Skorton and Glenn Altschuler published piece in Forbes on role of universities in fracking debate: “We cannot put this genie back in the bottle” on fracking; also quoted Mayor Bloomberg’s support of research for “safe fracking”
      • Martha met with Skorton recently - he thinks we might be able to stop fracking in NYS, but we’re not going to stop it where it’s already happening, so research could help make it safer
      • Cornell’s position matters and the university is under a lot of pressure on both sides; at this point, Skorton listening to us
    • Continuing and Emerging Issues
      • Radon and other health impacts: Marcellus gas much higher in radon than conventional gas
      • 7,000 trucks/well, although first SGEIS said 1,200 trucks/well
      • Property values, insurance, mortgages
      • Waste disposal: radioactive drill cuttings from PA in NY landfills already, earthquakes in Ohio
      • Pipelines will lead to permanent loss of land: like putting in a 3-4 lane highway; also requires strong herbicides
      • Low cost of gas is preventing clean energy development; state has committed to achieving 30% renewable energy by 2015
    • Energy Independence?
      • “U.S. production of natural gas is expected to exceed consumption early in the next decade. The U.S. is projected to become a net exporter of liquefied natural gas (LNG) in 2016, a net pipeline exporter in 2025, and an overall net exporter of natural gas in 2021.” (U.S. Energy Information Association)
    • Cleaner Fuel?
      • If you take methane emissions into account, we’re exacerbating climate change by switching to natural gas
      • Cathles’ research uses 15-year-old data from EPA, rather than 2-year-old data from EPA used by Howarth/Ingraffea – also uses 100-year time frame instead of 20-year
      • Based on DEC’s own data, you can’t drill and meet state goals of 80% reduction by 2050, according to Ed Marx
      • Gay Nicholson: We need to highlight the costs of climate change to the public, since they’re only going to increase
      • David Kay: We need to link policy issues regarding energy efficiency and conservation – the consumption end – with production end of natural gas debate – won’t do any goodmif we’re still using same amount of gas in our homes in NYS with fracked gas from PA
    • The Future
      • Fracking has been banned in Bulgaria, France, and regions of Canada

Hydrogen Fuel Cell Vehicle Project: Paul Mutolo

  • Corollary between fracking and developing alternative approaches to transportation
  • Hydrogen provides way to develop transportation that can dramatically reduce carbon emissions, depending on how you get electricity
  • Electric cars not capturing market share to extent projected; related to short range and longer charging times
  • 25-35% of an individual’s personal carbon footprint comes from driving
  • Fuel cells: 5 major auto companies are all about to release fuel cell vehicles on commercial scale as early as next year
  • Can already lease one of these cars in southern CA
  • NYS has growing industry for hydrogren fuel cell vehicles; needs to focus more on developing fuel cell infrastructure
  • But GM just moved out of NY back to Michigan: 300 jobs
  • Proposing to reestablish number of hydrogen fuel cell filling stations throughout Ithaca and New York State (actually in decline right now)
  • Worked with TCAT to propose hydrogen fuel cell bus; will hear back next summer and it would be in operation by 2014
  • Partnering with TCAT, Ithaca Carshare, and Cornell
  • Possible to make hydrogen right on site with hydrolysis (could be powered by solar or wind), store it, and distribute it, rather than producing it in large facilities and then piping or trucking it around the country
  • Some departments at Cornell already signed up for vehicles once they’re ready
  • Electrolysis is about 75% efficient - dramatic gains in last couple of years
  • Research at Cornell happening looking at how to get hydrogen from biomass resources, looking at small-scale biomass reactor
  • Fuel cell vehicles slated to be in production by 2015
  • Getting battery that will run 300 miles and then be recharged in few minutes probably 10 years off
  • Looking to drive costs down to $20,000-30,000 per car
  • Station in Ithaca would make 65 kg of hydrogen per day, which is sizeable amount for now
  • Obama administration’s secretary of energy hasn’t done anything to promote hydrogen fuel cells until very recently
  • Barriers:
    • Public perception: not seen as viable option
    • Cost: around $50,000 per vehicle to start, which is high
    • Financing: need to re-approach Southern Tier Council because of timing issues
  • One location at TCAT proposed (public and private station) and one at Cornell – still thinking about where Fleet Garage would be located

SEPTEMBER 2012

Cleaner, Greener Southern Tier Plan: Leslie Schill

  • Eight county region first identified by Regional Economic Development Council designation- Steuben, Schuyler, Chemung, Tompkins, Tioga, Broome, Chenango, Delaware
  • NYSERDA Funded Project:
    • Part of NYSERDA Cleaner Greener Communities Program Phase I: Goal- Engage and Support regions across NYS to develop consistent regional plans that focus on sustainability and energy/greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) reduction
    • Phase II (Implementation) = $90 M in competitive funding will be available statewide for eligible projects supported in Phase I plans (starting 2013)
  • Project Partners:
    • Southern Tier Central Regional Planning and Development Board
    • Southern Tier East Regional Planning and Development Bard
    • Tompkins County
    • ICF Incorporated
  • This Plan will evaluate 9 topic areas across the Southern Tier region:
    • Energy & GHG emissions
    • Transportation
    • Land use & livable communities
    • Etc.
  • What are critical outcomes of the plan?
    • Comprehensive Regional Plan with energy and GHG reduction + sustainability
    • Best Practices and Model Programs that can be replicated in your area
    • Project Portfolio- top potential projects with base analyses, prep for implementation
    • Guides for Action- actions for individuals, municipalities, and businesses
  • Challenges:
    • NYS DOT, NYSEG, NYS DEC and NY REDC all have different geographies; Tompkins County sometimes falls within Finger Lakes/Central NY region rather than Southern Tier, which makes things complicated; another goal of this project is to create a regional identity
    • Data collection across multiple jurisdictions and from many sources
    • Plan Coordination and Timing- need to work fast, efficiently, work with new partners
    • Leading the pack for the rollout of a new State program
    • Getting the word out!  Huge, fairly rural region; working on public outreach
  • A snapshot of our region:
    • Population: 657,909
    • Counties: 8
    • Municipalities: ~200
    • Cities: 6
  • Assets to build on and conserve
    • Historic and cultural downtowns
    • Agriculture- rebirth in this region
    • Tourism- 2 Finger Lakes, 4 major waterways
    • Technology
  • Pressing regional issues:
    • Flood from a couple of years ago devastated 4 counties in this region
    • Jobs
    • Natural gas drilling (not dealing with it in this document since another state agency will be issuing regulations; will have a companion document to this one later on, depending on what happens; would influence all of 9 categories for region)
  • Regional opportunities:
    • Excellent higher education institutions
    • 10% of regional energy is from wind in this region, so growing regional base
    • ST is second highest region in number of energy retrofits in NYS
    • Health care sector- opportunities for jobs
    • Idea for passenger rail in Eastern portion to NYC; transportation has to be addressed since currently largest consumer of energy, GHG emissions; no central hub for transportation in this region
  • Actions will include strategies for:
    • Outreach, education, and research
    • Developing and deploying pilot projects that can measurably reduce GHG emissions
  • Potential projects are currently being identified:
    • To launch as original pilots
    • As successful pilots ready to be replicated across the Southern Tier (ex. Finger Lakes Reuse, Ithaca Wastewater Treatment plant reducing GHG emissions by 70% or more)
  • Goal #1: Reduce Building Energy Use
    • Establish the Southern Tier Renewable Energy and Efficiency Initiative (REDC)
    • Develop a regional Energy Road Map- what is the potential for wind, solar, geothermal, sustainably harvested biomass, etc.? Goal is to create mixed renewable base
    • Explore and create financing options for EE and renewable systems- looking at opportunities for revolving loan funds, commercial base and residential opportunities, etc.
    • Assess energy performance, implement and monitor energy efficiency upgrades in government facilities- should be a low-hanging fruit and lead-by-example is important angle
  • Goal #2: Develop, produce, and deploy local renewable energy and advanced technologies across the Southern Tier
    • Study and facilitate community (mid) scale wind projects
    • Facilitate deployment of demonstration anaerobic digester systems
    • Facilitate deployment of geothermal heat pump (GHP) systems
    • Facilitate deployment of solar PV & thermal systems
      • Will be estimating GHG reductions from these projects and then ranking them
      • Identify what levels need support to roll-out technologies- where they already exist, support and promote; facilitate development of pilot projects where they don’t yet
      • All of this data will be publicly available
  • Visit website: http://www.cleanergreenersoutherntier.org/
    • Review completed reports to date:
      • Sustainability Goals
      • Sustainability Indicators
    • Provide feedback on draft reports (1st week of October):
      • 20 year Implementation Plan
      • 5 year Action Strategy
    • Submit local sustainability priority projects
    • Send out website for feedback to listservs and interested communities
  • What’s Next:
    • October 9-11: Public Outreach Week #2
      • Presentation of Findings for Southern Tier
      • Public Input on 5 Year Proposed Actions
    • Thurs. 10/11: TC Public Library from 6:30-8:30PM
    • November: Draft Cleaner Greener Southern Tier Regional Sustainability Plan
    • December: Final Plan to NYSERDA
  • Discussion:
    • Mina Amundsen: Municipalities often don’t have enough support for this type of work; link up EPA Climate Communities program to Cleaner, Greener Southern Tier; there are resources, funding, technical assistance available
    • Katie Borgella: Get municipalities in touch with those who do performance contracting
    • Peter: One example of a barrier is that NYSEG has outdated streetlights in Ithaca, Binghamton, and across region, but no incentive to upgrade because they make money on this energy use; another example- barriers to large-scale solar, very few projects that are 1MW or larger in NYS; issue of feed-in tariffs for solar needs to be addressed
    • Need incentives for conservation from a regulatory standpoint
    • Mina: There’s a policy piece that needs to be addressed. For example, for livable communities, we need to be looking at policies for land use if we want to have an impact beyond the one project.
    • Leslie: We’re imagining that the guides we create will help inform policies; we definitely have policies in our actions, but we’re pretty sure that those won’t be funded
    • Katie Borgella: Public input is particularly valued in this project, since it’s been so fast, really encouraged
    • Gay: Question about whether there will be any emphasis on social justice, green collar pipeline with this project
    • Peter: Can you come back next month to talk about public input and to dig into Climate Adaptation section?
  • Contact:

