welcome

to the Tompkins County Climate Protection Initiative

July 2019
June 2019
May 2019
April 2019
March 2019
February 2019
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July 2019

Climate Smart Communities Program – Terry Carroll

Climate Smart Communities, a NYS program, helps local governments take action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to a changing climate. Terry Carroll, an energy educator at Cornell Cooperative Extension – Tompkins County, presented an overview of the program and discuss why climate adaptation and resiliency, in particular, have become increasingly important for communities in Tompkins County and elsewhere in the Southern Tier.

  • The Climate Smart Communities program is administered by the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation
  • Goals of the CSC Certification program are to engage and educate local governments in NYS, provide a robust framework to guide their climate action efforts, and recognize their achievements as they make progress – designed for counties, cities, towns, and villages
  • Holistic approach to climate change: mitigation, adaptation, and resiliency
  • Why become a climate smart community?
    • Certified municipalities receive extra points when applying for other grants
    • Recognition for being a leader in climate change resiliency and mitigation
    • Access to resources, training, tools, and expert guidance
    • Framework to organize local climate action and prioritize climate response
  • As framework for community climate action, CSC helps overcome decision paralysis -- climate change as an existential threat is overwhelming, our brains can’t comprehend
  • What can we do? What is most effective? CSC is designed to help community come to grips with what they can do
  • What are the most important steps a community can take?
    • Greenhouse Gas Inventories
    • Climate Action Plans
    • Climate Vulnerability Assessments
    • Natural Resource Inventory
  • What actions does the State want municipalities to undertake?
    • Update Comprehensive Plans with Sustainability Elements
    • Complete Streets
    • Alternative-Fuel Infrastructure
    • Climate Smart Resiliency Planning
  • Actions that build on previous steps taken: Fleet Inventory à Fleet Efficiency Policy à Fleet Rightsizing à Advanced Vehicles
  • Actions that can be done together
    • Climate Resiliency Vision
    • Climate Vulnerability Assessment
    • Climate Adaptation Strategies
    • Climate Smart Resiliency Planning
    • Shade Structures in Public Spaces
    • Climate Adaptation Strategies
    • Heat Emergency Plan
    • Hazard Mitigation Plans
  • How do you become a Climate Smart Community”
    • Take the CSC pledge
    • Appoint a CSC Coordinator for your community
    • Create a CSC task force
    • Evaluate your community
    • Collect documentation for what’s been done
    • Plan out how to accomplish new actions
    • Upload Documentation
    • Submit Proposal and await review
  • CSC pledge:
    • Build a climate-smart community.
    • Inventory emissions, set goals, and plan for climate action.
    • Decrease energy use.
    • Shift to clean, renewable energy.
    • Use climate-smart materials management.
    • Implement climate-smart land use.
    • Enhance community resilience to climate change.
    • Support a green innovation economy.
    • Inform and inspire the public.
    • Engage in an evolving process of climate action.
  • Currently, 271 registered CSC communities that include nearly 8 million people in total – 20 are bronze-certified communities and 4 are silver-certified
  • Especially concentrated in Hudson River Valley, Long Island, and Central NY
  • Eight Tompkins County CSC communities:
    • Town of Ulysses (Bronze)
    • Tompkins County (Silver)
      • Highest Point Total in State!
    • Town of Ithaca (Bronze)
    • City of Ithaca (Bronze)
    • Town of Dryden
    • Pending Application
    • Town of Danby
    • Town of Caroline
    • Pending Application
    • Village of Cayuga Heights
  • Cornell Cooperative Extension involved in response to clear evidence of climate change in Tompkins County
  • 81% of adults in Tompkins County believe climate change is already happening and 74% believe that global warming is affecting weather – but only 46% believe global warming will harm them personally
  • From 1980 to 2013, the average annual temperature in Tompkins County increased 0.6 degrees F per decade
  • Number of days with more than 2 inches of precipitation has increased significantly and mosquito growing season has increased from 70 to 99 days – more heat danger days, too
  • Climate change is already here
    • Communities need to start preparing
    • Mitigation is still paramount– we still hope to avoid the worst case scenarios – but we also need to embrace resiliency and adaptation
    • Municipalities must lead the way
    • Are communities in Tompkins County prepared?
    • CCE’s role is to assist communities that want to move forward
    • And to educate those that are still on the fence
    • If your community isn’t participating, ask them why!
  • How Cornell Cooperative Extension helps:
    • Introduces the program
    • Works with coordinators and task forces to help plan out a path to certification
    • Help with specific actions:
      • Natural Resource Inventory
      • GHG Inventory
      • Climate Smart Resiliency Planning Tool
      • Fleet Inventory
  • Partnership is key
    • Water Resources Institute (WRI)
    • Cornell Institute For Climate Smart Solutions (CICSS)
    • Paleontological Research Institute (PRI)
    • The Nature Conservancy (TNC)
    • Regional Planning Boards (STC, ST8)
    • County Planning (Delaware, Schuyler, Broome, Tompkins)
    • Environmental Finance Center (EFC)
  • Next steps:
    • Greater focus on adaptation
      • Vulnerability Assessments
      • Adaptation Strategies
    • Modeling how these processes can be inclusive and informative to residents - working to make it less “top down” process
  • How does CSC funding work?
    • Municipality applying must have passed the CSC Pledge
    • Grant applications are due today via the Consolidated Funding Application
    • 50% matching funds must be provided on a local level but can include things like land acquisition and in-kind services
    • Grants are designed to earn your municipality more points toward the CSC Program or to implement plans that were created
    • Two categories: Implementation and Certification
  • Certification grants run from $10,000 to $100,000 – can be used for following:
    • $10,000 to $100,000
    • Can be used for:
    • Adaptation actions (e.g. completing a vulnerability assessment)
    • Land use actions (e.g. developing a comprehensive plan with sustainability elements)
    • Transportation actions (e.g. right-sizing the municipal fleet)
    • Organic waste management actions (e.g. developing composting strategies)
  • Implementation grants are also available for between $10,000 and $2,000,000 – they can be used for:
    • Increasing natural resiliency
    • Relocating or retrofitting critical infrastructure
    • Replacing or right-sizing flow barriers
    • Addressing future extreme heat conditions
    • Improving emergency preparedness
    • Improving non-recreational, non-motorized transportation and transit, or reducing commuting distances
    • Increasing food donations and food scraps recycling
    • Reducing methane leakage at landfills
    • Reducing HFC emissions

 

A Climate Change in the News 2019 – Peter Bardaglio

Traditionally, we’ve done this review in August, but we’ve had some shifts in the agenda for next month, and to accommodate the reshuffling we discussed this year’s developments earlier than usual. Don’t worry – there’s plenty to cover.

