September 13, 2017

SP Awarded $100,000 to Develop Climate Action Plan

By Donald Gilpin

With Florida still reeling from Hurricane Irma, and the effects of climate change dramatically apparent across the globe, Sustainable Princeton (SP) could not have chosen a more appropriate time to announce its $100,000 grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to develop a Climate Action Plan (CAP) for Princeton.

Sustainable Princeton, a nonprofit environmental organization, will partner with the town of Princeton to develop specific strategies, actions, and goals to lower the town’s greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) and prepare its infrastructure to withstand the increasing impacts of climate change.

“It’s a priority for the town to develop resiliency as we experience more frequent, intense storms and flooding events,” said Mayor Liz Lempert. “We also have a responsibility to do our part in reducing the emissions that contribute to climate change. I’m thrilled that Robert Wood Johnson has chosen Princeton to serve as a model for developing a Climate Action Plan.”

This is by far the largest project-specific grant SP has ever received, and it comes after a year in which the board and staff have revamped the organization’s vision, mission, and strategic plan.

The CAP will have immediate, practical implications for a number of key Princeton issues, including the Bike Master Plan, proposed solutions to downtown parking and circulation, the anticipated construction of more affordable housing, and the school district’s planned expansion referendum.

“Princeton is poised to become a leader in addressing climate change,” said SP Executive Director Molly Jones. “Our community demonstrates exceptional leadership in many areas, and we know what needs to be done, so it is time to utilize our strengths and take action to ensure the long-term health of our environment and ourselves. We must set an example and carve the way for progress. Sustainable Princeton is committed to seeing Princeton through this critical undertaking.”

Task force groups with members representing all sectors of the community will be formed to address specific areas of focus including transportation, the built environment, land use, community design, clean energy supply, water, and waste, according to SP, which reports that a CAP advisory committee will determine realistic, quantifiable goals for Princeton’s GHG emissions. Sustainable Jersey estimates that all municipalities in the state will need to reduce emissions by one percent annually in order for state reduction goals to be reached.

“The Climate Action Plan grant represents an amazing opportunity for our community to make a real and measurable impact on the environment,” said SP Board President Matt Wasserman. “We are grateful to the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation for giving Sustainable Princeton a chance to spearhead this initiative for the town, and we are eager to create a model that can be replicated by other towns across the country.”