climate change

CCE Ulster addresses climate change in our local communities.

Climate Change

“When we think about threats to the environment, we tend to picture cars and smokestacks, not dinner. But the truth is, our need for food poses one of the biggest dangers to the planet.”

  • 1/3 of GHG come from the food system.
  • 80% of GHG emissions from the food system come from agriculture.

-Jonathon Foley, current Executive Director of Project Drawdown.

NY's climate is changing faster than national and global averages.

climate changeThe projections include air temperature, precipitation, heatwave, sea-level rise, and flood projections from now through the year 2100, in the Hudson River region. The report delineates climate projections by region. These projections cover the two Hudson Valley regions: Region 2 (west of the Hudson River) and Region 5 (east of the Hudson River and the Mohawk River region). Region 2 covers Delaware, Greene, Orange, Schoharie, Sullivan, Rockland, and Ulster counties, and Region 5 covers Albany, Columbia, Dutchess, Fulton, Herkimer, Madison, Montgomery, Oneida, Putnam, Rensselaer, Saratoga, Schenectady, Washington, and Westchester counties.

The federally-designated “100-year” or 1% floodplain is the area that statistically has a 1% chance of flooding each year, based on historical data. Compounded over a 30-year period, this storm has over a 25% or one in four chance of happening, so using the term “100-year” storm is misleading and gives a false sense of security.

Take action on climate

Get involved with your local government to help your community take climate-smart actions (see Technical Assistance section below). Don't know where to start? See if your community has a group working on environmental and sustainability projects, like a Conservation Advisory Commission, or call your municipality's main line to ask where to look. You can also download our Climate Summary for Communities to learn about the major climate hazards, risks, and opportunities Hudson Valley municipalities face.

Five actions you can take to adapt to climate change:

As an individual:

  • Plant trees and add shade structures to your yard, particularly over roofs and pavement
  • Explore a mapper to see if your property may be affected by flooding and sea-level rise
  • If you live in a floodplain, have an emergency plan and raise utilities and critical systems to a higher floor in your home
  • Use rain barrels to capture rainwater for watering your garden and lawn
  • Install a battery or generator backup system so you can keep critical appliances running during a storm

As a community:

  • Require better building standards that consider flooding and future sea-level rise in the floodplain
  • Plant trees and add other shade structures in public spaces for cooling
  • Use green infrastructure to manage stormwater in developed areas
  • Implement a water conservation and reuse program
  • Right-size culverts and bridges to enable aquatic species migration and allow adequate flow during flooding events

Five actions you can take to mitigate climate change:

As an individual:

  • Replace your incandescent light bulbs with LEDs
  • Turn your thermostat down 3 degrees in winter
  • Eat less meat and buy local vegetables (or grow your own!)
  • Reduce personal vehicle use with bicycling, walking, carpooling, and public transit, buy an electric vehicle with the help of federal and NYS incentives
  • Take fewer trips using air travel

As a community:

  • Conserve natural areas through zoning or other regulations
  • Incentivize the use of bicycling, walking, carpooling, public transit, and electric vehicles for transportation
  • Upgrade municipal lighting, electricity, HVAC, and water systems to new, more efficient technologies
  • Enable community-wide recycling, composting, and e-waste collection opportunities
  • Adopt green parking lot standards

Contact

Melinda Herzog
Healthy Communities Issue Leader
mmh62@cornell.edu
845-340-3990 ext. 342

Last updated January 29, 2021