  • 2019 the year that climate emergency became official – UK became first country in world to declare climate emergency in May
  • Extinction Rebellion: “This is the first step in the government telling the truth about the climate and ecological emergency.”
  • NYC declared climate emergency on June 26 – largest of more than 650 local govts that have done so to date
  • In May, Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii recorded average concentration of atmospheric CO2 at 414.7 parts per million (ppm)
  • Highest seasonal peak recorded in six decades of observations at observatory – according to NOAA, also highest level in human history and higher than at any point in millions of years
  • 7th straight year in which steep increases have been recorded, well above the previous average
  • Most sobering climate change news of year so far? Nature and Nature Geoscience studies released two days ago: never in last 2,000 years have temperature changed as fast and extensively as in recent decades
  • More than 98% of planet affected – none of previous climate shifts involved more than half globe at any one time
  • Prior to modern industrial era, most significant influence on climate was volcanoes – no evidence that variations in sun's radiation had impact on mean global temperatures
  • Rising sea levels close runner up: National Academy of Sciences reported last month global sea levels could rise far more than predicted
  • Due to accelerating melting in Greenland and Antarctica
  • Consensus has been that oceans would rise by maximum of about meter by 2100
  • Real level may be around double that figure – could lead to displacement of hundreds of millions of people
  • Thawing permafrost another close runner up: Emissions from thawing Arctic permafrost may be 12 times higher than previously thought – Harvard report in April
  • In June team from University of Alaska-Fairbanks found permafrost in Canadian Arctic thawing 70 years earlier than predicted
  • More evidence global climate crisis accelerating even faster than scientists feared
  • Given these developments, not a surprise that glaciers are disappearing
  • April issue of Nature: Most glaciers in Central Europe, Western Canada and US will disappear by end of century if current rates of ice loss continue
  • Glaciers lost over 9,000 billion tons of ice between 1961 and 2016 – enough to cover US with four feet of ice
  • Another study from June: Himalayan glaciers have lost 25% of their ice in last 40 years – on track to lose two-thirds by end of century
  • Memorial planned in Iceland next month for first glacier to disappear in that country due to climate change
  • Plaque on to be placed at site reads: “In the next 200 years, all our glaciers are expected to follow the same path, This monument is to acknowledge that we know what is happening and what needs to be done. Only you know if we did it.”
  • UN report last month warned of "climate apartheid“
  • Human rights, democracy, and rule of law were all increasingly at risk, according to report
  • Developing countries will bear 75% of climate crisis costs
  • Yet poorest half of world's population causing just 10% of CO2 emissions
  • May report from University of Minnesota: Climate change already affecting global food production
  • Half of all food-insecure countries are experiencing decreases in crop production – so are some in Western Europe
  • June 2019 hottest June ever for planet in 140-years of record keeping – second warmest January-June on record
  • Nine of the 10 warmest Junes have occurred since 2010 – July on track to be warmest ever
  • Due to heat, Antarctic sea-ice coverage hit new low in June
  • Near apocalyptic heat wave hit India in June
  • Temperature in city of Churu reached 123 degrees, making it hottest place on planet for several days
  • Hundreds of villages abandoned because of water shortages and crop failures
  • Heat wave part of trend of rising temperatures in India
  • 11 of the 15 warmest years since record-keeping began in India have all occurred since 2004
  • Several of India's biggest cities are on the verge of running out of water
  • Deadly heat wave in Europe this summer – France recorded all-time highest temperature of 115 degrees F in late June
  • Similar records set in UK, Belgium, Germany, and Netherlands – only 2nd time temperatures over 100 degrees F have been recorded in UK
  • Five hottest summers in Europe in past 500 years have all occurred in past 17 years
  • May second wettest in 125 years in US and second wettest of all months since January 1895
  • Season of record-breaking floods this spring across Midwest and Plains – Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, South Dakota, and Wisconsin all devastated by record snow and rain
  • Farmers especially hard hit – at end of May only 58% of corn that could be planted in ground – soybeans only 29%
  • On July 4th Anchorage  recorded temperature of 90 degrees – shattered  previous record high of 85
  • Canceled  fireworks display because of wildfire fears
  • 34 days in a row of above-average temperatures – even in March temperatures 20 degrees warmer than usual
  • About a quarter-million acres burned in late June – almost 129 fires still uncontained on July 4th
  • Trump administration response to accelerating climate crisis: White House told agencies last month they no longer have to weigh a project’s long-term climate impacts
  • Changes way US govt evaluates activities like coal mining, gas pipelines, and oil drilling – limits extent to which agencies have to calculate GHG emissions
  • Council on Environmental Quality: “The administration is working to make the environmental review process for major infrastructure projects more efficient, timely and effective.”
  • Just few days before EPA finalized its plan to scrap Obama-era climate rules
  • New regulations give states authority to decide how far to scale back emissions – significantly reduces federal government’s role in setting standards
  • But economics and incentives for renewable energy will continue to drive closure of coal-fired power plants
  • US refused in June to join 19 other nations at G20 Summit in Japan in reaffirming  commitment to Paris Treaty
  • Trump administration objected on grounds that it would hurt American workers and taxpayers
  • 2015 treaty agreed to limit global rise in temperatures to below 2 degrees C (3.6 degrees F) – current policies put world on track for at least 3 degrees C rise by end of century
  • How do Americans view climate change in 2019? April survey from Yale Program on Climate Change Communication shows little change from last year
  • If anything, surprising drop in climate change belief and concern; percentage of Americans who believe climate change is happening dropped from 73% in December 2018 to 69% in April 2019
  • Percentage of Americans who are sure climate change is happening dropped from 51% to 46%, and percentage who think global warming is mostly human caused dropped from 62% to 55%
  • Extreme heat, drought, and flooding are the three top concerns of Americans when it comes to extreme events in their local area
  • Perhaps most telling finding from the April 2019 survey: percentage of Americans who rarely or never discuss climate change with family and friends rose from 59% to 63%
  • In context of the dramatic evidence that climate change is accelerating, all of these trends run counter to what one might think they would be
  • Word of caution about climate change survey results: What percentage of Americans believe in human-caused climate change? Answer depends on what is asked and how, according to report published in May from Annenberg Public Policy Center
  • Surveying 7,000+ people, researchers found that proportion of Americans who believe that climate change is human-caused ranged from 50 to 71% percent, depending on the question format
  • Number of self-identified Republicans who say they accept climate change as human-caused varied even more dramatically, from 29 to 61%
  • What can we do? Yale study released earlier this month says most important thing we can do to fight climate change is to talk about it with family, friends, and neighbors
  • Need to break climate silence – talking about climate crisis more alters people’s perceptions about overwhelming scientific consensus that global warming is happening and humans are cause
  • Leads to significant increase in understanding and concern about climate
  • Best energy news of the year so far: In April, renewables outpaced coal generation in US for first time
  • According to Energy Information Administration, renewable sources provided 23% of total electricity generation to coal’s 20%
  • EIA definition of renewables: utility-scale hydropower, wind, solar, geothermal, and biomass
  • Best US political news of the year so far: CNN national poll in April: Action on climate change top issue for Democratic voters
  • 82% of registered voters who identified as Democrats or Democratic-leaning independents listed climate change as a "very important" top priority
  • Universal government-provided health care clocked in at 75% and stricter gun control at 65%
  • First national survey to show climate change rising to #1 among issues Democrats plan to focus on in the 2020 election
  • Best international political news of year so far: Explosion of public anger has placed increasing pressure on politicians, investors, and companies
  • Student climate strikes, inspired by Greta Thunberg, have spread across globe – Sunrise Movement in US has built impressive support for Green New Deal – Extinction Rebellion activists have forced govts to declare climate emergency
  • Greta Thunberg: “We have to acknowledge that the older generations have failed. All political movements in their present form have failed. But homo sapiens have not yet failed. Yes, we are failing, but there is still time to turn everything around. We can still fix this.”

June 2019

Tompkins County Long-Term Transportation Plan – Fernando de Aragón

Reducing transportation emissions is a crucial part of any effort to meet the Tompkins and Ithaca greenhouse gas emissions targets. With that in mind, Fernando de Aragón, the Executive Director of the Ithaca-Tompkins County Transportation Council will provide an overview of the County’s long-term transportation plan.

