As public concern about extreme weather events like Hurricane Sandy ramps up, New York is proving that we can win the fight against global warming. The statements that Senators Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand made at an all-night event on the floor of the Senate this week served as a clear sign that they understand the need for climate action.
Clean energy policies, such as the Zero Emission Vehicle program, are significantly cutting emissions of carbon pollution—the leading cause of global warming—according to a new report by Environment New York Research & Policy Center. The report, “Moving Forward America,” showed that New York’s Clean Cars Program reduced carbon pollution by at least 162 million metric tons in 2012. That is comparable to the annual emissions from 34 million cars.
By using energy efficiently and by generating more power from clean, renewable sources, we are delivering a one-two punch in the fight against global warming. But we’ve only just begun to do what it will take to protect our children and future generations from the worst impacts of climate change. We will need firm limits on carbon pollution in order to deliver a knockout blow.
The Environmental Protection Agency has proposed carbon limits on power plants that could build on our early success and give us a platform for an even bigger shift to clean energy. With enough willpower, New York can rise to any challenge. We’ve seen that climate solutions work—now it’s time for the next round. More of our leaders should follow Senators Schumer and Gillibrand by supporting the EPA’s plan to limit carbon pollution from power plants.
Heather Leibowitz, director of Environment New York
New York, NY