New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman recently announced an exciting new program that aims to foster the development and creation of local response systems to climate change. The Community Climate Initiative is a $1.8 million program that will provide grants to local NY organizations that contribute in some way to promoting issues such as climate change initiatives, energy efficiency and renewable energy within their communities.

New York City Skyline

Interestingly, funding for the initiative comes from a 2007 court-ordered settlement with American Electric Power, which was found guilty of violating the federal Clean Air Act.

Related: Annual PlaNYC Report Shows NYC is Set to Exceed Climate Change Goals by 2030

The grants will be awarded to select organizations that develop local programs that encourage green initiatives to help address issues related to climate change. Specifically, the project looks to reward community-based efforts that aim to increase public awareness of climate change on a local level. The intiative also seeks to encourage new partnerships between residents and community leaders, municipal governments, environmental advocates, labor groups and local business owners in an effort to reduce air pollution and promote energy efficiency.

Attorney General Schneiderman explained the importance of local level movements to combating the effects of climate change. “The unprecedented risk posed by climate change demands a transformation not only in how we view this threat, but also in how we respond to it,” he said. This grant program recognizes that New York’s communities are on the front lines of climate change, so they must also be our first line of defense against it. With this funding, we hope to empower local organizations to develop innovative responses to climate change, tailored specifically to their communities.”

According to Schneiderman, the first Community Climate Initiative grants will be awarded in late 2015 after being carefully selected through a very competitive grant process run by a program administrator.

+ Attorney General Schneiderman

Lead Image (cc) ericskiff on Flickr