  • Ithaca-Tompkins County Transportation Council is the MPO for the Ithaca urbanized area –supervises expenditure of Federal surface transportation funds and provides technical assistance and planning
  • Receives lots of directives from the federal government, including the need to update the five-year transportation plan every 2-3 years
  • Transit, highway/bridge, safety/mobility are key elements of five-year plan
  • Tech assistance, operations, and studies are key parts of annual work plan – this is primarily an internal document
  • ITCTC is not:
    • TCAT Operations
    • Local/County/State road maintenance/management
    • Local/County/State work scheduling and contracts
  • Once federal funding is granted, project implementation and management is a local responsibility – Locally Administered Federal Aid Projects
  • Transportation affects everyone – we all ‘transport’
  • Individualized needs – therefore, no one-system can address all needs
  • Car based transportation system is the 20th century solution of choice
  • Everyone has a car, each gets their needs met, but at what cost? Is it sustainable? Who can afford it?
  • Trip Distribution – more than just rush hour
    • Work based……………………… 6%
    • Family and personal business… 9%
    • Educational/Religious………….. 2%
    • Social/Recreational…………….. 4%
    • Miscellaneous…………………… 9%
    • Very similar to U.S. and NYS
  • Tompkins County Commuting (2013 ACS)
  • 59,028 total workers
  • 43,927 live and work in Tompkins
  • 15,101 commute from other counties
  • 4,177 commute to other counties
  • All Workers Mode:
  • 57% drive alone (33,959)
    • empty seats: (x 2=66,959 x 3=101,877)
    • 80% of 15K in-commuters drive alone
  • 12% carpool/rideshare (20% in 1980)
  • 7% bus
  • 16% walk
  • 5% work at home
  • 3% bicycle
  • .8% other (taxi, motorcycle, other)
  • Costs of Transportation -- Environmental
  • Drive alone car transport is least energy efficient mode: high embedded energy, too much wasted capacity-empty seats, requires most infrastructure, high fossil fuel use
  • Transportation in Tompkins ≈
  • 42% of energy use (over 90% gasoline)
  • 34% of CO2 emissions
  • Huge investment in land resources – i.e. approx. 1.1sq.mi. (~19% land area) of City of Ithaca is parking and roads
  • Costs of Transportation – Economic
  • Annual transportation sector expenditures in Tompkins County ≈ $35 million
  • Personal Transportation Costs
  • Annual Car ownership cost:
    • low ≈ $5,300 (Honda Fit)
    • high ≈$13,000 (large, luxury SUVs)
  • Costs of Transportation – Safety
  • Property damages
  • Injuries
  • Deaths
  • S. 2010 total economic cost = $242 billion.
  • When quality-of-life valuations are considered, the total value of crashes was $836 billion
  • Substantially more than the US military budget
  • Collaborations – Partners
    • Downtown Ithaca Alliance
    • ITCTC/Municipalities/County/NYSDOT
    • Tompkins County Dept. of Social Services
    • Way2Go – Cornell Coop. Extension
    • Center for Community Transportation
    • TCAT
    • Gadabout
    • Cornell Transportation
    • OAR
  • Collaborations – Operations
    • TCAT/Gadabout,
    • Carshare – Ithaca Carshare - CCT
    • Bikeshare - Lime
    • Back Up Ride home - CCT
    • Taxi - multiple
    • TNCs – Uber, Lyft, others…
    • Intercity bus – multiple
    • TDM effort at DIA
    • Finger Lakes Rideshare (Zimride)
    • School Success Transp. Coalition
    • Social services transport – FISH, Vets, etc.
  • Collaborations – Programs and Education
    • Way2Go – faster and farther
    • Finger Lakes Rideshare (Zimride)
    • Coordinated Plan - transportation safety net
    • 211 – FLIC – Challenge – etc.
    • Get Your Greenback
    • Center for Community Transportation:
      • Bike Walk Tompkins + Ith.Carshare
    • Mobility Managers/RTS – regional
    • MaaS
  • Challenges:
  • Attract population to urban areas to maximize urban efficiencies
  • Be ready to expand/accommodate mode choices – including new ones we don’t know about yet, beyond scooters
    • Regionalism
  • Connect/coordinate with neighboring towns
  • Connect/coordinate with neighboring counties
    • Transportation Demand Management
      • TDM cost vs. cost of new/more parking & continuing congestion
    • Bring technology to transportation:
      • Traffic signals, signal prioritization, autonomous transit, customer information & management, MaaS, EVs, safer cars, etc.
    • Infrastructure & program funding
  • Protect functionality of Rt.13-urban & rural
  • Transit supportive development – work with TCAT
  • Multi-modal expansion–bike,ped,trails,transit,other?
  • Can we do more than preservation repair and maintenance?
    • Protect-Support-Expand Transit – i.e.TCAT
      • Backbone for a diversified transportation system
    • Equity in Transportation
  • Medical trips
  • Access to jobs – off-hour trips
  • Rural transportation
  • Reentry transportation needs
  • Elderly
  • Accessibility/ADA
  • Ongoing Efforts
  • Implement Countywide Trail Strategy
  • Extend BDT – urban section
  • Gateway Trail
  • Dryden Trail
  • Sidewalks to IC; to Hospital; up Hector St.
  • Gadabout for on-demand transit-rural, urban?
  • Future
  • More transit shuttle routes
  • Chainworks
  • Projects:
  • State St. retaining wall & repave
  • Intercity buses
  • Brindley St. Bridge
  • Various bridges
  • Various repaving
  • Summary
    • Mobility is proportionately related to Urbanity
      • Rural > Hamlet > Village > City
    • Drive Alone trips least efficient à promote all other modes and combinations
    • Shift to EVs to reduce emissions
    • Multiple synergistic benefits from mode shift:
      • Equity, health, safety, environmental, operational, financial, community wellbeing
    • Be ready to meet the needs of individuals

 

A Green New Deal for Ithaca and Carbon Neutrality – Nick Goldsmith and Tony Ingraffea

Nick Goldsmith, the Sustainability Coordinator for the City of Ithaca, will briefly update the group on the progress with the Green New Deal for Ithaca recently passed by the Common Council. Then Tony Ingraffea, the Dwight C. Baum Professor of Engineering Emeritus at Cornell University, will discuss the concept of carbon neutrality and the complexities associated with it.

  1. Nick Goldsmith on Ithaca Green New Deal
  • Nick Goldsmith: City of Ithaca Common Council adopted a Green New Deal for Ithaca on 6/5/19
  • Unanimous vote 9-0
  • Addresses climate change, economic inequality and racial injustice
  • Main Goals
  • Achieve carbon-neutrality community-wide by 2030
  • Ensure benefits are shared to reduce historical social and economic inequities
  • The City has adopted these goals for its own operations:
  • Meet the electricity needs of City government operations with 100% renewable electricity by 2025
  • Reduce emissions from City vehicle fleet by 50% by 2025
  • Create Green New Deal Action Plan in 2020
  • City has committed to assign additional staff to create and implement plan
  • We will facilitate a comprehensive public engagement process to co-create plan for our community to achieve Green New Deal goals
  • We will report on progress and update plan regularly
  • Adopt Green Building Code for New Buildings
  • New local energy code expected to be in place by end of 2019 – will require all new buildings in Ithaca to produce 40% fewer greenhouse gas emissions than required by state code
  • Net-zero new construction will be required by 2030
  • Adopt a Green Building Code for Existing Buildings
  • City will study programs and policies to reduce emissions in existing buildings in 2020 and will enact legislation by 2021
  • Current Actions:
  • Communications
    • Spread the word and stay tuned
    • Website, 1-page infographic
  • Budget and Staffing
  • Department budgets due August 1
  • Budget hearings October
  • Council adopt budget November
  • New Buildings
  • Net-zero construction
  • Existing Buildings
  • Deep energy retrofits
  • Electrification of space and water heating
  • Behavioral change
  • Transportation
    • Reduce vehicle miles traveled
    • Electrification
  • All sectors: power with renewables
  • Carbon dioxide removal through afforestation and other methods
  • How much of a role should offsets play?
    • New York State 15%
  • Where are offsets allowed to come from?
  • A local offset (inside City) is not an offset – it is just emissions reduction.
  • From County, Region, NYS, U.S., International?
  • How should accounting be done for offsets and sequestration?
  • How to communicate this complicated issue to the public?
    • GHG reduction vs. carbon sequestration vs. GHG offsets
  1. Tony Ingraffea on Carbon Neutrality
  • What is carbon neutrality? Need to take close look at what it means
  • What does it mean to be net zero?
  • Net-zero building or zero-carbon building is building with zero net energy consumption, meaning the total amount of energy used by the building on annual basis roughly equal to amount of renewable energy created on site, or – in other definitions – by renewable energy sources offsite
  • Zero-energy footprint refers to achieving net zero CO2 emissions by balancing carbon emissions with carbon removal or simply eliminating carbon emissions altogether
  • Carbon neutral is term used to describe the action of organizations, businesses and individuals taking action to remove as much carbon dioxide from the atmosphere as each put in to it – overall goal of carbon neutrality is to achieve zero carbon footprint.
  • Lots of problems with Ithaca Green New Deal goal of “carbon neutrality” – which of these is it?
  • Achieve net-zero carbon dioxide and methane emissions by balancing their emissions with their removal by offsetting, or,
  • Eliminate all emissions of carbon dioxide and methane, i.e. net-zero-emissions
  • Under Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA), the following is allowed to achieve carbon neutrality:
    • Natural carbon sinks including but not limited to afforestation, reforestation, or wetlands restoration
    • Greening infrastructure
    • Restoration and sustainable management of natural and urban forests or working lands, grasslands, coastal wetlands, and sub-tidal habitats
    • Efforts to reduce hydrofluorocarbon refrigerant, sulfur hexafluoride, and other ozone depleting substance releases
    • Anaerobic digesters, where energy produced is directed toward localized use
    • Carbon capture and sequestration
    • Ecosystem restoration
    • Other types of projects recommended by new council in consultation with climate justice working group that provide public health and environmental benefits and do not create burdens in disadvantaged communities
  • How do we say what we mean and mean what we say?
  • Quantification of energy transition actions in CLCPA:
    • Emission reductions
      • 2030: 60% of 1990 emissions
      • 2050: 15% of 1990 emissions (30% as currently written)
    • Renewable energy increases
      • 6 GW of distributed solar energy capacity by 2025 (vs. 155 GW in Jacobson et al.)
      • 9 GW of offshore wind capacity by 2025 (vs. 64 GW in Jacobson et al.)
    • Energy efficiency increase
      • Energy efficiency goal of 185 trillion British thermal units energy reduction from 2025 forecast (by when?)
    • Energy storage
      • 3  gigawatts (sic) of statewide energy storage capacity by 2030
  • How does Tompkins County share of distributed solar energy capacity compare with what’s required under CLCPA?
    • Required statewide by CLCPA: 6 GW (6,000 MW) of distributed solar energy capacity by 2025
    • Current (June 2019) distributed solar capacity, complete and in pipeline (not counting Cornell’s19MW): 1,421 projects, 94 MW
    • Population/area of Tompkins County: 105,000/492 sq. mi.
    • Population of New York State: 19,500,000 /54,500 sq. mi.
    • Tompkins County share of required by population: 32 MW
    • Tompkins County share of required by area: 54 MW
  • Tompkins County already exceeds its required contribution – ahead of game when compared to state, but need to do more
  • CLCPA needs corrective action
  • 23-member commission has four years to develop road map to achieve its objectives – but needs to work faster to help head off runaway climate change
  • Gay Nicholson: Finger Lakes Climate Fund moving to include agricultural offsets through soil carbon storage
  • Brian Eden: Need to focus more on energy efficiency – can’t simply keep producing more renewable energy
  • Joe Wilson: Need to figure out how to talk with people about climate change and energy transition so they can see what’s in it for them
  • Sara Hess: Lots of good ideas in Project Drawdown

