KINGS PARK, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — It’s being hailed as the nation’s most ambitious state response to climate change.
The New York Legislature has passed a sweeping bill that calls for the elimination of greenhouse gas emissions in the next 30 years, CBS2’s Carolyn Gusoff reported Thursday.
A solar farm opened in Kings Park on the site where a landfill stood, the kind of transformation we are about to see more of now that New York has passed landmark legislation.
“The goal of the legislation that was passed is really simply this: to create a clean New York. It is very doable,” said Paul Napoli, VP of Power Markets for PSEG Long Island.
Doable, apparently, by the middle of the century.
The “Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act” requires New York to incrementally slash greenhouse gasses.
Web Extra: News Conference On NY Climate Bill:
“It will be a state that by 2050 will be a carbon zero state. That means it will not be adding carbon to our Earth’s atmosphere,” said Sen. Todd Kaminsky, the bill’s sponsor.
Aspects of the Herculean plan include:
* An advisory council will have three years to develop strategies to completely eliminate carbon emissions from electricity generation by 2040
* Our electric power will come from non-carbon sources, like offshore wind, solar and hydropower
* Cut other greenhouse gases 85 percent by 2050 economy wide through incentives for cleaner cars, industry and homes
Those are goals, sponsors said, that will create jobs and spur other states to follow. Yet, there is concern in a state with already sky-high costs for just about everything.
“I see loss of jobs. I see increased energy rates,” upstate Sen. Robert G. Ortt said.
“Do I wish it happens? Yes. Am I concerned about the economy and the effect it will have on people fleeing New York if this is too expensive,” Suffolk County Legislator Rob Trotta said.
But the cost of doing nothing? Scientists agree greenhouse gases are raising sea levels and causing extreme weather.
“The cost of not doing it is almost too great to calculate it,” said Adrienne Esposito of the Citizens Campaign for the Environment.
Will the legislation drive up the cost of electricity? Long Island Power Authority CEO Tom Falcone says no.
“The cost of clean energy continues to decline very rapidly,” Falcone said. “We see that all over the place, even in your own home. Look at the price of a light bulb.”
The clean energy provided by a solar farm is equivalent to taking 800 cars off the road. Supporters say this is the sort of thing that has to happen to make New York’s new climate goal a reality.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo signaled Thursday he would sign the legislation. Former Vice President Al Gore, a big supporter of global warming resolution, tweeted kudos to the state.