Energy and Climate
The Energy / Climate Change Connection
The way we produce and use energy is changing earth's climate in ways that will profoundly affect our way of life - and our children's future.
This section of the website explores energy, climate and the connections between them. It emphasizes New York State's and DEC's work to reduce emissions of climate-changing greenhouse gases and to help New Yorkers adapt as the climate changes. It also includes information on New York's energy resources, including oil, natural gas and renewable sources.
Fossil Fuel Use Creates Greenhouse Gases
Whenever we get energy from fossil fuel - to heat our homes, run our cars or manufacture a product -- we generate greenhouse gases. As the world's population grows in size and wealth, more fossil fuel is used, and more greenhouse gases are emitted. There are now higher levels of greenhouse gases in our atmosphere than ever before in human history. These gases trap heat on the earth, and the added warmth is changing the planet's climate.
Evidence of Climate Change in New York State
- Warmer temperatures, especially in winter
- Longer growing seasons and shorter periods of winter snow cover
- Higher sea levels
- An increase in high-precipitation weather events
- Climate-linked stresses on traditional species, such as sugar maple, that may threaten their survival
Energy Efficiency and Energy Conservation
The cheapest and cleanest energy is that which is not used. Using energy efficiently and conserving energy and materials, will reduce New York's energy use and greenhouse gas emissions. Energy-saving technologies are already in place and New Yorkers are becoming more energy-conscious in their behavior and buying habits - even to choosing products and services on the basis of lowest life cycle energy costs.
Energy efficiency means using less energy to do the same work. Examples: Heating system upgrades, compact fluorescent bulbs, hybrid cars.
Energy conservation means using less energy by changing the way we do things. Examples: Turning down your thermostat, taking public transportation, washing clothes in cold water, driving efficiently.
Green Living - Energy Saving Ideas and More
For ideas, tips and resources for making environmentally responsible choices that will help conserve energy, increase energy efficiency, promote clean energy and combat climate change and much more,see the Green Living link at right.
Green Buildings - DEC Sets an Example
DEC's Central Office is housed in a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Silver rated building in Albany. Regional offices are upgrading to increase energy efficiency. DEC encourages environmentally friendly construction, using Environmental Excellence Awards to recognize leaders whose innovative and environmentally sustainable practices or creative partnerships help to solve environmental challenges.
Oil and Gas
Production of oil and gas is a half-billion-dollar industry in New York State. To prevent environmental damage from well drilling and operation, DEC requires environmentally sound drilling practices, safe closure of exhausted wells, and financial guarantees to ensure that well owners and operators carry out their environmental responsibilities. The 'Oil and Gas' section of this website has information on:
- Regulatory requirements for all underground drilling
- Data on well drilling, productivity and closures
- New York State geology
- The status of New York's oil and gas industry
New York State has great potential to generate power from renewable sources. By obtaining energy from renewable sources rather than from fossil fuel, we can cut our dependence on foreign oil, and reduce air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions.
Here you will find information on renewable energy in New York, and on what DEC and other agencies in New York State are doing to develop and promote renewable energy and energy sources that emit little or no greenhouse gas.
New York State Energy Plan
The New York State Energy Planning Board released a draft of a comprehensive, statewide energy plan for public comment on August 10, 2009. Strategies and recommendations in the draft plan are intended to make energy more reliable, secure and affordable for New Yorkers, to address the threat of climate change, and to support New York's clean-energy economy. The board is now soliciting public input on the draft plan; the final New York State Energy Plan will be delivered in the fall. To read the draft plan and submit comments, please use the New York State Energy Plan link, located in the right column of this page.
More about Energy and Climate:
- Oil and Gas - Facts about oil, gas and solution salt wells in New York State, environmental regulations concerning oil and gas well drilling and information for landowners on leasing well rights.
- Sustainability Planning - Regional sustainability planning and the Governors Cleaner Greener Communities program
- Climate Change - How climate change is affecting New York, what state government is doing and what New Yorkers can do about greenhouse gas emissions and climate adaptation.
- Renewable Energy - Information about the potential for and development of alternative energy sources such as solar, wind, hydropower, tidal power and geothermal.