 

Reenvisioning the County Energy Strategy – Katie Borgella

Katie Borgella, the County Planning and Sustainability Commissioner, will discuss the latest thinking from the County about updating the County’s energy strategy and receive feedback from the group.

  • When 2020 energy strategy first prepared in 2010 it identified 10 local actions (when taken together with other local, state and federal actions) would lead community to reduce its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions at least 20% by 2020 – first increment along path to achieve community GHG emissions goal of 80% reduction from 2008 levels by 2050
  • Since 2010 Community GHG Emissions and Energy Use Inventory conducted – showed 21% reduction from 2008 levels by 2014, using traditionally accepted GHG emissions accounting methods
  • County also prepared Energy Roadmap in 2016 that outlined scenarios to achieve our GHG emissions goals by 2050
  • Sorted actions into four critical “buckets”:
  • Improving energy efficiency in buildings, lighting, and appliances.
  • Moving from grid-supplied electricity generated outside of Tompkins County to local renewable generation.
  • Moving from natural gas to heat pumps and biomass heating.
  • Moving from gasoline-powered to electric cars and light trucks and reducing number of miles driven
  • Both County strategy and roadmap developed with significant input from TCCPI
  • Recent reports by Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change have changed equation – climate scientists now calling for faster progress than originally envisioned 80% reductions in GHG emissions by 2050
  • Light bulb moment: incremental approach no longer enough – need to be bigger and bolder
  • New goal is to achieve net-zero GHG emissions
  • What is role of County going forward?
  • Internal focus: lead by example
  • External focus: provide leadership to broader community by tracking data, identifying issues, applying for funding, and convening stakeholders to support community achieving GHG emission goals
  • Internal focus:
    • Undertake inventory and analysis of our facilities and fleet to determine financially sound path to net-zero emissions
    • Work with employees to reduce GHG emissions from work commutes
    • Periodically update government operations GHG emissions and energy use inventory to inform progress and assist in decision-making
  • External focus:
    • Periodically update community GHG emissions and energy use inventory to inform progress and assist in decision-making
    • Support targeted programs such as Business Energy Advisors Program, which helps businesses and non-profits reduce GHG emissions from their buildings
    • Periodically host “Energy Summit” to convene the community and align efforts
    • Periodically prepare “State of Energy” report that summarizes community energy activities and identifies opportunities, challenges, and gaps
    • Periodically host stakeholder group meetings around specific topics to discuss opportunities, challenges and gaps
    • Prepare reports and pursue funding to address the opportunities, challenges, and gaps identified, including developing pilot programs and conducting feasibility studies that would result in reduced emissions
  • Sara Culotta: What about need to develop community strategy that provides consistent messaging? Need to engage public
  • Gay Nicholson: Need to develop some sticks as well as carrots in dealing with fact that  79% of all housing is rental – County doesn’t have land authority so we need to focus on city and towns
  • Denise Katzman: Need more enforcement – NYC requires certificates of compliance for landlords – there are fines and penalties for noncompliance
  • Karim Beer: How can we make sure communication and messages are coordinated? Meed for collaboration among different groups, organizations, and municipalities
  • Mike Moritz: Need to root our actions in healing and regeneration – should be at core of our actions to deal with climate crisis – need to build “dream team” to engage public and ensure adequate media coverage
  • Jonathan Bates: Need to make sure biomass comes from region not brought in from Canada, etc.

May 2019

The Federal Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act  – Discussion

We ran short on time at last month’s meeting and left some important questions about the EICDA unresolved. Nancy Jacobson, who presented on this key piece of federal legislation at the March meeting, joined us for the discussion.

  • Nancy Jacobson reminded the group that carbon dividend would lead to reduction of greenhouse gas emissions to targets recommended by IPCC:40% by 2030, compared to a 2016 baseline, and close to100% by 2050
  • Dividend would be paid out through direct deposit on monthly basis – according to projections, people in lowest quintile would actually come out ahead
  • Clearly, not just gasoline but other carbon intensive products would cost more
  • People without bank accounts would receive debit cards
  • Military exempt under legislation and global trade would be regulated by carbon border adjustment
  • Straw vote indicated that overwhelming majority of those in attendance supported TCCPI endorsing the EICDA – two votes against and one abstention

 

A Green New Deal for Ithaca – Sara Culotta and Nick Goldsmith with Special Guests

We know the Green New Deal is about climate and energy, but what sets it apart from other such proposals is its holistic approach, designed to meet multiple community needs. Nick and Sara provided a short framing presentation and we then broke into small groups for themed discussions on equity and inclusion; economic development; and health. We reconvened as the full group, with Sara facilitating.

