QUEENSBURY — Town officials are tiptoeing into the We Are Still In effort, signing a state climate change pledge but emphasizing it was just a declaration of intent.
“This obligates us to nothing,” Supervisor John Strough said after reading out loud the New York State Climate Smart Communities Pledge.
The Town Board agreed in the pledge that climate stabilization will require “sustained and substantial efforts.”
In addition, the board agreed to a list of 10 actions to slow climate change, which include decreasing energy use and shifting to renewable energy. Other, more vague actions on the list include supporting a “green innovation” economy and implementing “climate smart land use.”
Strough voted in favor of the pledge, as did the rest of the board. Board member Catherine Atherden was absent but had championed the project.
Just before the board’s vote Monday, however, Strough said he’s not going to take any action just because it’s on the list.
“It gets us on our way ... to things we can afford to do,” he said.
He’s hoping the town will score better on grant applications because the board signed the pledge.
He is cautious about committing to expensive actions. The town has already hit much of the low-hanging fruit: solar panels and LED lighting, which save the town money in the long run. Other actions may cost the town money but save the environment.
“If everybody did their little part, we’d get there,” Strough said.
The board also agreed Monday to apply for a grant for car charging stations, but Strough again warned that the board wasn’t promising to buy the chargers.
“This doesn’t obligate us to do anything but apply for the money for them,” he said. “It doesn’t say where you need to put them or anything else.”
If the town gets the grant, he said, the board will discuss whether to actually do it. The grant would pay for the charging stations, but the town would likely pay for installation and maintenance.
The town could get 10 stations, each of which can charge two cars at once.
In addition to the climate pledge, the Town Board recently joined We Are Still In, a national organization of municipalities, businesses and other agencies that is trying to meet the country’s share of the effort to reduce greenhouse gases. The group organized after President Donald Trump pulled the United States out of the Paris Agreement on climate change in 2017. So far, 2,760 groups have joined We Are Still In, including 10 states, 282 municipalities and 2,162 businesses and investors.