Local First Ithaca: Jan Rhodes Norman

  • Local First Ithaca did their first Guide to Being Local which was meant to be valuable to many different members of the community, not only for tourism, but for educational purposes
  • Food justice issues, steps on being more local
  • Beginning of the book has info about what a living local economy is, how we can support local and independently owned businesses
  • Insights into models that exist in the communities, businesses or non-profits
  • We’re getting ready to do the second one
  • Includes tips for living a more local life, no matter where you’re from
  • Working with an Economics Professor at IC who already publishes monthly indexes of sales in Tompkins County to see what the leakage is out of the community, to find ways to plug those leaks and keep the wealth in the community
  • If anyone is interested in participating in any way with Local First Ithaca, serving on a committee or board, help participate in guide- businesses, non-profits, or municipalities- let us know!
  • You can reach me at localfirstithaca@gmail.com
  • Visit www.localfirstithaca.org

TCCPI Statement on Fracking: Peter Bardaglio
  • Peter got feedback that some institutional TCCPI members don’t feel that they’re able to sign onto a statement on fracking
  • Statement is seen as taking a political position because we call for more study
  • Peter got some good feedback from Martha Robertson and Gay Nicholson refining the language, which he can incorporate; clarifies and refines statement, doesn’t substantially change the content
  • Sense that we need to say more about the demand side as a solution
  • Evidence of climate change that’s already happening: melting of Arctic, methane emissions, studies about how many people are dying each year already from climate change
  • Primary recommendation of Arctic Methane Emergency Group (www.ameg.org) is elimination of short-term forcing of methane as quickly as possible
  • Reached a record for summer ice melt three weeks early there
  • Asking for more research seems reasonable
  • Kevin: FYI- President Skorton released a statement in Forbes calling for more research
  • Katie Borgella: Maybe worth looking back at the history of TCCPI, when we’ve signed onto things as a group
  • Town of Ithaca wants to sign this; Herb Engman brought it to Town Board
  • Gay: No one wants to offend funders
  • K.C.: Skorton’s article took the “moderate” approach that we can have “safe fracking” and cited Bloomberg’s decision to fund $6 million of research to develop safe drilling practices with Environmental Defense Fund
  • We wouldn’t need everyone to sign on to release something like this, but could jeopardize relationships with some groups if they don’t want to be associated
  • Katie Borgella: What’s the goal?  Will we really influence anything?
  • Katie Stoner: Feels a bit disingenuous if we really want to be another voice of opposition and we’re just calling for more research
  • Peter: Focusing on the one issue of climate impacts from fracking would be unique; the science is pretty clear, methane is many times more potent than carbon dioxide; we all know what the state of infrastructure is in this country, the pipeline system is in dramatic need for repair
  • Gay: I wonder if we should be talking about whether we think we can write all of the regulations to make it safe; the reality is that the state doesn’t have enough money to enforce any of this; we can’t fix this broken regulatory system
  • Kevin: We’re still talking about carbon here; burning methane gives you carbon emissions; it’s not a bridge fuel
  • Dominic: What is the impact on the state’s Climate Action Plan?  Why aren’t GHG emissions included in the SGEIS on a cumulative scale?
  • Peter: We request that DEC assess cumulative impacts of GHG emissions
  • Katie Borgella: To me, we should have done this two years ago.  Instead, we could write articles about GHG impacts of fracking.  Write letter to the DEC.
  • Michelle Jones: I think you have to be cautious here.  We’re supportive of the CHP plant here, but the fuel is natural gas. 
  • Kevin: I’m in favor of efficiency and reduced use, but I think we need to look further out if we’re talking climate protection
  • Gay: The demand side of the equation is important; moral hypocrisy of not managing the demand side
  • Dominic: Maybe we should mention more studies beyond Howarth so that it sounds less biased; maybe have some acknowledgement that many in our region that it could be an economic development opportunity
  • Gay: I like Katie’s suggestion. Let’s do more outreach, education, have strongly worded alarm bells on behalf of TCCPI. We need to wake people up.  We have a big problem with denial and we won’t see leadership from institutions and politicians who are connected to this money.
  • Peter: There’s such a clear generational divide on this issue.  People who are in their 30s and younger understand what this means for them.  They are really engaged with this issue.
  • Mina: We have a lot of people who work in institutions as part of TCCPI.  The real problem is of demand, lifestyles, incredible consumption. I don’t see anyone who’s talking about reducing demand. We want everything and we want someone else to deal with it.  Need to address systemic issues.  I’m not for extracting more resources, my children are going to face an awful world.  But how do I teach them to lead more responsible lives?  If we could focus on that aspect more, we could broaden the conversation.
  • Gay: It would be good to have lots of talking points for everyone, share value frames, more people could be affected by those messages
  • Linda: There’s a lot of debate about the timeframe of all of this.  If you could really articulate what’s going to happen in a timeframe that people care about, then you’ll get people’s attention.
  • Mina: Painting a picture of the world our kids are going to live in
  • Fernando: Also need to make sure we don’t scare people here. Act locally and make Tompkins County more resilient.  We know that trouble is coming and we can’t stop climate change.  How can we make ourselves more resilient?  Gloom and doom turns people off
  • Gay: People have been trying that frame with Get Your GreenBack Tompkins, but we’re still not getting through
  • Fernando: Help communicate what’s in it for people
  • Dominic: The truth sets us free. We are part of a larger story and a larger moral, political issue.  Not taking a position is taking a position.  When the leader of this review process for the DEC is a climate denier, we need to call that out.
  • Katie Stoner: Do we have enough signers to move forward with something? 
  • Peter: It doesn’t have many of the key players; not really surprised that this is where we are. 
  • Katie Stoner: When is the next county GHG update?
  • Katie Borgella: Next summer
  • Gay: How do we get people to feel responsible for what’s happening with the climate? 
  • Peter: We’ll continue this conversation over e-mail