  • Nick Goldsmith: Mayor  Myrick declared Ithaca will develop its own Green New Deal at the Sunrise Ithaca Green New Deal Town Hall on May 2
  • The City Administration Committee unanimously passed the Ithaca Green New Deal resolution at its meeting on May 15 and the resolution is on the agenda for the next Common Council meeting on June 3
  • Nick will share the agenda, including the resolution, with Peter when it comes out later this afternoon so he can distribute it to TCCPI members
  • Two main goals:
    • Meet the electricity needs of City government operations with 100% renewable electricity by 2025
    • Reduce emissions from the City fleet of vehicles by 50% by 2025 and achieve a carbon neutral city by 2030
  • The following steps are proposed to help achieve these goals:
    • Create a climate action plan in 2020 to provide details on how to achieve the IGNG, and update the CAP every five years;
    • Adopt a Green Building Policy for new buildings in 2019
    • Adopt a Green Building Policy for existing buildings by 2021
    • Assign additional staff as needed to implement the plan
    • Comprehensive public input process
      • The Mayor, Common Council, department heads, city staff, boards and
      • commissions
      • Businesses, community groups, academic institutions, organizations
      • Other local governments
  • These are understood as aspirational goals, buy budget season is coming up
  • The resolution is very climate-focused, but there is interest in broader strategy and today’s discussion can spark comments on GND resolution
  • Sara Culotta: The answer to “how” is “yes”
  • We will need to shift our thinking and commitments
    • from Problem to Opportunity
    • from Old conversations - so difficult/technical/expensive/slow
    • to New conversations - greater equity, better health, good jobs, strong companies, we have what it takes
  • And perhaps how we gather, discuss and work together – today is a beginning
  • Why commit?
    • Equity gap
    • Health & wellness
    • Jobs & Investment
    • Resilient community
  • We can:
    • Learn together
    • Make promises
    • Build the will to do the work across our community
  • Local Green New Deals are taking place in other communities: Iowa City, Boulder, Los Angeles, Vancouver
  • Also Carbon Neutral Cities Alliance (CNCA) – a global effort
  • New York City’s Green New Deal Plan (OneNYC2050):
    • Ensure benefits are shared by New Yorkers in every neighborhood.
    • The City will promote energy efficiency and renewable energy across more communities and building sectors, including affordable housing and small and mid-sized buildings.
    • The City will also create new programs so local workers benefit from the job growth and economic activity that result from efficiency investments.
  • Kirby Edmonds from Building Bridges – vision: “socially just, ecologically sound local economy”
  • Equity: everybody has access to good food, health care, transportation, housing
  • Best way to address poverty is to get dollars to poor people – Green New Deal will create good paying jobs
  • What do we mean by “community”? Very problematic concept
  • Need to pay attention to people who don’t usually participate in these conversations: people of color, low income individuals, the marginalized
  • Margot Hittleman from Natural Leaders Initiative: Climate change and inequality are inextribcably linked
  • Communities of color bear the brunt of carbon/fossil fuel pollution
  • How do we move from an extractive economy to a living economy?
  • Two forms of resilience: technical and social – we too often emphasize the former (engineering, infrastructure, technology) and overlook the latter
  • Social resilience:
    • Sense of agency and power to act
    • Trusting relationships
    • Strong, broad networks
    • Spirit of cooperation, unity and mutuality across divides – issue of social cohesion
    • Opportunities to develop capacities for civic engagement and leadership
  • Inclusive leadership key to effective outcomes – rather than the leader as head of chain of command, visible leaders need to be co-creators
  • Inclusive leadership not just moral good – also most effective way to address complex issues, problems, challenges
  • Leads to better impact, innovation, and creativity
  • We need everybody and we need to move fast
  • Sara Culotta on health and wellness – climate wise buildings support health
    • Better air quality - address mold, reduce and filter indoor pollution
    • Optimal temperature in winter and summer, day and night
    • Daylighting for better mental health
    • Better sleep, less illness, higher function, lower stress
    • Safety and resilience in emergencies
  • Important research underway on links between health, environment, and energy.
  • Do drafty homes contribute to Asthma? Colorado study says Yes by factor of 2x to 4x in urban homes
  • Vermont studying impact of weatherization on asthma, bronchitis, and emphysema
  • Tompkins County Community Health Assessment, 2013-2017
    • Number of children living in poverty in Tompkins County, about 1-in-6 (16%) families with children under age 5 have incomes below the poverty level.
    • For single-mother family households with related children under age 18, the poverty rate is 37.0% for Tompkins County, 48.1% for City of Ithaca
    • Single-mother families with children only under age 5 live in poverty at rates of 57.5% for Tompkins County and 100% for City of Ithaca and Town of Groton
    • Strong connection between mental health and climate change:
    • 30% of County middle and high schoolers feel sad or depressed most days
    • Among the more traditional chronic disease indicators cancers and asthma stand out in Tompkins County
  • On economic development (also Sara): Why will economic developers, local-first movements, workforce developers, chambers of commerce and business/financial professionals want to engage?
    • Impacts are broader than customer utility cost savings as millions of dollars will be invested locally
    • Local living wage jobs can be created at various education/skill levels and fields
    • Less imported energy; perhaps export of energy
    • Economic value of improved health and the social cost of carbon
  •  Imagine:
    • “Low income” homes in Ithaca with zero or low energy costs due to Net Zero Energy retrofits
    • Renters become owners
    • Social impact bonds fund rapid scaling with no padding for financial profits
  • Richmond, CA (population 110,000) has implemented model program – Abandoned Homes Social Impact Bond – to address these goals
    • Converting dilapidated abandoned buildings to net zero energy homes
    • Training local contractors and tradespeople in NZE design & construction
    • Supporting low income renters to become homeowners
    • $3 million raised and invested
    • New homeowners enjoy higher quality of life and build equity
  • Ithaca’s Buildings Ecosystem
    • Building occupants, owners, managers
    • Government (City, Towns, County, State)
    • NYSEG (Energy Smart Community)
    • Local banks - AFCU, CFCU, Tompkins Trust
    • NY Green Bank
    • TCAD and Chamber of Commerce
    • Colleges and K-12 Schools
    • Social Sector: TCCPI, INHS, TCAction, Human Services Coalition,
    • Cornell Cooperative Extension, Foundations, Cayuga Health System
    • Technologists, Architects, Engineers
    • Construction companies, suppliers, tradespeople
    • Activists
    • Students
  • What are the dynamic flows?
    • Motivation, Commitment, Awareness, Knowledge, Creativity
    • Money, Technology, Materials, Construction
    • Behavior, Transactional processes, Programs, Policy, Regulation
  • Discussion Questions:
    • Take turns: What’s your connection/interest; How does this theme matter to you?
    • How do you see this sector/theme tying in to our local Green New Deal?
    • Who do you know that should be part of the conversation?
    • How could you or your organization start making the GND come to life tomorrow?
  • Small Groups:
  • Equity
    • Equity necessary for success – need to cross boundaries of class, race, geography
    • Opportunity to correct past mistakes and to put inclusion at center – opportunity for better world
    • How does equity fit into Green New Deal? Needs to be central to effort
    • Affordable housing, need to not waste humans, education are key issues
    • Green jobs should translate into living wage jobs
    • Need to think creatively about job training – structures already in place not working
    • Typically, professionals design workforce readiness programs – should bring young people in to help design
    • Can accomplish a lot if we start with what people want, what matters to them
    • Sustainability by and for whom?
  • Health
    • How do you support mitigation efforts?
      • Electrification reduces emissions of homes
      • If homes are “closed up,” they may need to have better ventilation
      • Going to have more cooling days, more illness, ticks
      • Need cooling resources for low income households
      • Emergency preparedness – potentially more floods
    • Hope that mitigation efforts can simultaneously deal with mold efforts as we have a generally wet environment
    • Education needs to be part of efforts
    • How do we ensure that these aspects are addressed in mitigation efforts?
      • New Standards?
      • Financial support?
    • Priorities for health should be considered in evaluating buildings that need to be renovated and deserve support
    • Need to establish a baseline of air quality -- a way to measure improvement
    • Who needs to be here:
      • Energy Navigators
      • City Code Enforcement
      • Cayuga Medical Center
      • Building owners & landlords (association)
      • Cornell University Sustainable Design Students
      • STAP (Southern Tier Aid Program)
  • Economic Development
    • Tom Knipes: developing city economic development strategy and sees Green New Deal as piece of this
    • Sirietta Simoncini: faculty in Systems Engineering at Cornell
    • Al George: head of Systems Engineering - always been interested in this kind of subject.
    • Jon Jensen: Park Foundation - funds TCCPI and similar efforts like Green Building Policy project
    • Brian Eden: HeatSmart Tompkins, among other hats – helped City get Climate Smart Community grant – working on heat pump ready homes, have funding to do that – workforce training program.
    • Karim Beers: Get Your Greenback Tompkins - huge potential for economic development – lots of dollars leaving community in fossil fuel spending (e.g. gas and heat) – energy efficiency and conservation could have huge impact
    • Darby Kiley - TC energy planner – working on next plan for county energy strategy regarding county operations and work with municipalities.
    • Susan Riley: Office of Community Relations at Cornell – as city resident, interested in vital and equitable city – we need to be innovative in how all we make everyone's lives more comfortable -- role in community relations: bring City and Cornell together to sharing brainpower and access to research
    • Roland Scott: excited about idea of economic pie growing, not getting smaller.
    • Andrea Aguirre: county planner – Business Energy Advisers program -
    • Irene Weiser: coordinator of Fossil Free Tompkins and Caroline Town Board member– involved in energy issues – interested in CCA and possible municipal utility – troubled by focus on plan just for city, as opposed to county or regional plan – sees economic development as potential to address equity if done right
    • Mark Witmer: Town of Caroline supervisor – carrying out energy work in Caroline (solar, heat pumps, etc.) – as supervisor, looking for opportunities to move community forward
    • Need workforce training, financing, funding, etc.
    • Need to bring in contractors and labor to contribute to the ideas
    • Bring in young people in high school, transition to college, thinking about the type of jobs that will be needed
    • Do we have analysis of housing, state of home, need, and whether worth rehabbing?
    • Good to prioritize actions, in terms of impact vis-a-vis climate, equity, health, etc.
    • Need to bring people in from all municipalities to discuss Green New Deal
    • Important to find ways to work with large economic driver (Cornell) to support economic development
  • Sharing with Whole Group:
  • Health
    • Public health and wellness touches everyone – connected with both migration and adaptation
    • Essential to improve resilience
  • Equity
    • Need to make equity central to Green New Deal – affordable housing, energy efficiency, for example
    • Need to address issue of waste – waste of people, in particular
    • Current job training systems inadequate – need complete rethinking
    • Need to start with what people want to do and build on that
  • Economic Development
    • Need to prioritize economic development opportunities
    • Building capacity essential, especially in area of jobs
    • How do we connect with rural areas?
    • Not a zero sum game – we can increase size of pie

April 2019

The Tier Energy Network – Michael Straight

Mike is a co-founder of the Tier Energy Network (TEN),an industry-led collaboration of business, nonprofits, government, and higher education leaders supporting the development of a Southern Tier advanced clean energy industry cluster and energy strategy for the region.

