Gulf Cost Disaster Should Be a Wake-up Call
by Albert Baldeo
Jun 22, 2010 | 7538 views | 0 0 comments | 272 272 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The present disaster on the Gulf Coast is a wake up call for us to address the environmental problems that cry out for solutions right here in the Empire State. It underscores the need for urgent and comprehensive action on climate change and energy reform, and the state Legislature must act on important climate change legislation now.

One is the the Global Warming Pollution Control Act, which will reduce greenhouse gas emissions 80 percent by the year 2050, and push major growth in the renewable energy sector. Our climate is warming due to increasing levels of greenhouse gasses like carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide, in the atmosphere. The rising levels are caused in significant part by out industrial activities.

This law will establish greenhouse gas limits and a greenhouse gas reporting system, thereby addressing the critical issue of climate change by directing the Department of Environmental Conservation to establish a greenhouse gas emissions limit from all sources in New York State. Private investment will spur the development and growth of green industries throughout the state, resulting in much-needed jobs and additional revenue sources.

Another piece of legislation is the Solar Industry Development and Jobs Act, which calls for the installation of 5,000 megawatts of solar energy systems in New York by 2025. This will generate $22 billion in economic activity and create 22,000 good-paying, long-term jobs, allowing New York to reach its full potential in solar energy.

And lastly, the New York State Energy Code will improve energy efficiency in new homes by 20 percent and save homeowners on their energy bills. New York residents have the ninth highest energy expenditures nationwide - nearly $2,410 per housing unit.

Legislation to update the state's energy conservation construction code would not only lower energy costs for New Yorkers, but also help to create a cleaner environment.This important piece of legislation will decrease New Yorkers' high energy costs by requiring greater energy performance in new homes.

The passage of these laws will reduce energy costs, spur job growth, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and go a long way towards protecting our environment.

Albert Baldeo is president of the United Communities Alliance.

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