The Southampton Town Board will be accepting public comment on its Climate Action Plan at a Dec. 12 public hearing at 1 p.m. at town hall. 

The plan, in the works since 2021, lays out a path for the town to follow to reach its ambitious goals of dramatically reducing the town’s carbon emissions, with the goal of the town being carbon neutral by the year 2040.

The plan, drafted by the Ramboll Group, a global engineering consulting firm, outlines the interplay of state and federal policies, sequestration of carbon and local initiatives that will be part of the puzzle of getting to carbon neutrality. 

The consultants believe nearly half of the reduction can come from local actions outlined in the plan.

A key focus is the decarbonization of buildings, responsible for 70 percent of emissions in the town as of 2019, the baseline year studied in the plan.

A major strategy in the movement to decarbonize buildings is to convert utilities in those buildings to new high efficiency electric heating and cooling sources like heat pumps, in addition to maximizing building insulation.

The electric grid on Long Island is being rapidly decarbonized as the state pushes for renewable sources of electricity, like solar and wind power. Southampton is also in the midst of organizing Community Choice Aggregation, a program that will opt residents in to purchasing their electricity from renewable sources (residents can also opt out of this).

The plan also calls for the town to work toward building bike paths and advocating for better rail and bus service, as well as well as encouraging large-scale composting, planting trees and continued stewardship of the town’s preserved lands. 

A full draft of the plan, along with a video of a March 2023 community engagement session, can be found online at southamptontownny.gov/1810/Climate-Action-Plan.

Beth Young
Beth Young is an award-winning local journalist who has been covering the East End since the 1990s. She began her career at the Sag Harbor Express and, after receiving her Masters from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, has reported for the Southampton Press, the East Hampton Press and the Times/Review Media Group. She founded the East End Beacon website in 2013, and a print edition in 2017. Beth was born and raised on the North Fork. In her spare time, she tinkers with bicycles, tries not to drown in the Peconic Bay and hopes to grow the perfect tomato. You can send her a message at editor@eastendbeacon.com

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