  • TEN founded in 2014 as part of SUNY-BEST
  • Energy agnostic, nonpolitical organization dedicated to support advanced energy solutions and develop advanced energy industry cluster in Southern Tier
  • Goal: make advanced energy a core regional strength and reduce greenhouse gas emissions
  • Seeks to improve energy efficiency, establish microgrids, support best practices for business and entrepreneurial development
  • An industry-led collaboration, executive leadership group, all volunteer
  • Rick Mancini and Tom Kowalik key leaders in organization
  • Industry cluster: geographic concentration of similar and interconnected business that help drive innovation and productivity and build sustainable competitive advantage
  • Collaborating with SUNY-Broome and Binghamton University on workforce development
  • Key priorities include workforce development and economic development aimed at clean energy that will reduce greenhouse gas emissions
  • Internet of Things and energy storage are among the technologies under development
  • 118 individual participants and 73 organizations
  • Multiple, interconnected sectors represented:
    • Industrial/commercial
    • Utility
    • Nonprofit
    • Education
    • Government
    • Financial
    • Municipal
  • Manufacturing in Southern Tier has a $2 billion payroll
  • Membership benefits:
    • Share information about energy developments in regulated and competitive markets
    • Share best practices to attract development, reduce energy cost profile and improve sustainability
    • Improve awareness of emerging business opportunities and to develop partnerships
    • Focus on workforce development
    • Position our region as a clean energy hub
    • Become better connected to other energy organizations
  • Activities over last four years include:
    • Organized 40 meetings – guest speakers, networking, emerging projects and business development opportunities, collaboration discussions
    • Arranged trade visit by Flanders government representatives
    • Introduced an Australian firm to the Southern Tier and its energy businesses
    • Coached 76 West competitors
    • Created inventory of energy projects, regional companies, subject matter experts
    • Provided technical and market analysis support
    • Assisted Broome County with approval of Commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) program
    • Worked with Binghamton University and SUNY-BEST to bring energy speakers to the public
    • Assisted with energy workforce development initiatives – SUNY-Broome, Binghamton University, 76 West, Southern Tier Clean Energy Incubator, BOCES
    • Worked with county Environmental Management Councils
    • Shared information about utility programs and incentives
    • Assisted IoT project with purpose to collect and monitor building energy use data
  • Plans for the future include:
    • Support advanced energy start up companies
    • Secure funding to support and grow TEN
    • Assist other industry clusters
    • Develop TEN website drawing national and international attention to the Southern Tier
    • Explore new ideas to help business growth in the Southern Tier
    • Work on energy workforce development issues
    • Develop an Advanced Energy annual conference to bring national and international experts to the region
  • Very aware of the high degree of poverty in Southern Tier, especially with female-headed households – 40-50% are below poverty line

 

Topics for Upcoming Meetings – Discussion

Peter shared the current tentative schedule for the remaining meetings for 2019 and reviewed the detailed feedback from the group about suggested priorities and themes for this year.

  • Given this feedback, how would we like to organize the topics for upcoming meetings?
  • Conversation very quickly focused on green building policy issues
  • TCCPI needs to find way to promote student-academic engagement with the local colleges regarding research of green building policies
  • Need to communicate benefits as well as requirements
  • Look at different pathways to effective implementation of green building policies
    • Small vs. medium vs. large towns
  • In particular, need to communicate the benefits of a green building policy to the city and county boards that control permitting
  • Sara Culotta, Nick Goldsmith, and Peter agreed to get together and discuss ways to organize discussion for next meeting on potential policies for already existing buildings
  • Terry Carroll should also be invited to present on Climate Smart Communities program

 

Federal Carbon Dividend Act and NYS Climate and Community Protection Act – Discussion

 In the previous two meetings, we’ve heard presentations on the Federal Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act and the NYS Climate and Community Protection Act. The group reviewed these two legislative proposals and discussed possible next steps.

  • Concern was expressed about the limited impact of the federal legislation and that a more sweeping approach as embodied in the Green New Deal was needed
  • Similarly, there were reservations about vagueness of language in the Climate and Community Protection Act – an alternative bill, the Off Fossil Fuels Act, has more specific language that closes potential loopholes in CCPA
  • OFF calls for more detailed climate plans with short-term benchmarks, to be reviewed and updated no more than every two years
  • One of strengths of the CCPA is its language regarding environmental justice and a “just transition” but OFF provisions on these issues are stronger
  • Enforcement provisions in CCPA are weaker and it lacks detailed plans and benchmarks for achieving necessary carbon reductions and renewable energy development

March 2019

Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act – Nancy Jacobson

Nancy Jacobson, a biology professor at Ithaca College and member of the local chapter of the Citizens Climate Lobby, presented on the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act, a newly introduced federal bill with bi-partisan support. This carbon fee and dividend policy reduces fossil fuel use and spurs conservation and alternative energy development.

  • According to recent IPCC Report, we have 12 years to cut global emissions in half – report calls for carbon price as part of solution
  • EICDA establishes carbon price – not a silver bullet
  • We also need:
    • Local solutions like stricter building codes and more mass transit
    • Better adaptation measures, especially for vulnerable communities
    • Means of transition for workers in fossil-fuel industries
    • Negative emissions, removing CO2 from the air and storing it
  • How EICDA works;
    • Carbon fee – places fee on coal, oil, and gas – starts low and grows over time
      • Starts at $15/ton CO2 and rises $10/ton each year – if emissions reduction targets aren’t met, it rises to $15/ton each year
      • Fee on fossil fuels will, of course, get passed on to consumer
      • Return of 100% of net revenue to households as dividend, minus administrative costs
    • Carbon dividend -- net revenue collected from the carbon fee is allocated in equal shares every month to all adults (1/2 share to children under 19)
      • Dividend would be taxed as income but would not count towards food stamps, etc.
      • Eventually dividend peaks as fewer fossil fuels are used and then it goes away when fossil fuel consumption reduced by 90%
    • Border carbon adjustment -- imported goods will pay border carbon adjustment and goods exported from US will receive refund
    • Limited regulatory adjustment -- prevents additional regulations on CO2 emissions as long as emission targets met
      • Regulations based on other pollutants, methane leakage, auto mileage standards, water quality, and more won’t be affected
    • Agricultural and military fuel exemptions
      • Most farmers can’t pass increased prices on to consumer
      • For military factors other than price affect how much they use
    • Rebate for carbon capture and stroager – instead of caron diozied going into air, it’s buried
  • What results can we expect?
    • Policy will reduce US emissions by 40% in 12 years
    • It’s simple so can be up and running quickly
    • Policy will improve health and save lives by reducing air pollution produced by burning fossil fuels
    • Carbon dividend puts money into people’s pockets every month, helping low and middle income people
      • Even though low income household have smaller carbon footprint, they will receive same dividend as higher income household that have larger carbon footprint – thus dividend is progressive – addresses issue of social justice
    • Policy will generate hundreds of thousands of additional jobs over next 10 years as lower income household spend additional income generated by dividend
  • Bipartisan nature of legislation helps increase probability that it will be passed
  • Also fact that people will be receiving check each month helps to ensure that dividend will stay in place until carbon emissions largely eliminated
  • Not clear, however, what impact would be on creation of green jobs
  • EICDA is HR 763 – currently only one Republican co-sponsor – other Republican co-sponsors didn’t run in 2018 midterm elections
  • Who has endorsed EICDA? See https://energyinnovationact.org/supporters/
  • Organizations, businesses, etc. can endorse at https://energyinnovationact.org/endorse/
  • Moving forward in Congress:
    • Re-introduce in 116th Congress
    • Companion legislation in Senate
    • Move through committees and floor vote
    • Conference agreement between House & Senate
    • Signed into law
  • Senate and House bills have only minor differences so reconciliation should not be that difficult
  • Local chapter of CCL meets monthly – second Sunday of each month at Ithaca Town Hall
    • Pot luck dinner at 6:30 pm and then meeting from 7 to 9 pm

 

Ithaca 2030 District Update – Peter Bardaglio

Peter shared an update on the work of the Ithaca 2030 District, a project of TCCPI and part of a North American network of 22 such districts dedicated to improving the energy and water performance of commercial buildings.