AUGUST 2012

Get Your GreenBack Tompkins: Karim Beer

  • Community-based campaign to inspire all 40,000 households and every business in Tompkins County to take at least one new step to save money and energy
  • Background:
    • Food: GHG from food system: ~$9000/yr/family of 4; 55% of adults in Tompkins County are overweight; generation has shorter life expectancy for parents
    • Building Energy (largest sector): ~42% energy use; huge savings potential (and job creation)
    • Transportation: 1/3 of all energy; 2/3 of all oil (more than all oil imports), mostly passenger travel; 1 lb of CO2/mile; $0.60/mile
    • Waste: increasing consumption in USA; 5 lbs of trash/person/each day
  • Background and Theory:
    • We all need to take steps (behavior change), whatever stage of path we’re on
    • Institutions and structures need to change as well
    • Wealth of existing services and initiatives
  • Strategies and Outcomes:
    • Community Outreach
    • Marketing
    • Step of the Month
    • Large (and Small) Employers
  • Community Outreach:
    • Community Educator/Organizers (CEOs)- working with a group of about 10 CEOs from low-income/communities of color
    • Also working with churches, youth groups, service organizations
    • Ex. Town of Caroline’s food pantry uses food from local farms
    • Get Your GreenBack can support what’s already happening- connect to resources, info, and advertise
  • Marketing:
    • Banners
    • Collaborative tabling
    • Collaborative marketing with businesses (ex. Moosewood)
  • Step of the Month:
    • Work with reps from each of the sectors and ask how GYGB can support your work
    • Sept. Streets Alive! Ithaca- bike, walk, transportation-themed along with Creating Healthy Places
  • Work with businesses and organizations:
    • Contact existing community events- have them post info about getting there with alternative transportation
    • Asking businesses to post GYGB sector logo on website
    • Large Employers and Small Businesses
      • “Benefit Package”- help employees take steps at work and home
      • 4 sectors
      • Open doors with Cayuga Medical Center, Ithaca College, Cornell University
      • Want to create Leadership Tompkins Group project to research what has been done in other places
      • Small Businesses- take advantage of NYSEG lighting and retrofit programs
  • Communications:
    • Counter- tracking total number of steps taken
    • Share photos, stories
  • Salient Results So Far:
    • Identified and trained about 10 CEOs
    • Biggest: Collaborative relationships with dozens of organizations
    • ETC. (didn’t catch everything)
  • Hopes for Next Year:
    • Empower and support community organizations to do outreach and promote steps
    • Empower about 20 CEOs around the county
    • Strengthen relationships with businesses to promote steps
    • Use media to share inspiring stories
    • Try out Benefit Package
    • Fill out GYGB network map
  • Q&A:
    • Recommendation for sustainability auditing group? (In terms of purchasing practices, energy, policies, etc.)- Dan Roth might know
    • Analogy to Family Reading Partnership- leverage and complement folks already working in this sector

 TCCPI Statement on Fracking: All

  • Climate impacts of fracking and relevance to TCCPI
  • Should TCCPI issue a statement on fracking?
  • Peter: 6% of wells fail right away, 30% fail after 30 years and leak chemicals into aquifers (industry data)
  • Issue of methane leakage in terms of operation and distribution; methane has much greater GHG potential than carbon dioxide (even though it has a shorter half-life)
  • Gov. Cuomo making a decision on fracking soon
  • Given these developments, how should our coalition respond?
    • Focus on climate impacts of fracking
    • Focus on opportunity to become a leader in clean energy economy
    • Ed Wilson’s idea of setting goal to eliminate natural gas over the next 10 years in Tompkins County, for example; if we’re going to be carbon neutral, we need to stop using fossil fuels; idea to prohibit expansion of natural gas or phase out entirely
  • There’s no discussion of climate impacts in the SGEIS and New York State Climate Action Plan doesn’t address fracking either; DEC Bradley Field is a climate denier; also conflict of interest with regulators and industry (check out Environmental Working Group reports)
  • City of Boulder implemented local carbon tax
  • K.C.: How do we put this vision into practice? Should we set up community conversations around Ed’s idea of phasing out natural gas?
  • Ithaca College and some other institutions wouldn’t want to sign onto a statement that’s political/controversial
  • We need to be careful with language
  • Concern about statement alienating some groups that TCCPI might want to work with
  • Elected Officials to Protect NY- highlight studies that should still be done; moral obligation to ask questions
  • Doing nothing is a political statement; it’s impossible to be apolitical; we can phrase the statement in a reasonable way, asking for the science and the facts before we proceed (same strategy as Elected Officials to Protect NY)
  • Dominic will take a stab at the draft and have it e-mailed out to the group for feedback ASAP

 Town of Ithaca/Dryden Sustainability Planner: Nick Goldsmith

  • Works for Town of Ithaca and Town of Dryden
  • Community and government sustainability
  • Energy Action Plan for Town of Ithaca- in the process of implementing it
  • Community outreach to get input for Community Energy Action Plan- 9/25 meeting
  • Collecting GHG inventories to then create Energy Action Plan for Town of Dryden
  • Working towards institutionalizing sustainability- incorporating into Comprehensive Plan
  • Likely new position for City/County in 2013

