The Paterson Administration recently released the New York State Climate Action Plan, which offers a path to rebuild New York's economy and create tens of thousands of jobs by providing a blueprint for reducing greenhouse gas emissions 80 percent by 2050. By refocusing New York's manufacturing infrastructure to support clean energy policies, the State could reach both economic and environmental goals simultaneously. The Governor's plan details how New York can modernize and transform the State power supply, building codes and agriculture through utilizing clean energy and technology.
"The global race for the clean energy economy is on. We can buy solutions to our energy and environmental challenges from others. Or we can take the initiative and develop clean energy industries right here in New York State," Governor Paterson said. "We must make the investment in our future prosperity now by implementing the strategies and policies that will enable us to meet our aggressive clean energy and environmental goals. By reinventing our State's economy to lead in the global race toward energy independence, we can develop clean energy technologies right here in New York. Our present investments will ensure that the Empire State leads the way in utilizing clean, renewable energy as an engine for economic growth."
The Climate Action Plan recommends, among other actions:
Accelerating the development of zero- or low-carbon sources of power, reducing reliance on petroleum and upgrading the power grid to increase the use of renewable energy.
Enhancing construction codes, appliance standards and consumer incentives to ensure construction of the most energy efficient, environmentally-beneficial buildings.
Encouraging transportation efficiency by developing low-carbon fuel standards, promoting greater use of electric-based public transport, creating rebates/incentives to encourage the sale of efficient cars and light trucks and investing in freight and high-speed rail.
Promoting sustainable policies in agriculture, forestry and waste sectors, including decreasing the amount of waste generated, supporting the use of renewable forms of clean energy on farms and increasing the use of low-carbon biomass fuels.
Targeting research and development funds toward helping New York businesses develop low-carbon energy technologies while addressing State energy and infrastructure needs.
"Responding to climate change is an imperative for government. We must not allow ourselves to sit on the sidelines and get bogged down by contrived arguments from climate change doubters while other states and countries take the lead in developing a clean energy economy. The path ahead will require long-term dedication to make the public and private investments necessary to keep us moving in the right direction. But ignoring the need for action will be more costly in the long run," the Governor concluded.
In 2009, Governor Paterson directed the development of a State Climate Action Plan with his Executive Order No. 24. This Order set the goal of reducing the State's greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent (compared to 1990 levels) by 2050 and established a Climate Action Council to determine how to meet the goal. State agencies then launched a process that brought together more than 100 technical experts and the broader public to develop the plan including strategies for meeting the Governor's emission reduction and clean energy goals.
In 2011, the Climate Action Council will further refine these preliminary ideas, finalize cost information and economic potentials, analyze the macroeconomic impacts of the policies, and outline a strategy for implementation.
The interim report is open to public review and comment through February 7, 2011. The report and instructions for submitting comments can be found at: http://nyclimatechange.us/. The New York State Climate Action Plan Interim Report Fact Sheet can be found at: http://www.ny.gov/governor/more/ClimateActionPlanInterimReportFactSheet.pdf.