As Mike Anthony demonstrates in his recent letter [“Focus on Climate,” Letters, January 19], the Express News Group does our community a great service with its close and continuing attention to climate change, a phenomenon the importance of which cannot be overstated.
Also to be commended is the Town of Southampton, both for its attention to climate change and for the tangible measures it is taking to combat the threat.
Under the Democratic town administrations of recent years, a number of practical and effective programs have been launched, resulting in Southampton’s designation as a Climate Smart Community by New York State.
The overall goals of Southampton Democrats, under the Southampton Sustainability Plan, are to source 100 percent of communitywide electricity needs from renewable energy by 2025, and to have wholly carbon-neutral town facilities by 2040.
The Climate Action Plan expressing these goals has already seen dramatic steps taken. First, Southampton Town adopted the New York Stretch Energy Code, reducing energy consumption by 10 to 12 percent by requiring high efficiency for commercial and residential structures.
Second, 2,580 streetlights were converted to LED, saving $270,000 annually in reduced maintenance and energy costs, plus the obvious climate benefit.
Third, a solar array farm is being built in North Sea pursuant to the town’s ground-based solar code and enabled by its Community Choice Aggregation program; initial lease payments to the town will be $60,000 annually, increasing in later years.
Fourth, with funding from the New York Power Authority, Southampton is building a four-station electric vehicle charging unit in a town parking lot in Bridgehampton, plus two chargers already installed at Ponquogue Beach.
Fifth, enacted solar installation regulations for commercial buildings.
Sixth, over $5 million in various water quality project grants from the Community Preservation Fund will significantly reduce nitrogen’s warming effects, e.g., by 24 percent in Moniebogue Bay.
These are serious, big-time measures being undertaken by a Democratic Town government that is deadly serious about climate change because it is in fact a life-and-death matter.
Some say the threat of climate change is too far away to concern us now. John Maynard Keynes, the economist who was famously impatient with cant, once grew frustrated by a discourse that stressed effects “in the long run.” He observed that “in the long run, we are all dead.”
True, but we are not all dead at the same time. Our children and grandchildren will hopefully outlive us, and I for one want to leave them something besides whatever I may personally possess at my going.
What better than a clean and safe world?
Lynch is communications chair for the Southampton Town Democratic Party — Ed.
One fine body…