 Climate Change in the News: Peter Bardaglio

  • Summer 2012: A transformative moment? (in terms of our understanding of climate change)
  • Climate change is here, ready or not- how will we respond?
  • The first six months of 2012 were the hottest since record keeping began in 1895
  • 4.5 degrees Fahrenheit higher than the long-term average for the same six-month period
  • Animated map with data from 1800 regarding land surface temperature anomalies- to what extent did the average temperature that decade deviate from the global norm during that decade?  Created by UC Berkeley
  • Map of Greenland: The extent of Greenland’s ice sheet surface, in white, on July 8, left and July 12, right, based on satellite measurements.  Source: NY Times, 7/24/12
  • Arctic Ocean ice shrank to its lowest extent since satellite monitoring began in the late 1970s on Aug. 26
  • Arctic Ocean could be ice free in summers by 2015
  • Previous predictions by IPCC projected ice free summers by end of century
  • Almost two-thirds of the lower 48 states now suffering from drought conditions
  • Nearly all of Iowa, Nebraska, Kansas, Missouri, and Illinois are in extreme or exceptional drought, making this the worst dry spell since the 1950s, approaching Dust Bowl territory if this continues
  • This year’s drought has devastated corn and soybeans in the Midwest farm belt
  • From June to July, according to the World Bank, corn and wheat rose by 25% each, soybeans by 17% in global market à tremendous stress in terms of global food distribution, food prices, food access; soybeans have now hit an all-time high
  • Low water levels on Mississippi River this summer clogging shipping traffic- in some parts traffic can only move one way
  • At one point last week river traffic backed up more than 11 miles
  • More than 400,000 U.S. jobs depend on the flow of river traffic- each day traffic on river stops, U.S. economy loses $300 million à huge economic impacts of climate change
  • Major cities along U.S. East Coast scrambling to adapt to climate change
  • Sea levels expected to rise by 5-6 feet in Boston and New York by end of century à millions of dollars already going into shoring up infrastructure in these cities to address sea level rise
  • Rising 3-4 times faster along East Coast than global average: “hot spot”
  • South Florida Sun Sentinel, 8/29/12: “Roads are flooded, the water supply’s ruined with saltwater, million-dollar homes are sopped.  And it’s not a hurricane.  It’s permanent.  It’s climate change.”
  • Regular flooding in Broward County, FL during extra high tides; this is a very conservative county, very wealthy, yet they recognize that climate change is here
  • Parts of region will be under water in matter of decades
  • Recent Harvard University study: 17 of 21 butterfly species familiar to Massachusetts are “declining” and generally moving northward and “14 new species are arriving from the South” (as far away as Texas)
  • Warmer weather over last 20 years are driving these changes; butterflies are sensitive to ecological change, especially temperature zones
  • The good news: more and more people are making the connection between extreme weather and climate change
  • The percentage of Americans who now believe that climate change is occurring rose to 70& July, according to a University of Texas poll- those insisting it was not fell to 15%
  • 2010 survey showed, in contrast, that only 52% of American public believed in climate change
  • 87% of Democrats and 53% of Republicans believe that climate change is happening
  • The Big Question: Which way will the U.S. go? 
  • As a community, we’re addressing these issues, but what will happen on national scale?
  • People are experiencing climate change in their everyday lives, so perspectives are changing, making connections to bigger picture

JULY 2012

County Mitigation Plan: Scott Doyle

  • Reviewed projected shifts in climate during the next several decades
  • Planting season could shift as much as one month
  • Why develop and update plan?
    • Cost effective
    • FEMA mitigation funding eligibility
    • Integrate opportunities
    • Address new realities/resources
  • New hazards in Plan update:
    • Infestation
    • Extreme temperatures
    • Landslide
    • Drought
    • Lake flood
    • Flash flood
  • Plan update incorporates climate change and gas drilling
  • Organized into project team and technical committee
  • Fall 2012: Full plan draft and public outreach
  • Spring 2013: Formal adoption
  • Mitigation and Adaptation Strategies
    • Assess challenges and vulnerabilities
    • Identify new opportunities
  • Potential adaptations to heat
    • Agriculture
      • Diversify crop varieties
      • Capital investments in cooling
      • Impact on dairy production- barn design, onsite solar, wind, irrigation
      • Appropriate pest management
    • Others
      • Maintain healthy tree stands
      • “Heat assistance”
      • Green roofs, reflective roofs
  • Potential adaptations to precipitation
    • Agriculture
      • Shift planting schedule
      • New cover crops
    • Others
      • Restore and strengthen riparian buffers
      • Drought response plans
  • Suggestions
    • Deepen wells
    • Identify timing of crops that will get lost and new crops to introduce
    • Talk with people in areas that currently have climates that we expect to have
    • Assess impact on utility costs and flood plains
    • Issue of population migration northward and inland
    • How can TCCPI help increase level of public engagement?
    • How do we deal with rising level of uncertainty?
    • What will be impact on insurance? Will there be an “insurance crisis”?

County Energy Road Map: Katie Borgella

  • What is it and why do it?
    • Understanding community energy picture will help develop resiliency
    • Provides sense that alternatives are possible
    • Katie is looking for recommendations for people to serve on technical committee

TCCPI Feedback Process

  • Three questions:
    • What is going well with TCCPI?
    • What are areas of weakness?
    • How can we strengthen these areas?
  • Group strongly endorsed qualitative rather than quantitative approach

Roundtable Updates

  • David Kay: construction on TREE- third neighborhood at EcoVillage at Ithaca underway
  • Katie Stoner: will be continuing to reach out to people on individual level regarding community sustainability initiative
  • Nick Kirk: announced that Taitem is working on creating process allowing affordable deep energy retrofits
  • Tristram Coffin: working on home financing solutions for deep energy- about 15% of loans in first half of 2012 green related- also looking at how AFCU can adopt more sustainable transportation
  • Ed Marx: just issues RFP on county’s West Hill property as part of EPA Climate Showcase grant- cleaner, greener Southern Tier planning process moving forward
  • Karim Beer: presented brief update on Get Your GreenBack Tompkins and each of monthly themes so far
  • Marian Brown: sustainability initiative at civic engagement office
  • Brian Eden: Council working on putting together program emphasizing solar power- also MEGA’s contract coming up for renewal- would like to get city and county to buy more renewable energy
  • Ed Wilson: attended IDEA annual conference- announced new community energy guide at conference- available online
  • Michelle Jones: every building will be sub-metered- data from individual buildings available online- overnight energy audit showed many people leaving computers on overnight- launched campaign and achieved at 17% increase in turnoffs
  • Kevin Posner: taking over Tompkins County Energy Conservation Corps
  • Peter Bardaglio: City received $4.5 million from federal government for revitalizing Commons and increasing its effectiveness with transportation; also NYSERDA grant proposal submitted
  • Kelly Cronin: will be Museum of Earth rep for TCCPI- shared news about new exhibits, including one on glaciers

