May 3, 2011

By 2050, Town of Ithaca Hopes to Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions by 80 Percent

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Joining the City of Ithaca and Tompkins County, the Town of Ithaca will aim to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent by 2050, town officials announced Thursday.

Although no specific measures have been finalized, the Town of Ithaca has begun drafting a  “Climate Action Plan” similar to plans already adopted by Tompkins County, Cornell, Ithaca College and the City of Ithaca, said Katie Stoner, sustainability planner for the Town of Ithaca.

The plan, which is expected to be released by the end of the summer, will outline how the town will meet its targets and reduce its greenhouse gas emissions.

“We’re doing the research and calculations, trying to figure out what is going to be more cost effective, what is going to help us achieve our goals. At the same time, we’ve been trying to implement projects wherever we can,” Stoner said.

For example, the lightbulbs in the town hall were switched to more efficient ones last week, Stoner said. The change is projected to save the Town of Ithaca $2,000 and nine tons of carbon per year.

Over the past several months, town officials have led investigations to determine which of its sectors are least sustainable, according to Stoner. She added that improving the town’s water treatment mechanism has been identified as one means of saving energy.

The three neighboring municipalities will collaborate to achieve their shared visions and make the area more environmentally sustainable, representatives from the town, city and county said at a press conference announcing the decision Thursday.

“This alignment of goals represents a unique opportunity for the three local governments to coordinate their efforts in order to maximize success and spur innovation to achieve deep reductions in greenhouse gases, save tax payer dollars and build community resilience,” Stoner said.

Stoner said the three municipalities have not yet announced exactly how they will be collaborating together, but that plans are currently being discussed.

Claire Moser ’11, an urban and regional studies major, helped plan the press conference, held by town officials Thursday, to announce the plan. The conference included input from students from Cornell, Ithaca College and local high schools.

“The kids are really invested in the efforts that the governments are making and were able to ask the officials questions and see that their voices were actually being heard,” Moser said. “This conference provided a very needed step to initiate conversation between the different levels of government.”

Original Author: Jesella Zambrano