Governments See Green in Video Conferencing
New York County Executives Rely on IVCi to Save Time and Tax Dollars While Reducing Government's Carbon Footprint
Left to right: Nassau County Executive, Tom Suozzi; TANDBERG Senior Account Manager, Michael F. Manginelli; and IVCi Regional Sales Director, Timothy Sullivan.
Video Conferencing technology plays a key role in assisting local governments across America create climate action blueprints intended to make sure that federal decision makers understand the essential role of local governments in reducing energy use and addressing climate change.
IVCi provided video conferencing technology and technical assistance for Nassau County Executive Tom Suozzi to collaborate live with Westchester County Executive Andrew Spano on December 9th 2008. The collaborative session was intended to demonstrate to the Obama administration that given support, local governments can and should be a critical partner in addressing climate change, achieving energy security and developing a green economy.
By using the video conferencing equipment provided by IVCi for their meeting, the County Executives were able to showcase one of the green technologies outlined in their climate action blueprint. Both gentlemen acknowledged the fact that although they were not able to have lunch together they felt good about reducing their County's carbon footprint at least for this meeting.
IVCi is currently deploying a video conferencing pilot program between a number of Nassau County offices. Please call 1-800-224-7083 for additional information.
The Nassau County Executive issued the following press release in conjunction with the project:
Nassau County Executive Thomas R. Suozzi and Westchester County Executive Andrew Spano were joined today via live video conference and called on President-elect Obama and the incoming Congress to invest in a two phased approach to stimulate local government climate action as a quick and effective way to create new green jobs, revitalize the economy and promote energy independence.
Across America, local governments are the laboratories for innovation. Local governments are the entities who have the on-the-ground ability to implement solutions because they set and enforce building codes, determine transportation and land use policies and provide critical education and incentives to businesses and homeowners to implement energy-saving measures.
In Phase I, the Local Government Climate Action Blueprint calls for economic stimulus legislation to include the following:
- $10 billion for the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant program
- $18 billion for public transit and green vehicles infrastructure
In Phase II, the Blueprint outlines targeted opportunities for the federal government to invest in local government innovation, including:
Enactment of a national greenhouse gas cap-and-trade program with a portion of the estimated $150 billion carbon trading revenues invested in local government climate action and green jobs initiatives
Investment in public transit, green vehicles and vehicle miles traveled (VMT) reduction through reauthorization of federal transportation legislation
$250 million for EPA Local Climate Demonstration Grants that empower local governments to continue creating new solutions to the climate challenge
"We were pleased that during his campaign, President-elect Obama indicated support for investment in energy saving projects to help create jobs and spur economic recovery," said Suozzi. "We want President-elect Obama and Congress to know that with federal assistance we are ready to put hundreds of Nassau County residents to work in jobs that will reduce our dependence on foreign oil and cut greenhouse gas emissions."
Local government actions have the potential to dramatically reduce energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions:
More than 40 percent of carbon emissions come from energy consumed in buildings - local governments are best suited to improve building codes, foster community-scale renewables, and create other programs to reduce energy used in buildings.
More than 30 percent of carbon emissions come from the transportation sector - only cities and counties can provide the leadership needed to improve transit and change land use and transportation planning to reduce vehicle miles traveled.
Increasingly, economists are promoting green jobs as key to the country's economic recovery and long-term growth. Suozzi described six projects that could be implemented in the next 18 months if federal funds are made available, including:
- $13 million for energy efficiency upgrades at three County Sewage Treatment Plants.
- $22 million for 400,000 square feet of solar panels.
- $10 million to replace existing traffic signal light bulbs with new energy efficient LED (light-emitting-diode) red, yellow, and green displays.
- $10 million for clean fuels vehicles and infrastructure including purchase of 50 compressed natural gas (CNG) heavy duty trucks and a CNG fueling station.
- $23.4 million for a bus rapid transit system to service the Nassau Hub - the geographic, economic, and cultural center of Nassau County.
- $6 million for to create two vibrant, walkable downtown destinations with pedestrian infrastructure and streetscape.
All together, the county estimates that these programs would create hundreds of jobs and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by tens of thousands of tons.
Suozzi and Spano and more than 350 other local elected officials nationwide joined with Climate Communities and ICLEI USA this week to endorse Empowering Local Government Climate Action: Blueprint for President-elect Obama and 111th Congress. "Climate Communities and ICLEI USA are organizing city and county leaders from across America to make sure that federal decision makers understand the essential role of local governments in reducing energy use and addressing climate change," said Roger Dickinson, Sacramento County Supervisor and Climate Communities Executive Committee member. "We look forward to working with President-elect Obama and Congress to ensure that federal policies empower local communities with the tools and resources we need to get the job done." Download the Blueprint at http://www.climatecommunities.us/endorseblueprint.html or http://www.icleiusa.org/blueprint.
"Supporting local government action should be a top priority as Washington develops new economic stimulus, climate and energy policies," said Suozzi. "Local governments have tremendous capacity to reduce greenhouse gas emissions though energy efficiency programs, transportation and land use policies and we are dramatically affected when our communities suffer untold human and economic loss from floods, hurricanes, and other climate events."
"Local governments have laid the foundation for this country's response to global warming, providing the leadership, solutions and innovation that city by county by town have helped curb greenhouse gas emissions and reduce energy use and costs," said Michelle Wyman, Executive Director of ICLEI USA.
Today's event was part of "Local Climate Action Week," when dozens of city and county officials are showcasing energy and climate innovations, sending the message to federal leaders that given support, local governments can and should be a critical partner in addressing climate change, achieving energy security and developing a green economy.
About Climate Communities: Climate Communities is a national coalition of cities and counties that is educating federal policymakers about the essential role of local governments in addressing climate change and promoting a strong local-federal partnership to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. For more information, see http://www.climatecommunities.us.
About ICLEI Local Governments for Sustainability: ICLEI USA provides expertise, technical support, and innovative tools to help local governments advance their emissions reductions and sustainability goals. More than 500 cities, towns and counties in the U.S. are members of ICLEI. For more information, see http://www.icleiusa.org.
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