to the Tompkins County Climate Protection Initiative

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

Tompkins County is not the only area of upstate New York that is paying attention to and taking action on climate change. Take a look at what our regional counterparts are doing to meet the challenge of climate change. It is this sort of community-driven initiative and leadership that we need across the country in the absence of federal action.


Albany, NY In 2005, the mayor signed the  U.S. Conference of Mayor’s Climate Protection Agreement. Albany became a member of ICLEI - Local Governments for Sustainability in 2007 and the NY State Department of Environmental Conservation's Climate Smart Communities Program in 2009. The mayor signed a comprehensive executive order that same year in order to formally establish a comprehensive sustainability agenda for the state capital.  Albany then completed its greenhouse gas inventory and established a Mayor’s Office of Energy and Sustainability as well as an associated Sustainability Working Group. In July 2011, the City released Albany 2030, a community development road map that makes sustainability a core component of its vision and planning. The comprehensive plan includes a climate action plan as well as a climate change vulnerability assessment and adaptation plan. Other recent achievements include:
  • The City of Albany was awarded a certification as part of the state Climate Smart Communities Program in April 2014. The program is designed to help municipalities meet the economic, social, and environmental challenges posed by climate change.
  • In June 2014, Albany was awarded a 3-STAR Community rating for national leadership in sustainability. The City became the 11th in the country to receive recognition from STAR Communities, which evaluates both livability and sustainability in US communities.
  • The Albany Energy Plan was issued in January 2015 as a part of the Five Cities Energy Plans program. It is a strategic plan to reduce the City’s energy use and greenhouse gas emissions, while ensuring cost effectiveness, reliability, and resilience.
  • In June 2015, the Sustainability Advisory Committee released its first annual report, summarizing their recommendations for improving sustainability initiatives in the city.
  • In December 2015, Mayor Kathy Sheehan joined the Compact of Mayors. This is a global alliance of mayors and city officials pledging to reduce local greenhouse gas emissions, strengthen resilience to climate change, and publicly track their progress.



Binghamton became a signatory to the Mayors’ Climate Protection Agreement in 2007 and joined ICLEI in 2009. The city completed its first greenhouse gas inventory in 2006 and began to develop a climate action plan to reduce GHG emissions. In December 2011 the City of Binghamton issued its Energy and Climate Action Plan. The goal was to inspire responsible resource use, energy consumption, waste management, and development of renewable energy technology in the City. Binghamton University, a signatory of the American College and University Presidents' Climate Commitment (ACUPCC), has drafted its own climate action plan Other climate-related efforts include the following:
  • An installation of a 49.68 kW solar PV system was completed in March 2011. It was for the City’s Water Treatment Plant, the first onsite renewable energy system on a City building.
  • The City of Binghamton’s Commission on Sustainable Development and Smart Growth released a progress report in August 2012. It outlined how their approach sustainable development has advanced since the original report in 2009.
  • In July 2016 the Binghamton Regional Sustainability Coalition and its partners announced at least six new community and shared solar projects over the next two years. They will serve more than 100 low- and moderate-income customers in southern New York.



Rochester is also a signatory to the Mayors’ Climate Protection Agreement and a member of Climate Smart Communities, ICLEI, the NY Smart Communities Program, and the Climate Registry. The city has established an Office of Energy and Sustainability (OES), which seeks to make Rochester "a model for innovative, ecologically sustainable operations, policies and practices, and connect the City with regional and national sustainability resources." As administrator of the City’s Energy and Sustainability program, the OES provides oversight of a wide range of projects that seek to reduce energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions. Among the green initiatives that have been under way for several years are the addition of alternative fuel vehicles to the city's fleet and reduction of the city government's overall energy consumption with HVAC upgrades, efficient lighting systems, and the like. In the city plans to complete its Community Climate Action Plan by the end of 2016. It will establish a set of goals, strategies, and policies to reduce the City’s emissions and move toward a more sustainable community. Other notable accomplishments include:
  • In 2011 Rochester Institute of Technology adopted a Climate Action Plan, with a goal of reaching carbon neutrality by 2030.
  • In January 2015, the Rochester Energy Plan was issued as a part of the Five Cities Energy Plans program. The goal was to develop strategic frameworks to reduce energy consumption citywide.
  • Mayor Lovely Warren committed to the Compact of Mayors in November 2015, which demonstrates local government leadership in reducing greenhouse gas emissions.


Syracuse, like Albany, Binghamton, and Rochester, is a member of ICLEI and a signatory to the Mayors' Climate Protection Agreement. Syracuse was the first city in New York to join the Climate Registry and is a member of the NY Climate Smart Communities Program, along with Albany and Rochester. The city achieved its original goal of reducing energy use 20 percent by 2006, and in 2007 Syracuse became one of the first cities in New York to adopt green building standards for all new construction and major renovations of city-owned municipal buildings. Syracuse has has taken many positive steps towards sustainability and in 2012 it released the Syracuse Sustainability Plan as part of the City of Syracuse Comprehensive Plan 2040. The plan seeks to guide the City government in ways that preserved the local environment, reduced energy costs, and improved quality of life for residents. The Syracuse Energy Plan was published in January 2015, as a part of the Five Cities Energy Plans. It represents the effort to find efficiencies in energy usage, as well as opportunities to reduce their environmental footprint. Syracuse University, having signed the ACUPCC, has released its climate action plan, as has SUNY-ESF. Recent accomplishments at the two campuses include:
  • In 2013, Syracuse University installed solar thermal panels on 20 apartment buildings to provide domestic hot water.
  • In April 2016, Syracuse University was recognized as the 2015-2016 Green Power Challenge Champion. Their green power use of 41 million kWh is equivalent to the energy use of 3800 homes annually.
  • In 2014 the new Gateway Center at SUNY-ESF earned a LEED Platinum rating from the U.S. Green Building Council, making it one of the greenest buildings in the U.S.
  • SUNY-ESF's 250-kilowatt carbonate fuel cell produces energy to help power the campus and provide research opportunities into methods for commercializing clean energy.

Climate Protection Efforts in Other Upstate Communities