JUNE 2012

Report from the Field: ICLEI World Congress and Rio+20: Dominic Frongillo

  • ICLEI World Congress held in Belo Horizonte, Brazil in lead up to Rio+20
  • Dominic went to Rio+20 and spent one day there; agenda: sustainable global development
  • U.N. Commission on Sustainable Development- 20th anniversary of first Rio Summit- critical moment in world history
  • Agenda 21: had come out of 1992 Summit- voluntary action plans for integrating sustainability into development work, other agreements
  • Organized around green economy, poverty reduction, and institutionalizing sustainable development
  • Largest U.N. conference in history- 45,000 participants
  • Very low expectations going into conference
  • Positive outcomes:
    • 49-page document called “The Future We Want”- however, very loose and vague
    • U.N. Environmental Programme got more funding
    • Established a high-level forum, details to be determined
    • Will be trying to integrate goals of Millennium Development Goals and U.N. Sustainable Development goals by fall 2013
    • More productive conversations among corporate and civil society sectors
  • Negative outcomes:
    • Failed to agree on funding and even details of themes
    • U.S. blocked progress on many issues
    • Greenpeace called Rio+20 a “Summit failure of epic proportions”
  • Why did this fail?
    • U.S. is in the midst of a contentious election
    • Government power is declining in comparison to corporate power and civil society
    • Just like U.N. Climate Negotiations, raised larger questions about whether the U.N. is the right venue for grappling with these issues
    • Should states be leading this effort?
    • Is this a function of the system or the players?
  • At ICLEI World Congress, it became clear that cities are becoming one of the major vehicles driving innovation
  • ICLEI was founded in 1990
  • City of Ithaca, Town of Ithaca, Town of Dryden, and Tompkins County are all members of ICLEI
  • World Congress happens every three years
  • General mood is that there’s a lot happening at local level, in place of federal government
  • Governance style is shifting from command-and-control to collaboration, sharing of information, knowledge
  • 64 countries and 1,200 participants at the ICLEI World Congress
  • One of the main themes was alternatives to GDP for measuring economic prosperity
  • Cities can be a lot more nimble than nations
  • Cities are doing a lot to raise awareness about climate change and sustainability
  • There were 79 mayors, over 1,200 participants
  • Biodiversity, smart growth, resilience, community vitality
  • Forming new initiative called Future City Leaders to invest in emerging leaders, many ICLEI founders are reaching retirement age, so they’re trying to make this more intergenerational
  • Heard from Bhutan’s National Happiness Commission
  • Heard presentation on transportation- cited example of NYC Mayor’s Office creating bike lanes on Park Ave. within a week- cities can work quickly; we don’t have 40 years to convert to low/no-carbon forms of transportation (Copenhagen completely transformed transportation system and has a great deal of bike infrastructure, but it took 40 years; we have added urgency now with climate change)
  • Evolution of cities: Cities are moving from extractive stage to eco-efficient stage to productive stage (producing more energy and food than consuming)
  • What’s needed for transformative change in cities:
    • Practices- district heating, etc.
    • Strategic alliance
    • Strategic institution: ex. Rapid transit buses in Curitiba, Brazil
  • Take-aways:
    • Networked with mayors from all around the world
    • Good conversation with both U.S. Executive Director and Founder- Michael Schmitz (ED) offered assistance to TCCPI
  • Freiberg, Germany is one of the models of sustainable innovation, especially in areas of transportation, clean energy with passive and active solar on buildings, district heating which is biomass-powered, 5 windmills within the city, starting do more on transportation
  • There were only 6 elected officials out of 1,200 participants from the U.S.- quite a few, however, from civil society organizations; Raleigh, NC and a few people from CA
  • How could ICLEI assist TCCPI?
    • Dominic will follow up with contacts
    • If you have additional questions or ideas, contact Dominic (df66@cornell.edu)
  • ICLEI was inspiring, especially in light of Rio+20; the governments that are more responsive to people are the ones that are moving things forward
  • Interesting research at University of Toronto on multi-sector collaborations

Downtown Commons Revitalization: Mayor Svante Myrick

  • One of the reasons Svante ran for mayor was because of the issue with sprawl in and around Ithaca
  • Importance of urban infill- alternative to sprawl
  • Downtown density and revitalization as a solution- create city where more people walk to work, so that people are healthier and happier
  • Single best predictor of individual happiness is length of commute in car
  • Once you get into your car, so much easier to go to strip malls and Wal-Mart
  • More people walking to work means more economic activity, greater social capital
  • Also good economically and culturally for more people to walk to work
  • We’ve been de-socialized because of our lack of interactions in suburbia
  • Trying to change zoning downtown to fit more people downtown- also working on various tax abatement projects
  • Need to be competitive financially since development in suburbs happens because of lower taxes
  • Need to find ways to make downtown Ithaca more financially feasible
  • Looking to revitalize the Commons directly, so that it’s a place where people want to live; infrastructure is very old
  • Working on a design for the Commons in the next two months
  • Looking to finalize and approve redesign of Commons- $8 million for Commons itself and $18 million overall
  • City would provide $3.5 million- seeking $12 million from federal government
  • TIGER grant was very competitive part of Obama’s stimulus; no state ever gets more than two grants; there were a few dozen applications from NYS alone- NYC and Rochester got the award, but Ithaca was also right up there
  • Svante went to DC several times and tried to pitch it to Senators
  • Hope that if they reapply next year, they’ll have better shot
  • Didn’t get TIGER grant but also applied to two FTA programs: Bus Livability and State of Good Repair programs (which are less competitive and less political)
  • Projects- add more than 100 units of housing, commercial space on Commons; also revamp TCAT, bike share program, support Ithaca Car Share
  • Thinking about staggered timing to redo Commons for several months without hurting businesses
  • Also applied for $4 million from state and strategic tourism board- also asking Downtown Ithaca Alliance; they’ll take a vote to help pay for this; overall there are all sorts of ways to fund these projects, even if they don’t win the federal grants
  • 50 mixed income apartments going up in place of Women’s Community Building (between $500-800/month for 1-BR apartments)
  • What about climate adaptation? Risking lake level or floods? Less ideal to build housing right on lake, for multiple reasons
  • Goal is to build closest to Commons, where people can walk to work or to transportation hubs, keeping in mind minimizing environmental impact
  • City of Ithaca, by putting more people in Downtown and Collegetown, can help relieve pressure on Town of Ithaca and other outlying areas
  • Nearing end of first stage of City’s Comprehensive Planning- about a year away from completion of final draft
  • City considering requirements for density and energy efficiency for new buildings- not much discussion, however, about improving energy efficiency of existing buildings
  • 70% of people rent in the City of Ithaca
  • Svante would love to hire someone or have a joint partnership with County to implement the City’s Energy Action Plan (once it’s adopted, hopefully in a month), since Dennise Belmaker’s job is now over- some recommendations will apply specifically to certain departments, others will be Svante’s responsibility
  • Climate action planning committee reviewing plan drawn up by Dennise Belmaker- hope it will come before Common Council next month
  • Have joint meeting planned between Town of Ithaca and City of Ithaca’s Comprehensive Plan (but very different stages of development)
  • Significant opportunities for collaboration, especially around land use
  • Land use planning area of greatest weakness when it comes to inter-municipal collaboration- healthcare consortium one of the strongest areas

MAY 2012

Climate Adaptation Discussion, Pt. II: Dominic Frongillo

  • What should we be doing that we aren’t already doing?
    • Need to focus on areas of expertise and apply them to relevant issues
    • Experts need to convene and prepare action plan
    • Important for people to understand the science behind climate change, but the urgency of the situation means the time is short
    • Business opportunities- give businesses positive opportunities to make money
    • If other institutions are doing work around climate adaptation, we need to invite them to the table
    • We need to ensure that climate change impacts are incorporated into long-term planning
    • Need to collectively understand what is already happening related to various planning efforts
    • Need to contact existing planning efforts/groups
    • Can learn from local food system planning
    • Food security is increasingly important- Get Your GreenBack and Building Bridges will be driving process over next few months
    • What is TCCPI’s role? How do we not duplicate efforts?
    • As networking coalition, people can take what they want out of these conversations back to their organizations
    • Food, water, shelter, energy, and transportation are key issues
    • Big difference between emergency response and adaptation/resilience- entering new normal- focus on process, not a single event
    • Looking at long-term systemic change- new default setting- not strong suit of human behavior
    • Insurance companies are among organizations looking most seriously at climate adaptation
    • Real estate agents are another group that is focusing on climate change impacts and adaptation
    • Given resource constraints, how can we address these issues effectively?
    • FEMA has readjusted flood plains in our area two years ago
    • The Museum of the Earth is interested in thinking about how we can better communicate these issues; what is the public going to need to know?
    • What are communities doing in areas that are prone to flooding? Relocating people?
    • How do we “compete” with other issues in a fiscally-constrained environment?
    • Where are we facing competing pressures?
    • Who else should be here?
      • Nan Natasha from Food Bank Southern Tier
      • The most vulnerable in our communities- low income, communities of color- should be kept at the center of the conversation
      • Insurance companies
      • Real estate agencies
      • All Hazard
      • Red Cross
      • Kirby- Building Bridges
      • Cornell urban resiliency- Marianne Krasny
      • NYSEG- fund; risk management for reliability
      • Atkinson Center- research?
  • Grant opportunities?
  • What are immediate next steps?
    • For each challenge, determine who is working on what already, and go from there
    • Identify people we need to hear from and contact them
    • Figure out which problems are already being addressed and which problems are beyond our capacity.  What are remaining problems that we can focus on?
    • Should find out more about what the Atkinson Center is up to

