To the editor:

Increased flooding, extreme heat, and the introduction of exotic pests and diseases associated with climate change are increasingly challenging the residents of Columbia County, our farmers, and the vitality of our forests and watersheds. Temperatures locally have increased by 2°F since 1970 and are projected to increase by another 3°F by mid-century. This monumental challenge presents a rare opportunity for us to rethink how we heat and cool our homes, fuel our businesses, grow our food, reduce and recycle our waste, and restore ecological and economic balance in our world. Many of Columbia County’s towns and villages have been working hard to realize these changes over the past several years through the innovative New York Climate Smart and Clean Energy programs. Projects include energy efficiency upgrades that save money, community solar programs that reduce utility bills and green the grid, the addition of electric vehicle charging stations, and the expansion of composting, recycling, and community-based “repair cafes” where residents can fix, rather than discard, old consumer goods. Last year, the Columbia County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to adopt a countywide Climate Smart program to accelerate these initiatives. These efforts offer clear value at little or no cost to taxpayers. In my town of Ghent, Board member Mallory Mort has led the charge by working across party lines, just as other elected leaders throughout the County have pushed to prioritize sensible climate actions in their communities. Successfully countering climate change depends on bipartisan leadership from all of our elected officials.

David Newman

Ghent

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