New Paltz, NY, Awarded ICLEI Milestone Award for Data-Driven Climate Action with First GHG Inventories

Town and Village of New Paltz, NY, receives the ICLEI Milestone Award on July 10, 2019, for creating local government and community-scale greenhouse gas inventories. Pictured, left to right:  Alexandria Wojcik, Dan Torres, KT Tobin, William Wheeler Murray, Neil Bettez (Town Supervisor), Tim Rogers (Village Mayor), Marty Irwin, Kale Roberts (ICLEI USA), and Michele Zipp.

New Paltz, NY – July 10, 2019 –  The Town and Village of New Paltz, New York, have completed their first community greenhouse gas inventories to quantify community-wide greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change. For their efforts, the Town and Village of New Paltz have each achieved Milestone 1 of the ICLEI framework and been awarded the ICLEI Milestone Award in recognition. This award indicates that the Town and Village have adopted best practices to align their community-scale GHG inventories with the U.S. Community Protocol for Greenhouse Gas Emissions Accounting.

Of the approximately 11,407 metric tons of CO2 equivalent (MT CO2e) created annually within the Village of New Paltz, about 8,776 or 77% is due to traffic emissions. Another 2,265 (20%) is due to residential energy use, with the final 3% coming from commercial energy use and municipal solid waste disposal.

Of the approximately 55,000 metric tons of CO2 equivalent (MT CO2e) created annually within the Town of New Paltz (outside the Village), about 49,000 or 89% is due to traffic emissions alone (not including the additional 53,000 contributed by the portion of I-87 that runs through Town borders).  A further fourteen percent of total emissions (7,500 MT CO2e) is due to residential energy use. The final two percent of emissions are due to solid waste disposal, methane from septic systems, and commercial electricity use.

By creating these community greenhouse gas inventories, the Town and Village of New Paltz advance their commitment to climate action as part of New York State Department of Conservation’s Climate Smart Communities program. The community GHG inventories were created with funding by The Climate Smart Community Grant Program, Title 15 of the Environmental Protection Fund through the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation.  The inventories also received student support from the Bard Center for Environmental Policy.  The complete report can be found on both the Town and Village of New Paltz websites.

“The Town of New Paltz’s community greenhouse gas inventory will serve as our road map to set data-driven GHG-reduction targets and prioritize our actions,” said Neil Bettez, Town of New Paltz Supervisor. “New Paltz is committed to advancing these goals, in order to prepare for the coming changes, and to ensure that our quality of life will be preserved for generations to come.” 

“New York State has just adopted the most aggressive emission reduction goal in the nation,” said Tim Rogers, Village of New Paltz Mayor. “The results of the Village of New Paltz’s community greenhouse gas inventory highlights the areas where the Village can focus efforts to do our part in supporting this goal.”  

“If you care about your children, your grandchildren, and their future, then you will work toward [achieving] this goal,” said Janelle Peotter, Coordinator for New Paltz Climate Smart “It’s imperative that we don’t have soft transitions way off in the future. Our species—and countless others on Earth—is dying,” and will continue to do so “if we don’t act quickly and robustly.”

NYS DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos said, “New Paltz sets a great example of climate leadership at the local level. By leveraging the Climate Smart Communities framework and grant program, the town and village were able to conduct a greenhouse gas inventory, an important baseline analysis in evaluating the reduction of emissions. With the recent passage of the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act, New York is setting nation-leading goals to address the threat of climate change and municipalities like New Paltz will help our state reach these critical goals.”

 “ICLEI is proud to recognize the Town and the Village of New Paltz with the ICLEI Milestone Awards for their pioneering efforts to one of the Hudson Valley region’s most comprehensive greenhouse gas inventories,” said Angie Fyfe, ICLEI USA Executive Director. “New Paltz is using data to prioritize action that will reduce the carbon emissions driving climate change. And by doing so, they’re also saving energy and money, strengthening their local economy, and creating a more livable community.”

ICLEI administers the Milestone Awards and is the leading network of local governments committed to climate action, clean energy, and sustainability, with more than 1,750 members worldwide. The Town and Village of New Paltz joins hundreds of U.S. cities, towns and counties have utilized the ICLEI Five Milestones for Emissions Management framework over three decades:

  • Milestone One: Conduct a greenhouse gas emissions inventory
  • Milestone Two: Establish an emissions reduction target
  • Milestone Three: Develop a climate action plan
  • Milestone Four: Implement the policies and measures
  • Milestone Five: Monitor and verify results

The next steps for New Paltz will be to establish emissions-reduction targets and develop a climate action plan. New Paltz and ICLEI are currently conducting a climate vulnerability assessment to support climate adaptation alongside mitigation. The vulnerability assessment project has been funded by The Climate Smart Community Grant Program, Title 15 of the Environmental Protection Fund through the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation.

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About Town and Village of New Paltz

The Town of New Paltz is in Ulster County located in the state of New York.  It is about 80 miles north of New York City and 70 miles south of Albany.  The Town is served by exit 18 on the New York State Thruway (I-87), as well as state routes 299, 32, and 208.  New Paltz was founded in 1678 by 12 Huguenot families who had purchased land from the local Esopus people.  In the area where the Huguenots settled, on the street now known as Huguenot Street, many of the buildings still stand today in a National Historic Landmark District.  The Town and Village population was 14,003 at the 2010 census.

In 1887, the Village of New Paltz was incorporated within the Town of New Paltz.  It is home to the State University of New York at New Paltz, founded in 1828.   The Village portion of the population was 6,818 at the 2010 census.

About ICLEI USA ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability is a global network of more than 1,750 local and regional governments committed to sustainable urban development. Active in 100+ countries, we influence sustainability policy and drive local action for low emission, nature-based, equitable, resilient and circular development. Our Members and team of experts work together through peer exchange, partnerships and capacity building to create systemic change for urban sustainability.

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