Climate Activists Applaud Assembly Support for 100% Clean Energy by 2030

Climate Activists Applaud Assembly Support for 100% Clean Energy by 2030

March 18, 2016

Climate change advocates are applauding the NYS Assembly’s support for 100% clean energy by 2030 in their recent budget resolution.

Groups are pushing for inclusion of funding in the state budget for a three year study by professors at Cornell University on the specific steps, timelines and benchmarks needed to have the state achieve 100% renewable energy.

The Assembly budget “reprograms the Executive proposal for a new climate change category by providing $25.5 million for a Climate Change Action Plan that would include funding for:

– Land acquisition and wetland protections as part of a flood mitigation and coastal resiliency program;
– Renewable energy;
– A zero emission vehicles incentive program; and
– Compliance with the goal of 100 percent renewable energy use by 2030.”

The 100% Renewables Now campaign has been told that after the Assembly Climate Change Task Force held a series of roundtables this summer and fall, its members decided to go further on climate than the Governor propose.

Nearly 20 state legislators are co-sponsoring a bill (A7497 / S5527) to amend the state energy plan to adopt the goal of going to 100% clean energy for all uses by 2030, including halting investments in fossil fuel infrastructure, including natural gas.

In thanking Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie for the climate action proposals in the budget resolution, Assemblymember William Colton, the lead sponsor of the 100% clean energy bill, wrote that “many of these components came out of the work of Environmental Conservation Committee Chair Steve Engelbright and from recommendations of the Assembly Climate Change Work Group. These monies, if accepted into the final budget, will greatly advance the critical goal of reaching 100% clean energy by 2030.”

Senator Brad Hoylman said: “As the Ranking Member of the Senate Environmental Conservation Committee and the Senate sponsor of the 100% Clean Energy by 2030 bill, I applaud the Assembly for putting forth a budget proposal that reflects the critical need to combat global climate change. I urge my colleagues in the Senate Majority to adopt the Assembly’s recommendations in the final enacted budget, and to finally recognize the consensus of the global and scientific communities that human-induced climate change is the largest existential threat of our lifetime.”

The recent COP 21 agreement in Paris agreed to lower the goal for capping global warming from 2 degrees centigrade to 1.5 degrees. The state’s existing goals of reducing carbon emissions by 80% by 2050 (compared to 1990 levels) or 40% by 2030 are based on the 2 degree goal. To achieve 1.5 degrees, the rate of carbon reductions would need to twice as fast as the prior goal, or about a 7 to 9% annual reduction. Unfortunately, NASA just released the “shocking” news that the average global temperature rise in February 2016 reached 1.5 degrees Celsius for the first time.

While prior studies such as one done in NYS several years ago by Stanford and Cornell Professors have shown that the goal of 100% clean energy by 2030 is technologically possible, others have added 20 years to the timeline to account for political and economic obstacles. Since Paris however, more scientists have pushed backed towards the 2030 goal saying that it is both technologically possible but more importantly, scientifically essential, to avoid catastrophic climate change. Even a federal agency (NOAA) released a report in January 2016 saying it was possible to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from power plants by 78% by 2030, at costs similar to today.

“We urge the Senate and the Governor to work with the Assembly to accelerate the transition to 100% clean renewable energy. It will create jobs, eliminate negative health impacts from air pollution, and reduce energy costs moving forward. The debate is not whether we can or should do such a transition, but how fast is possible. That is why we support Cornell doing a study to help answer that question,” said Mark Dunlea, coordinator of the 100% Renewables Now NY campaign. More than 85 community, faith, and labor groups have endorsed the campaign.