Governor Paterson Details Process for Developing New York State Climate Action Plan

ALBANY, NY (01/21/2010)(readMedia)-- Governor David A. Paterson today outlined his initiative to develop an extensive plan that will dramatically reduce greenhouse gas pollution while also building New York's clean energy economy. The multi-faceted effort is driven by Executive Order No. 24, which the Governor issued last August and sets a goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions in New York State by 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050.

"As the world's 15th largest economy, our State has the responsibility to take a leadership role in reducing carbon pollution," Governor Paterson said. "We have answered that challenge by setting some of the most ambitious clean energy and environmental goals in the United States, and will be working with all stakeholders over the next 12 months to develop a roadmap for achieving those goals. Attaining dramatic reductions in greenhouse gas pollution will require action on the part of every New Yorker. But these changes are essential for providing future generations with a strong, healthy, and prosperous New York."

Under the Governor's initiative, New York will develop a new Climate Action Plan over the course of the next year that will assess how all economic sectors can reduce pollution and adapt to climate change in ways that support economic growth. The Climate Action Council (CAC), headed by top New York State energy and environmental officials will conduct an extensive review with contributions from the public, industry, state and global energy and environmental experts and others. They will issue a draft plan in September.

President and CEO of the New York Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) Francis J. Murray said: "Governor Paterson has challenged the State to take the lead in developing a plan that responds to the clear environmental and economic threats caused by our dependence on fossil fuels with concrete actions to reduce our energy use while building our economy. We are firmly committed to working with every sector of the economy to ensure that the plan sent to the Governor recognizes the challenges each sector of our State will face in drastically reducing energy use and enhancing our ability to compete in the global economy."

Commissioner of the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Pete Grannis said: "From the outset, Governor Paterson has aggressively created opportunities for New York State to demonstrate leadership on the defining environmental issue of our time: climate change. Reducing greenhouse gas pollution and building a clean energy economy are key to this fight. In addition, the Climate Action Plan will focus on ensuring that New York is able to adapt to the changes in climate that will occur even if we take aggressive action."

Over the course of this year, the CAC will meet with expert advisory panels and focus on the full spectrum of energy use and economic activity including:

• Power supply and delivery;

• Residential, commercial and industrial;

• Agriculture, forestry and waste;

• Transportation and land use; and

• Adaptation, such as responses to potential climate-related threats to various sectors.

More than 100 individuals representing private sector companies, utilities, government officials, non-profit organizations, academia, advocacy groups, and others will participate in the advisory panels. Director of State Operations Valerie Grey is the CAC Chair. The staff work of the CAC will be led by NYSERDA and DEC.

Earlier this month, a planning session was held at the New York Academy of Sciences to begin the process of developing a vision of how New York's energy system should evolve by 2050. At this meeting, nationally renowned experts provided insight on strategies to reduce greenhouse gas pollution, meet the State's energy needs, and create economic opportunities for "green-tech" jobs in New York. In addition to the Academy of Sciences, the session was co-sponsored by Brookhaven National Laboratory, NYSERDA and DEC and included an array of State and local officials, and private and non-profit leaders who will provide input to the process over the coming months.

Associate Director for Policy and Strategic Planning at Brookhaven National Laboratory J. Patrick Looney said: "At the workshop, we explored strategies for meeting the state's energy needs and managing greenhouse gas emissions, driving technological change, and creating green-tech opportunities – all while meeting the Governor's 80 by 50 challenge. It was clear that conventional thinking will not be enough to meet that challenge. We will need bold and innovative thinking, technologies, and partnerships if we are to succeed. Brookhaven Lab looks forward to contributing to the development of the State's climate action plan."

Vice President for Innovation and Sustainability at the New York Academy of Sciences Karin Pavese said: "The Envisioning of a Low-Carbon Clean Energy Economy in New York workshop was an integral step toward meeting Governor Paterson's transformative goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions in New York State by 80 percent from 1990 levels by 2050. Engaging the private, academic, and public sector experts is critical to meeting that ambitious target. We applaud the Governor, NYSERDA and DEC for their strong leadership and big thinking."

In addition to the advisory panel participation, there will be significant opportunities for public input to the Climate Action Plan. The first public outreach meeting on this process will be held Monday, January 25, at 7:00 PM, at the New York State Museum in Albany. At that time, the public will be able to review current information and provide input on the process. There will be a second public outreach meeting on June 30.