Tompkins County Energy Corps: Shawn Lindabury and Anne Rhodes

  • Started summer 2009, have had over 60 interns total who have been trained
  • Mission is to focus on whole-house energy assessment
  • First step was to focus on leadership education- government officials, non-profits, etc. about the potential for energy efficiency to create jobs, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, benefits to home owners (savings, comfort, etc.)
  • 125 leaders went through program to form network of awareness throughout the county
  • In 2010, started to focus more on community education with programs like Lighten Up Tompkins (fall 2010) and Lighten Up Ithaca (fall 2011)
  • Developed outreach activities in next step, using NYSERDA grant to focus on six towns in county
  • Programs from NYSERDA and the state, including Weatherization Assistance Program and Green Jobs Green NY, on-bill recovery loans
  • Public Policy Education Fund with Citizen Action
  • Who should Energy Corps be reaching?
  • Developed number of outreach programs over past couple of years
    • In home, neighborhood gatherings- provided vehicle for building healthier neighborhoods; meetings with interns and a group of neighbors have been very successful in terms of community building and in terms of outcome; young people are very excited, but also sometimes have a hard time holding those who are older accountable to make the changes
    • Identified community representatives in some of the outlying towns to help drive people into programs- working with Karim to expand community education; have reps from Enfield and Dryden, still looking for someone from Danby, Trumansburg, Ulysses
    • Setting up the infrastructure with community for future projects/initiatives with GYGB related to food, transportation, etc.
    • Tighten Up events with people who have had retrofits; invite their friends over to talk about the benefits
    • Looking to develop “energy stewards”- primarily retired people- to help people through process
    • “Upgrade Upstate” website is undergoing redesign; It has helped to fuel growth in assessments and upgrades; tries to bring this info together in one place- shows which incentives you’d qualify for with an interactive tool
  • Provide neutral third party to provide info and case management; helpful because people are often skeptical of contractors, in case they’re being ripped off
  • Inconsistent quality of assessments is a challenge
  • Developing tracking mechanisms
  • According to NYSERDA, Tompkins County has the second fastest growth rate for audits and upgrades in the state
  • Over next few weeks, training 8 interns for community presentations
  • Also have marketing and branding team, working with GYGB; doing big marketing push in the fall
  • Collecting testimonials from people and doing videos
  • Door to door canvassing in rural communities- downtown neighborhoods: word of mouth is working
  • Hiring two Americorps people for summer and another for a whole year
  • Dealing with issue of split incentives in rental properties- major challenge
  • People are drawn to the positive vision, rather than the negatives (threat of climate change, etc.), so they’re focusing on positive aspects: building community, engaging people, making homes more comfortable
  • Other counties are getting interested in replicating model
  • Doing some joint trainings this summer with Broome County interns
  • Energy Leadership Dinner next month in Binghamton
  • Save Energy, Save Dollars was cut in December

Group Updates

  • Interest from the group in focusing more on follow-up from various discussions and presentations, want to hear the outcomes of the initiatives members are working on
  • Stacey: short waiting list for low income upgrades- please help get the word out over next month or so- TC Action
  • Stacey is leaving TC Action in next month- Lee Dillon will be new representative for TCA
  • Dominic will be attending Rio+20 and speaking at closing plenary
  • Karim introduced himself as director of GYGB- passed list around
  • June is Waste Reduction Month- each month will be devoted to one issue
  • Michele and Peter provided update on next round of funding for Southern Tier Regional Economic Development Council
  • Peter announced closing of seed capital round for Black Oak Wind Farm
  • Brian Eden asked about fast charging stations- second round of funding from NYSERDA available through July
  • Michele Jones- fifth annual energy education conference in October, focus this year on businesses; non-profits will have opportunity for free tabling- 8 spots
  • Carolyn Buckler- putting together list of small grant opportunities- contact her via email
  • Herb Dwyer- beginning load analysis of buildings downtown that would be part of district energy system
  • Cornell and Energize Ithaca will be working together on community education process
  • K.C. gave update on Power Shift NY and Green Umbrella

APRIL 2012

2012 Climate and Energy Objectives in Ithaca: Dennise Belmaker

  • Detailed greenhouse gas inventory carried out in 2010
  • Looked at emissions generated by source, sector, and scope
  • New plan also includes review of implemented measures and further strategies for reducing GHG emissions
  • Dennise worked with Taitem Engineering on plan
  • Follows ICLEI’s 5 Milestone Process:
    • Conduct GHG emissions analysis
    • Establish reduction target
    • Develop climate action plan
    • Implement climate action plan
    • Monitor plan to report results
  • Includes government buildings and operations as well as broader community
  • Local government spends about $1.5 million on energy each year, not including cost of employee commuting- about 5.5K tons of CO2 emissions each year
  • GHG emissions from buildings and facilities is 33% and vehicle fleet is 27%- waste water treatment facilities is 14% and public lighting is 10%
  • City has reduced its GHG emissions by 14% since 2001- goal for government is to reduce emissions 20% by 2016
  • GHG emissions from natural gas have been reduced from 1.6K tons in 2001 to just over 1K tons by 2010
  • GHG emissions per capita in city about 5 tons in 2010, compared to 12 tons for county as a whole- probably due to higher density, household size, and amount of walking and biking in city
  • Suggested measures going forward include improved record-keeping, updated progress every 2-3 years, carry out energy audits of major city buildings, staff training re: energy saving and monitoring use- also explore renewable energy options (all related to government operations and facilities)
  • Also recommend fleet manager, vehicle pool, route planning, purchasing and replacement policy
  • Among recommendations for community: community gardens (see PPT)

City of Ithaca Comprehensive Planning: David Kay

Comprehensive plan focuses on vision for future and blueprint for change

  • Seeking public input in meetings with different groups and organizations as well as meetings with general public
  • Consultants will draft comprehensive plan document that lays out key principles for making decisions
  • Then will seek additional public input on draft
  • Comprehensive plan committee will review and edit draft and submit to City Planning Board
  • Looking to have Common Council adopt final draft by end of 2012
  • Up to date information can be found at www.cityofithaca.org and click on “Comprehensive Plan”
  • Brainstorming with group:
    • Most important: avoid sprawl by emphasizing smart growth and urban infill- increase density
    • Reuse of sites such as K-Mart to promote mixed-use, pedestrian oriented development
    • Community outreach and education that emphasizes advantages of smart growth
    • Zoning regulations that support and reinforce smart growth
    • Improved access to mass transit that works
    • Identify specific areas for redevelopment transition areas
    • Avoid undermining character of healthy neighborhoods
    • AIAI recommendations for connectivity should be incorporated into Comprehensive Plan and implemented, esp. waterfront-Commons connection
    • Climate change adaptation- identify areas to avoid such as floodplain- get green infrastructure in place
    • Work closely with other partners such as TCAD, Ithaca Downtown Alliance, County Planning Dept.
    • Encourage and support renewable energy efforts, including electric vehicle charging stations
    • Upgrade broadband downtown, including wireless
    • More community gathering places and facilities
    • Support city energy plan recommendations
    • Improve collaboration with Town of Ithaca
    • Safer bicycle access
    • NYC campus opportunities and threats
    • Downtown district energy and CHP power production
    • Support downtown sustainability center

