The Town Board in the Town of Ithaca unanimously adopted a resolution at its March 23rd meeting calling for a local Green New Deal, similar to that adopted by the City of Ithaca Common Council last year. The resolution established a goal of “achieving an equitable transition to carbon-neutrality town-wide by 2030.”
Furthermore, the Town Board adopted a goal to meet the electricity needs of Town government operations with 100% regionally-sourced renewable electricity by 2025 and to reduce emissions from the Town fleet of vehicles by 50% from the 2010 levels by 2025.
Calling for the development of a Green New Deal Action Plan to achieve these goals, the resolution also included a commitment to adopt a Green Building Policy for existing buildings, encourage the production and use of renewable energy, reduce energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions related to the treatment and distribution of water and waste water, and create a more climate-resilient community. In addition, the Town will issue an annual report tracking progress towards these goals.
As part of its commitment to an equitable transition, the Town said that it would “ensure that benefits and burdens of policies and programs” rolled out as part of the Green New Deal are “distributed fairly.”
The Town has taken several important steps in recent years to meet the challenges of climate change. It adopted the New York State Climate Smart Communities Pledge in 2009, created a shared sustainability planner position in 2010, carried out greenhouse gas emissions inventories, adopted a government energy action plan that sought to achieve a 30% reduction in emissions in government operations by 2020 and 80% in 2050.
Other actions have included purchasing renewable energy credits to offset greenhouse gas emissions from purchased electricity, installing an electric vehicle charging station at Town Hall, incorporating two EVs into the Town Fleet, working with four other municipalities to develop a residential energy score program to improve the energy efficiency of existing homes, adopting a green purchasing policy, and initiating a composting program, and being designated a Clean Energy Community and Climate Smart Community.
- Peter Bardaglio, March-April 2020 TCCPI Newsletter