  • Ithaca 2030 District a project of Tompkins County Climate Protection Initiative (TCCPI)
  • Part of a larger effort in Tompkins County to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions 80% by 2050
  • Target approved by the County Legislature in 2008, the year when TCCPI launched
  • Ithaca 2030 District builds on TCCPI model – provides non-competitive, collaborative environment built on trust and mutual respect
  • Building owners, community organizations, and professionals come together to share best ways to enhance energy and water performance of commercial and mixed use buildings – collect, benchmark, and analyze data to track progress
  • Why a 2030 District?
    • Common targets and metrics
    • Information sharing platform and educational programs
    • Enhance overall value and reputation of downtown Ithaca
    • Reduce energy costs and greenhouse gas emissions
  • Key Characteristics of 2030 Districts:
    • Private sector led, public sector supported
    • Property managers, owners, developers
    • Local government and public agencies
    • Business and community stakeholders
    • Voluntary collaboration
    • Common mission and goals
    • Based in market realities
    • Building the business case for sustainability
  • 22 established districts and 467 million sq. ft. committed in the 2030 Districts Network – nine since Ithaca 2030 District launched in June 2017
  • Current property owners in the Ithaca 2030 District
    • Alternatives Federal Credit Union
    • Argos Inn
    • Cascadilla Oasis, LLC
    • City Hall
    • Cornell Cooperative Extension-TC
    • HOLT Architects
    • Ithaca Bakery
    • Press Bay Alley
    • Printing Press
    • Purity Ice Cream
    • Space@GreenStar
    • Taitem Engineering
    • TC Chamber of Commerce
    • Tompkins County
    • Travis Hyde Properties (Gateway)
  • Financial support provided by Park Foundation and NYSERDA’s Cleaner, Greener Communities Program
  • Pro-bono professional hours provided by:
    • Cornell Cooperative Extension – Tompkins County
    • HOLT Architects
    • Taitem Engineering
  • Advisory board members:
    • Andrea Aguirre, TC Planning Dept.
    • Andrew Gil, HOLT Architects
    • Nick Goldsmith, City of Ithaca
    • Conrad Metcalfe, NYS-BPCA
    • Guillermo Metz, CCETC
    • Jan Rhodes Norman, Local First Ithaca
    • Frost Travis, Travis Hyde Properties
    • Lou Vogel, Taitem Engineering
  • 2017-18 Progress:
    • Launched website at www.2030districts.org/ithaca
    • Developed small commercial toolkit and financing guide
    • Issued detailed market analysis report, district strategy plan, and public outreach strategy
    • Collected monthly utility data for property owners and uploaded it to Portfolio Manager to determine EnergyStar scores
    • Held regular quarterly meetings for District Partners and published quarterly e-newsletter
    • Implemented energy and water dashboard to track monthly consumption
    • Established real-time energy monitor pilot demonstration involving four District buildings
    • Created energy, water, and transportation baselines for the 2030 District
    • Carried out transportation survey to help track carbon emissions
    • Issued first set of building performance reports
  • Affordable real-time energy monitoring uses Grafana, an open-source data visualization package
    • Gives users attractive and useful visualization of their data
    • Great support for mobile access to data
    • No programming required
  • Next steps:
    • Putting finishing touches on energy efficiency services report
    • Working on second set of building performance reports and second annual transportation survey
    • Portfolio Manager trainings
    • Building performance reports
    • Energy Efficiency Services Plans
  • Contracting service packages
  • Help building owners achieve targets
    • Begin Phase II Recruitment
  • 15 more property owners by June 2020

February 2019

The Green New Deal(s) – Guillermo Metz

Guillermo is the energy team head at Cornell Cooperative Extension of Tompkins County. He provided an overview of the various federal and state proposals for climate action and clean energy, including the federal and state proposals for a Green New Deal and the NYS Climate and Community Protection Act.

I. 2019 Democrats' (Federal) Green New Deal
  • Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Senator Ed Markey, along with dozens of co-sponsors
  • Seeks to address both social inequity and climate change – declares that "human activity is the dominant cause of observed climate change over the past century"
  • Does not contain policy details or advocate for specific ways of reducing greenhouse gas emissions – aims to make the US carbon-neutral (net zero carbon emissions) in 10 years
  • Calls for:
    • guaranteed job with fair pay, family and medical leave, paid vacations and retirement security
    • universal high-quality healthcare
    • free higher education
    • access to affordable, safe and adequate housing
    • stronger labor, workplace health and safety, anti-discrimination, and wage and hour standards
    • clean-up of hazardous waste sites
    • access to clean water and air, health and affordable food, and nature
  • As early as 2007, NY Times journalist Thomas Friedman was using term “Green New Dea”l to describe major transition he thought necessary to transform the electricity grid “from dirty coal or oil to clean coal and renewables”
  • Van Jones famously called for something similar in his book The Green Collar Economy (2008) – also in 2007 founded Green For All, which “works to build an inclusive green economy strong enough to lift people out of poverty”
  • Advocate for the Green Jobs Act, which first codified the term “green jobs” – signed by George W. Bush in 2007 – Jones then became advisor to President Obama
  • Green New Deal Group published a report in 2008 – UN Environment Programme took up call later that year, releasing the “Global Green New Deal” initiative aimed at creating jobs in “green” industries
  • Green Party of U.S. adopted Green New Deal as official part of the party’s platform, including major platform of Jill Stein, who ran for President under the Green Party in 2012 and 2016, and Howie Hawkins, who ran for governor of NY in 2010, 2014, 2018 (and VP with Stein in 2016)
  • Good summary at jill2016.com/greennewdeal
  • Some similarities, like “100% clean energy by 2030,” but also major differences such as “cut military spending by at least half”
  • House Select Committee on Green New Deal formed in late 2018, with plans to release something in early 2019, and draft legislation for implementation within 90 days
II. 2019 Gov. Cuomo's Green New Deal
  • New York’s Green New Deal (Cuomo proposal) includes:
    • 100% clean power by 2040 – most aggressive goal of any state in country
    • quadrupling New York’s offshore wind commitment to 9,000 megawatts by 2035
    • doubling distributed solar deployment to 6,000 megawatts by 2025
    • delivering climate justice to underserved communities
    • expanding Bottle Bill (5¢ deposit on bottles) to include most nonalcoholic drink
    • banning plastic bags
  • Sets legislative targets for use of renewable energy (50 percent of energy statewide by 2030) and carbon elimination (100 percent fossil fuel free by 2050)
  • Directs any transition project getting state funding to pay a prevailing wage and directs 40 percent of whatever state investment goes towards climate mitigation efforts to go to low-income communities and communities most threatened by climate change
  • In 2018 State of the State address, Cuomo announced plans to set targets for energy efficiency and energy storage, both of which have now been approved by the DPS to require utilities to come up with plans for how they’re going to contribute
  • NYSEG (and others) currently working on those proposals – not likely to go into effect until late 2019 or 2020
III. Climate and Community Protection Act
  • NYS proposed legislation -- has passed state Assembly past 3 years (2019 version in Senate: S2992; in Assembly: A3876)
  • State Senate is now Democratic-controlled so chances of passage greatly improved
  • Currently in Senate Environmental Conservation Committee – then to Senate and Assembly
  • Key passage: "It shall ... be a goal of the state of New York to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from all anthropogenic sources 100% over 1990 levels by the year 2050, with an incremental target of at least a 50 percent reduction in climate pollution by the year 2030, in line with USGCRP and IPCC projections of what is necessary to avoid the most severe impacts of climate change"
  • Requires Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) to establish:
    • greenhouse gas reporting requirements;
    • statewide greenhouse gas emissions limits;
    • a scoping plan, developed in consultation with the Council, Environmental Justice Advisory Group, Disadvantaged Communities Working Group and other stakeholders, outlining DEC's recommendations for attaining statewide greenhouse gas emissions limits;
    • regulations to achieve statewide greenhouse gas emissions reductions;
    • a report, not less than every four years, including recommendations regarding the implementation of greenhouse gas reduction measures;
    • a report on barriers to, and opportunities for, community ownership of services and commodities in disadvantaged communities, including distributed renewable energy generation; energy efficiency and weatherization investments; and, zero emission and low-emission transportation options; and,
    • take actions to promote adaptation and resilience
  • Establishes the New York State Climate Action Council, consisting of 25 members, including state agencies and individuals with expertise in environmental issues, environmental justice, labor, and regulated industries
  • Also establishes Climate Change Working Group consisting of representatives from environmental justice communities, DEC, and Departments of Health and Labor
  • "Climate change especially heightens the vulnerability of disadvantaged communities, which bear environmental and socioeconomic burdens as well as legacies of racial and ethnic discrimination.
  • "Actions undertaken by New York state to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions should prioritize the safety and health of disadvantaged communities, control potential regressive impacts of future climate change mitigation and adaptation policies on these communities, and prioritize the allocation of public investments in these areas."
IV. Naomi Klein, "The Battle Lines Have Been Drawn on the Green New Deal", The Intercept, 2/13/19
  • "Critical to remember that none of it would have happened without massive pressure from social movements. FDR rolled out the New Deal in the midst of a historic wave of labor unrest: There was the Teamsters’ rebellion and Minneapolis general strike in 1934, the 83-day shutdown of the West Coast by longshore workers that same year, and the Flint sit-down autoworkers strikes in 1936 and 1937”
  • "During this same period, mass movements, responding to the suffering of the Great Depression, demanded sweeping social programs, such as Social Security and unemployment insurance, while socialists argued that abandoned factories should be handed over to their workers and turned into cooperatives.”
  • "Upton Sinclair, the muckraking author of “The Jungle,” ran for governor of California in 1934 on a platform arguing that the key to ending poverty was full state funding of workers’ cooperatives. He received nearly 900,000 votes, but having been viciously attacked by the right and undercut by the Democratic establishment, he fell just short of winning the governor’s office.”
  • "Now that the resolution is out there, however, the onus is on all of us who support it to help make the case for how our overlapping crises are indeed inextricably linked—and can only be overcome with a holistic vision for social and economic transformation."
V. Discussion
  • Holistic vision for social and economic transformation required
  • Student movement, including Sunrise Movement, acquiring significant momentum
  • Student climate strike called for on March 15
  • Ic has established Sunrise movement chapter – will be reaching out to students at Cornell and TC3
  • Federal Green Deal doesn’t rule out carbon sroage
  • Off Fossil Fuels Act another option at state level – calls for stronger role for farmers – soil carbon storage and sustainable agriculture