MARCH 2012

Finger Lakes Land Trust : Andy Zepp, Executive Director

  • Mission of creating and enhancing a network of open space for the future
  • Work across 12 counties of the Finger Lakes region (started in Ithaca)- including agricultural land, recreational land, and forested land“
  • The Emerald Necklace”Network of open spaces
    • 82 miles of Finger Lakes Trail and associated trails
    • Planning for climate change adaptation
      • biofuels
      • carbon sequestration
  • Sustainability of land use
    • Access to mass transit in rural areas is crucial
    • Fragmentation pattern has significant ecological impacts
  • Lick Brook Falls
    • Direct acquisition
    • Partnership with Cornell Plantations
    • Conservation easements with property owners
  • Focus on wetlands for water quality
  • Six Mile Creek- drinking water supplies
  • Dealing with securing land, but also focused on ensuring sustainability of projects over decades (economically, politically, etc.)
  • Also working on elevating conversation about land use impacts due to hydraulic fracturing
  • Danby/Enfield- trail on Finger Lakes Trail → working with Tompkins County Planning Dept. to protect FLT and find permanent trails (rather than informal agreements in the past with farmers)
  • This area drains north to St. Lawrence and south to the Chesapeake
  • Tremendous amount of fairly uniform forest (even-aged forests- abandoned farmland in the early 1900s) → challenge to increase young and old forest protection
  • Conservation priorities:
    • Large blocks of intact forest (for habitat, timber, biofuels, carbon sequestration) → Want to avoid isolated ecological populations with impending climate change
    • Unique natural areas (botanical richness, etc.)
    • High quality streams and wetlands
    • Connective corridors
  • Key Threats
    • Sprawling residential development (potentially due to our history with colonial agriculture)
    • Natural gas development 
    • Invasive plants and insects
    • High deer populations
  • Need for funding
  • Recreation- major tourism economy, amenities that attract tourists also attract people to live here
    • State parks are managed for visitors, but state forests are not (less managed)
    • Opportunity to have basic signage, visitor interpretation → need to be able to compete with places like VT, which does a better job at this
  • Lindsay-Parsons Biodiversity Preserve- Town of Danby- patchwork quilt of property owners
  • Habitat diversity- some areas will only be conserved with active management- ex. mowing partnership with U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
  • Focused on making the natural world more accessible to people → people won’t preserve what they don’t understand (ex. state forests initially slated for gas development)
  • Also working on putting in corridors to connect land with educational and recreational value
  • Have to be strategic because taking on a large region
  • Substantial forest products industry- furniture, flooring, especially maple, oak, and cherry
    • Can be done on a sustainable basis
    • Opportunity for biofuels
    • Need to make sure that we’re not mining the nutrients of a forest
  • In Town of Caroline- working on wetland mitigation with U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
  • Tradeoffs- ex. destroying bobolink habitat (forested) and changing it to a wetland 
  • Working on managing Japanese knotweed → hoping to find more biocontrols (rather than herbicide)
  • Educational programming- looking to expand in region and develop more partnerships 
  • Issue of scale matters- ex. deer populations- really need to control at state/regional level

Power Shift NY


 Climate Adaptation Discussion

  • What we’re doing at the county level
    • Scott: Hazard Mitigation Plan will address community’s vulnerabilities and emergency mgmt. (based on historic events); currently being updated to include climate impacts, flooding, hydraulic fracturing, infestation (plants, aquatic species, invasives); Climaid and IPCC reports are resources; aiming to include every community, town, village in TC in the report; goal is to develop action items to reduce risk; real opportunities to think more comprehensively about risks and mitigation; happy to discuss more
    • New trend in climate work; integrating mitigation into community plans; we’re one of the first communities in NYS to do this  very important for TCCPI to weigh in on this Plan
  • What else do we need to do (as TCCPI to focus on climate adaptation planning)?
    • Need to reframe this discussion around resilience (bring together traditional hazard model and modeling impacts of climate change)
    • Look for synergies for advancing risk reduction and maximizing benefits (ex. Protecting ecosystem services)
    • Link between today’s discussion and next month’s on the City’s Comprehensive Plan (Mayor will be present); encourage more members of the Comprehensive Planning Committee to come
    • Dennise will send out the City’s Energy Action Plan for us to review before next month
    • Potential get a slot in July with analysis in order to get feedback on draft Hazard Mitigation Plan?
  • What are next steps?

FEBRUARY 2012

Get Your GreenBack Launch on 2/29/12

  • Launch is 2/29 at 5:30PM at Kitchen Theatre- local food and drinks
  • Block of tickets for performance afterwards
  • Forward flyer to TCCPI members for distribution

Climate Adaptation and Resilience in Tompkins County: Discussion

  • What are key issues/challenges?
    1. Emergency preparation
    2. Food security: irrigation, losses, stresses
    3. Energy security: microgrids
    4. Transit infrastructure/security
    5. Tax base stress
    6. Policy changes
    7. Public health impacts
    8. Water
    9. Public outreach
    10. Developing positive alternatives
    11. Regional transportation
    12. Demonstration projects
    13. Housing: urban infill and densification
    14. Structural integration of transportation, housing, services
    15. Reduced federal funding for transportation will hamper ability to maintain/repair roads and bridges
    16. Influx of climate change refugees
    17. Communicate with public and policy makers: mitigation and adaption, not either/or
    18. Fear v. positive future vision
    19. Planned obsolescence: rebuilding in flood plains; road system: where roads should be closed abandoned
  • Climate mitigation and adaptation not mutually exclusive
  • We need to frame this in terms of resilience
  • Way to reassert control over our lives at time when many of us feel increasingly subject of forces beyond our control
  • What are we doing locally?
    1. Development focused areas key strategy
    2. City and Town of Ithaca strategic plans also critical
    3. County and municipalities developing hazard mitigation plan- will include climate related issues- required by FEMA
    4. Regional transportation study- ITCTC 1 year study will be completed by end of year
    5. Southern Tier sustainable development plan
    6. Tompkins County planning taking lead- involves seven other counties
    7. Cornell Ag/Life Sciences carrying out research on impact of climate change on crop production
    8. CMC working on making healthcare system more resilient with greater focus on health and wellness
    9. GYGB, Local First Ithaca and other efforts to relocalize and create place-based jobs
    10. Building Bridges
    11. Sustainability Center
  • What else do we need to do?
    1. Focus on greater integration of regional watershed efforts- too fragmented right now
    2. Establish climate adaptation working group: Scott, Dominic, Katie, Peter
  • Next steps?
  • Discussion of the latter two questions will be continued at the April meeting

