New Yorkers are Working on Many Fronts
To help minimize risks from climate change, New York State has set two goals:
For several years, this giant sign
reminded passers-by in New York City
of the relentless worldwide accumulation of
greenhouse gases from everyday living.
- Reduce emissions of heat-trapping greenhouse gases by 80 percent from 1990 levels, by the year 2050 ("80 by 50"), and
- Improve resilience to climate change in all the state's communities.
As we work toward these goals, new economic opportunities will open and our dependence on out-of-state energy sources will diminish. This page links to information about planning, programs and actions that reduce the risk of harm from climate change and increase the benefits of the emerging low-carbon economy.
A Changing Climate Will Cost All New Yorkers
Already in New York:
- Winter snow cover is decreasing and spring comes (on average) a week or so earlier than it did a few decades ago.
- Even when the weather is cold, nighttime temperatures are measurably warmer.
- Sea levels are rising, increasing the risk of flooding.
- Summers have more super-hot days.
- Diseases typical of warmer climates are appearing.
- Intense precipitation events are occurring more often.
Scientists and economists say that as the earth gets warmer, undesirable climate change effects will significantly outweigh apparent benefits, both in economic cost and in damage to our way of life.
Deciding to Combat Climate Change
Today, New York faces energy and climate choices that can reduce the climate risk to future generations -- with new and powerful opportunities for economic development and diversification.
- Emission reduction choices: Limiting greenhouse gas emissions from businesses, institutions, homes, transportation, waste disposal and electric power generation can help to stabilize atmospheric greenhouse gases and avoid severe climatic changes. A burgeoning "green" economy can meet the demand for energy-efficient products and employ thousands in weatherizing buildings and other jobs that cannot be offshored.
- Climate change adaptation choices: Protecting against unavoidable climatic changes over the longer term may require alterations to the built and natural environments. Positioning our communities, institutions and businesses for stability in the face of significant climate change will initiate local jobs and economic activity, helping to buffer the state's economy against high costs from a changing climate.
The New York State Climate Action Plan Interim Report identifies possible ways for state government and key economic sectors to keep greenhouse gases out of the atmosphere, help communities and businesses adapt as the climate changes and promote a thriving green economy.
Other important state programs working to identify the right climate decisions for New York are linked from the left hand side of this page; for a list of key programs of DEC and other state agencies, check out the link titled Energy/Climate Solutions.
Climate Smart Communities
Climate Smart Communities, a state-local partnership to combat climate change, emphasizes emission reduction and adaptation to support community goals, save taxpayer dollars and help make our communities vibrant, desirable places to live and work.
- Over 120 New York communities have already pledged to become Climate Smart (the current list of Climate Smart Communities is linked on the right). This website showcases methods and examples of local emission reductions, greenhouse gas capture and climate adaptation as they happen in New York.
- Becoming a Climate Smart Community marks a city, village, town or county as a good place to invest for the future -- especially for renewable energy, energy efficiency, weatherization and other "green" businesses and jobs.
New Yorkers and Climate Change
Whether you are a government official, a farmer, a business person, householder, teacher or student -- you can help keep heat-trapping greenhouse gases out of the atmosphere, and you can play a role in preparing for climatic changes that we will not be able to avoid.
- Inform yourself about the impacts of climate change on your community
- Conserve energy and increase energy efficiency in your home and workplace, and
- Support programs and policies that reduce greenhouse gas emissions and adapt for unavoidable climate change.
More about Climate Change:
- Climate Change in New York - Information on climate change impacts in New York and the northeastern US.
- Climate Action Planning - New York State Climate Action Plan process and Interim Report
- Why the Climate is Changing - New York bases its climate policies on scientific studies and on interpretations of this data that analyze the local consequences of ever-rising greenhouse gas concentrations and our changing climate.
- Energy/Climate Solutions - New York State programs and policies related to climate change.
- Climate Smart Communities - Guide for cities, towns, villages and counties that want to combat climate change and boost a green economy.
- Climate Change Information Resources - Places to look for further information on climate change
- Sea Level Rise - Assessed impacts to the state's coastlines from rising seas and developed recommendations for protective and adaptive measures. The Task Force delivered its final report to the Legislature on December 31, 2010.
- Climate Change and Health - This page provides offsite links to other state and federal agencies that address the effect of climate change on public health.
- The Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative - The Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, or RGGI, is a cooperative effort by Northeastern and Mid-Atlantic states to reduce carbon dioxide emissions
- Student Information on Climate Change - An annotated listing of climate change information and activities geared for students.