 

Energy Navigators – Karim Beers

Karim, the coordinator of Get Your GreenBack Tompkins, updated the group on the Energy Navigators program, an effort to inform community members about ways they can reduce their energy use and use renewable forms of energy to heat and power their homes.

  • How do we reach beyond usual suspects when getting word out about energy conservation and renewables?
  • Energy Navigators program provides training for volunteers to go out into community to meet with residents
  • Offers 10 weeks of sessions – weekly for two hours each – grounded in existing programs and incentives
  • Focuses on lower income households
  • Started with about 15 volunteers – about 10-13 make it all way through training
  • Monthly gatherings to provide support for volunteers as well as quarterly reports
  • Goal is to work with 10 households – mostly one-on-one
  • In third year of training – NYSEG has provided grant so that some of volunteers who are low income are receiving stipend of $20/hour
  • Last year reached over 1300 people – spoke to 276 about NYSEG programs and are actively supporting 155 people with steps
  • Will be folding current members into new ones for this year – expect about half of them to continue
  • NYSEG will continue to support Energy Navigators this year – received national award in part for their work with GYGB on Energy Navigators program
  • NYSERDA has also expressed interest in program
  • Next training starts on April 10 – volunteer applications due by March 13

January 2019

COP24 and the Talonoa Dialogue – Allison Chatrchyan and Students

Allison is the director of the Cornell Institute for Climate Smart Solutions and Senior Research Associate in the Departments of Development Sociology and Earth & Atmospheric Sciences. She and several Cornell students attended COP24 in Poland last month. They shared their experiences at the climate conference and updated us on the Talonoa Dialogue.

  • COP meetings take place every year as part of the global negotiating process to address climate change
  • Cornell is an Official UN Observer party to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)
  • Acts as an observer at these meetings and holds side events each year
  • Paris Agreement is a legally binding treaty with complex mix of mandatory and voluntary provisions
  • 184 out of 197 parties to the convention have ratified the Paris Agreement
  • Very small U.S. delegation at COP 24 but U.S. still a participant in the Paris Agreement
  • Cornell’s participation at the COP meetings allows it to raise visibility of its research projects
  • Engaged Cornell provided funding for three-credit course this year on Climate Change Science and Policy
  • Group projects involved Armenia and Tonga as well as various NGOs – TCCPI provided local connection
  • 23 Cornell faculty, staff, and students attended COP 24, which took place December 2-14
  • Week 1: 10 delegates
    • Cornell exhibit
    • Press conferences
    • Side events
    • We Are Still In panel discussion on higher ed
    • Perspectives on agricultural policy and sustainability
  • Week 2: 13 delegates
    • Cornell exhibit
    • Press conferences and meetings with delegates
    • We Are Still In Pavilion: Scaling Ambition through Sustainable Agriculture – Allison
    • GACSA Climate Smart Agriculture Workshop: Johannes Lehmann
  • Brought Talonoa Dialogue report from Tompkins County to COP 24 – 30 attendants at press conference to present report
  • Very few other local communities submitted report – mostly national and international stakeholders
  • COP 24 was Allison’s fourth experience at COP – felt for first time she got handle on it
  • Maeve Anderson: Course really prepared us for COP 24 – wrote speech for GACSA
  • Julie Kapuvari: Discouraging to see lack of U.S. participation at federal level, but We Are Still In had a high profile
  • S. side event focused on promoting fossil fuels – Al Gore speech more inspiring
  • Zeyu Hu: China took leading role at COP 24 in absence of U.S. leadership – source of hope for future
  • Allison participated as member of Armenia delegation
  • Ideas for collaboration with TCCPI:
    • COP 25: November 11-22, 2019 in Chile
    • Engaged Cornell Curriculum Grant Proposal: Local to Global
    • Hope to teach course again – students involved in TCCPI in Fall 2019
    • Public forum after COPs with TCCPI: Are We Still In?

 

TCCPI Priorities & Goals for 2019 – All

We broke out into five small groups and shared thoughts about what participants would like to see TCCPI focus on in 2019 as far as priorities and goals are concerned.

 

Group #1

  • How do we promote environmental democracy?
  • Need to better understand Green New Deal and ways we can support it
  • Increase our understanding of Project Drawdown
  • What about nuclear power and subsidies supporting the industry?
  • How do we advocate for a reduction of defense spending so more funding can be devoted to climate action?
  • Need to pay more attention to sustainable agriculture and carbon storage in soil

 

Group #2

  • How do we encourage student climate action at the high school level?
  • How do the state goals for climate and greenhouse gas emissions impact our community?
  • How do we achieve the necessary climate goals even as we address the issue of affordable housing?
  • How has climate and clean energy work resonated with communities outside of Tompkins County?
  • More meetings like this one involving small group discussions would be valuable

 

Group #3

  • Support the conversion of the Green Building Policy Report into a new code for the City and Town of Ithaca – invite Nick Goldsmith to provide updates on the progress of this effort
  • Make sure local governments are aware of the new SEQR requirements for greenhouse gas emissions that went into effect on January 1
  • Provide input into the County’s development of a new energy strategy
  • Continue to grow the membership of the Ithaca 2030 District
  • Promote utility-scale solar and storage as a replacement for repowering Cayuga Power Plant
  • Develop ways to increase student involvement in TCCPI

 

Group #4

  • It would be great to have more collaboration with students and the colleges, both with us hearing about the work students are doing and learning from it, and having students work with us on projects. We could also consider working with middle and high school students, though that requires more supervision.
  • We value the presentations at monthly meetings. They are a way to let us know what’s going on in our community and with other organizations, and we would not get this information were it not for the monthly meetings. We would like to see presentations from a broad range of people continue, and maybe broaden it even more.
  • It would be good to engage more with the City of Ithaca, in many different ways, to help increase elected officials’ and city staff’s awareness and knowledge about climate change, energy, and sustainability. We thought we could engage with other local communities as well, but that it would be best to start with the City. One suggestion is to more actively invite officials to our meetings, and if many of them can come to one of our regular meetings, plan a special agenda to help welcome them.
  • Focus on existing buildings and how TCCPI can help move efforts forward on energy efficiency, etc.
  • An idea for a project: each TCCPI member would agree to reduce their carbon footprint, and we would be accountable to each other. We could come up with metrics to track our progress, and report out to the group. We would encourage and motivate each other. Having done this exercise might give us more credibility when talking with others, and we would certainly learn from the experience and hopefully have compelling stories to share that could motivate others.
  • We could run an energy fitness campaign, maybe as a contest, to encourage local communities.

 

Group #5

  • Need to promote more inclusivity and diversity – how do we expand the scope of participation?
  • Get more businesses and municipalities on board with climate commitments
  • Develop a local climate change database, building on the Talonoa Dialogue report
  • Need to do more thinking about adaptation, not just mitigation

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

Meeting Highlights: 2019