2012 TCCPI Priorities – Discussion
  • Take steps to plan for climate adaptation and resilience
  • Support development of CHP/district energy projects
  • Create new ways of thinking about how to prioritize investments in infrastructure and tools to implement this thinking: EPA Climate Showcase Community, Southern Tier economic development plan, local investment opportunities
  • Support Building Bridges/GYGB and other similar ongoing initiatives
  • Rollout Southern Tier EERE initiative
  • Streamline energy efficiency upgrade process in residential sector
  • Focus on developing ties with faith communities, school districts, and for-profit large employers
  • Continue to develop outreach  efforts

JANUARY 2012

Black Oak Farm

  • A number of TCCPI representatives and members on Black Oak board of managers
  • Need to raise $45 million over the next year, then move forward with construction in 2013, operating by the end of 2013
  • Expect to have twelve turbines and produce 20 MW
  • Ithaca College, Cayuga Medical Center, Cornell have all expressed interest in possibility of purchasing power
  • Environmental Impact Statement almost completed – not located in migratory path and no issues with rare bats or other species
  • Town of Enfield is supportive of the project and passed a wind ordinance
  • In most cases, have been able to address concerns of neighbors in Enfield; landowners will get 3% of revenue and neighbors in view shed will get 1%

Southern Tier EERE Initiative

  • Strategic economic development initiative to create jobs through energy upgrades of institutional and commercial buildings
  • Modeled after partnership with Pennsylvania State Treasurer and Blue Hill Partners – created $45 million fund for campus energy efficiency initiatives across the state using the energy-as-service model
  • Southern Tier energy initiative will involve not just college and university campuses but also K-12 schools, hospitals, airports, local government buildings, large-scale commercial buildings
  • Empire State will be providing $1 million for a revolving fund to cover upfront costs of feasibility studies, stakeholder meetings, etc.
  • Revolving fund will be leveraged to attract $50-100 million in private capital to region
  • Blue Hill Partners will be working with us – focus on Ithaca, Binghamton, and Elmira-Corning

South Hill & Downtown District Energy Projects

  • Looking at how Emerson property could be converted, among other things, into combined heat and power plant and develop district energy system for South Hill
  • Sustainable Strategies DC helped with application to EPA’s brownfield program for funding feasibility study
  • Project as a whole will take years because of clean up required on site
  • Another district energy project involving six square blocks around downtown Commons under consideration
  • Herb Dwyer and Peter met with building owners to discuss proposed project and received strong expressions of interest – represent over 800,000 sq. feet
  • Mayor Myrick and Gary Ferguson, executive director of Downtown Ithaca Alliance, strongly support idea of downtown energy district
  • Would like to use biomass as energy source for district, but may be additional cost and higher risk for investors
  • Hope to pay for Commons redesign through energy savings
  • Would probably be 10MW CHP – would lead to significant reduction in carbon
  • Sustainable Strategies DC working to help secure federal funding
  • CHP captures waste heat and delivers thermal energy to buildings when producing electricity
  • Energy efficiency should be first step – retrofit “energy hogs,” then connect them in energy loop
  • Dan Roth, Cornell sustainability manager, offered tours of the Cornell CHP for anyone who is interested 

Steering Committee Terms and Progress Reports

  • Steering Committee consists of representatives from each of the five sectors in coalition: education, non-profit, business and finance, local government, and youth
  • Steering committee meets once a month with Steering Committee to develop agenda for monthly meeting and share updates on projects in their respective sectors
  • Steering Committee representatives can serve two 2-year terms consecutively, but required to take at least year off before serving on Steering Committee again, according to original governance documents drafted 4 years ago
  • Members should submit brief progress reports on actions carried out regarding climate protection and clean energy for 2011 ASAP
  • For examples, see 2010 progress reports on TCCPI web site

Methane, Fracking, and Climate Change: Bob Howarth, Cornell University

  • First real comprehensive analysis of GHG emissions from shale gas published in April 2011 by Howarth, Ingraffea, and Santoro
  • Compared natural gas to conventional drilling, fracking, and coal
  • Natural gas is cleaner burning than coal, but full life cycle emissions from extraction and transportation need to be taken into account
  • With 20-year time frame, shale gas has higher GHG emissions than coal
  • Methane is 100 times worse than CO2, in terms of global warming potential
  • Howarth: “I am much more convinced that shale gas is dangerous than I was in April” because of the new studies that have come out in the last few months
  • Possible tipping points to push Earth into new climate system (which is a non-linear system):
    • Melting of Arctic Ocean ice (with reduced albedo)
    • Change in deep ocean circulation
    • More thunderstorms in Arctic, leading to more fires
    • Melting of permafrost and methane hydrates
  • Most of these tipping points were highlighted in the 2007 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report
  • Howarth's study found that there are 40-60% more GHG emissions with shale gas than conventional gas when emissions from extraction and distribution included
  • EPA’s  2011 report corrected for previously outdated emissions factors from 1996, which many of other studies were still using, and came up with results within range of Howarth's  April study for conventional and shale gas emissions
  • Based on new evidence, appears that we have dramatically underestimated leakage of methane from distribution systems
  • Methane plays far more significant role at 20 years than 100 years in terms of climate change – methane has a half life of 10 years
  • Howarth looked at both 20-year and 100-year time frames, but most others only looked at latter
  • Hansen et al. (2007) identified critical threshold in climate system to avoid melting of natural methane hydrates, leading to runaway global warming: 1.8 degrees Celsius
  • Control of methane has more immediate impact than CO2, but both are important in long term
  • Halting fracking would buy us more time to then tackle CO2
  • If we ignore methane, then we will likely hit tipping point for climate change within 15-35 years
  • Only about 30% of natural gas in the U.S. is used for electricity, mostly used for heating
  • Natural gas represents 44% of U.S. emissions in a 20-year time frame and 19% in 100-year period – shale gas will aggravate the situation even further
  • Lots of progressives and environmentalists bought into win-win idea of natural gas, including Sierra Club, NRDC, and Environmental Defense Fund
  • Howarth gave a briefing to President Obama's science advisor and EPA  Administrator Lisa Jackson last December regarding impacts of shale gas
  • Lots of leakage associated with the transport and compression of natural gas if the U.S. exports this gas
  • U.S. Geological Survey estimated there are 82 trillion cubic feet of “technically recoverable” natural gas, NOT economically recoverable gas, which is the equivalent of 6 years worth of gas, NOT 100 years, as President Obama stated in State of the Union Address
  • EPA expected to produce interim report on shale gas drilling by end of 2013
  • IPCC paying much more attention to fracking partially because of the push-back from industry and the controversy it created

Durban Climate Talks and NYS: Dominic Frongillo

  • Came home from the climate talks in South Africa convinced that most important thing we can do to stop climate change in NYS and U.S. is to stop fracking
  • In this sense, Tompkins County “ground zero in the climate change fight”
  • Dominic talked with 350.org's U.S. Climate Action Team – they see fracking as “next tar sands”
  • Martha Robertson, Carolyn Peterson, Dominic Frongillo, and Jeannette Barth met with top aide to Senate majority leader and DEC commissioner – they pointed out the limitations of the SGEIS and pushed for home rule
  • Governor Cuomo has not called the Climate Working Group together for more than 1 ½ year, which is “truly appalling” according to Robertson
  • DEC is not planning for an additional comment period for SGEIS, according to staffer: “We know what you'd say anyway”
  • Dominic said in the meeting that “you have a political problem on your hands” as fracking movement is heading towards civil disobedience
  • Martha: Much more overt conversation emerging that we need statewide ban – previously seen as very radical, but that perception changing

309 North Aurora Street | Ithaca, NY 14850 | info@tccpi.org

Meeting Highlights: 2012