Background on Governor Paterson's Climate Change Agenda

New York already has taken significant action to address climate change, with aggressive goals, regulatory mechanisms, incentives for energy efficiency, and initiatives to foster innovation.

Long-Range Planning

Governor Paterson has set some of the most ambitious carbon reduction goals in the United States. By doing so, he has set into motion changes in the economy, business practices, and energy efficiency that will benefit New York for decades to come.

• 45 by 15: Governor Paterson has set a goal to meet 45 percent of the State's electricity demand through efficiency and renewable energy by 2015 – 15 percent reduction in energy use through efficiency, and 30 percent of energy supply through renewable electric generation. More than $750 million per year in public funding is currently allocated to the State's clean energy programs.

• 80 by 50 Target: With Executive Order No. 24, Governor Paterson set a goal to reduce greenhouse gas pollution in New York State by 80 percent below the levels emitted in 1990 by the year 2050. The Climate Action Council he created will prepare a draft Climate Action Plan by September 30, 2010, that will assess how each sector of the economy can reduce greenhouse gas pollution and how these actions support New York's goals for a clean energy economy.

• 10-Year State Energy Plan: In December, Governor Paterson accepted the State Energy Plan to make energy more affordable for New Yorkers in a carbon-constrained economy. The plan will ensure that New York continues to lead the nation in advancing clean energy and will keep more of our energy dollars in-State. The Plan is built around producing, delivering and using energy more efficiently; supporting the development of in-State energy supplies; investing in energy and transportation infrastructure; stimulating innovation in energy technologies for the clean energy economy; and forging the necessary partnerships with other states and local governments to achieve common goals.

Regulatory Mechanisms

• Governor Paterson has worked with State leaders in New York and throughout the northeast to develop an aggressive, model approach to reducing carbon output.

• Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI): New York was instrumental in the creation and successful implementation of the country's first mandatory cap and trade program. RGGI establishes a cap on power sector carbon dioxide pollution and reduces it over time using an auction to distribution emission allowances. The auctions are generating hundreds of millions of dollars that will be reinvested in clean energy measures to help New York's families and businesses cut their energy use and their carbon footprint.

• Energy Codes: New York is updating its energy code to ensure new construction meets minimum efficiency standards. Several municipalities around the State are exceeding the code by adopting "Energy Star" standards.

Incentives to Improve Energy Efficiency and Increase Use of Renewable Energy

By supporting incentives and other initiatives, Governor Paterson has worked to encourage greater investments in renewable resources to help meet the ambitious energy reduction goals he has set for New York. For example, Governor Paterson's proposals will increase use of solar photovoltaic systems 7-fold within the next two years through expansion of the Renewable Portfolio Standard, revision to net metering laws and innovative use of power purchase agreements with the Long Island Power Authority and New York Power Authority.

Energy Efficiency, a cost effective tool to reduce energy consumption and greenhouse gases, has been significantly employed in New York. As a result of Governor Paterson's 45 by 15 energy goal over $750 million annually is being invested in energy efficiency programs for natural gas and electric customers.

Initiatives to Foster Innovation

New York has some of the greatest energy experts in the world. By creating structures to bring the knowledge and expertise together, Governor Paterson is laying the groundwork for energy breakthroughs for the future.

• Smart Grid Consortium: New York utilities, universities, industry and government are partnering to share information and experience in developing a Smart Grid for the State. The Public Service Commission pre-approved over $800 million in smart grid demonstration projects statewide that utilities have proposed for funding under ARRA. New York's utilities are the only ones in the nation to receive such pre-approval.

• New York Battery and Energy Storage Technology Consortium: In May 2009, Governor Paterson created the NY Best Consortium to foster collaboration among the State's universities and industry to increase the speed of innovation in energy storage technologies and seek to develop battery manufacturing facilities in NYS. That same month, GE announced that it would build a new battery manufacturing facility in Upstate New York.

• Clean Energy Incubators: New York has established four clean energy incubators across the State to help turn new inventions into viable business enterprises, with an additional two that will be announced in the coming weeks.

More information on New York's efforts to combat climate change can be found at:


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