The next step in Monroe County’s Climate Action Plan is an opportunity for the community to get involved.
The CAP, builds on the county’s current operations and targets the reduction of greenhouse gasses, among other goals, is in its second phase. The plan was launched last year.
Next week, residents and stakeholders will have the opportunity to learn more through virtual and in-person workshops at the R. Thomas Flynn Campus Center at Monroe Community College’s Brighton campus.
“I encourage our residents to get involved in this critical process that will shape the future of our community by addressing and reducing greenhouse gas emissions,” says County Executive Adam Bello. “Our county has made progress to reduce its carbon footprint and create a more sustainable community. We must continue to work together with the community to make a cleaner and healthier Monroe County for generations to come.”
The county Legislature approved an initial $1 million to fund the implementation of the CAP. The effort is led by the Department of Environmental Services under the guidance of the CAP Advisory Committee. Phase I was completed in September 2022.
With help from consultant Bergmann, greenhouse gas emissions from county-run sites, facilities and operations were measured. The team then identified reduction goals, benchmarked against other communities and the state’s Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act, and recommended actions to cut the GHG emissions from county operations by 80 percent by 2050, officials say.
The second phase will study communitywide greenhouse gas emissions, including residential, commercial, industrial, municipal and all other energy-dependent activities. Phase II’s focus areas are transportation, buildings and housing, energy use and consumption, partnerships, education and economy, and waste and recycling.
County officials say this phase aims to:
■ develop a comprehensive countywide GHG inventory and baseline;
■ identify GHG reduction goals;
■ identify community partners;
■ conduct a comprehensive review of best management practices and case studies; Identify and analyze strategies, actions and priorities;
■ create actionable strategies; and
■ identify future climate action policies
On July 26, community members will learn about input from public outreach events and initial findings of the greenhouse gasses inventory. Residents will be able to engage with experts in the phase II focus areas. Attendees can register here.
“I’m proud to serve as the co-chair of the Climate Action Plan Committee and to work with my colleagues to help create a brighter and greener future for the next generations of Monroe County residents,” says county Legislator Michael Yudelson. “Ensuring the public is fully involved in the work of local government and this committee’s work is of utmost importance. These public sessions will provide engagement opportunities to reach as many residents as we can.”
Ultimately, Monroe County hopes to develop a comprehensive roadmap to decrease the region’s contribution to climate change. The plan toward a more sustainable future has five phases. Phase 3 will examine best practices and case studies, Phase 4 will identify and analyze strategies and actions, and the final phase will prioritize strategies and actions.
Several hundreds of local governments have created CAPs in the last few decades. Some experts question the rigor and ambition of these plans. For Monroe County, there’s even more at stake. It is one of the areas in the country seen as a climate refuge, drawing people fleeing extreme weather conditions.
Smriti Jacob is Rochester Beacon managing editor. The Beacon welcomes comments and letters from readers who adhere to our comment policy including use of their full, real name. Submissions to the Letters page should be sent to [email protected].