Protecting and preserving our environment is critical to our health and well-being, as well as for the future generations of New York State. Every year the Assembly honors Earth Day by introducing legislation that will assist in safeguarding the environment. When it comes to making New York a healthy state to live and work in, we need to make wise decisions. These bills will help us do that.
The main focus of this yearís legislation is cutting greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent by 2050 and increasing energy efficiency. I am also pushing for the development of clean, renewable sources of energy and advancing other air quality goals.
Scientific studies show that global warming is negatively impacting the environment, and these issues, left unchecked, will eventually pose a serious threat to people. We must take crucial steps today to ensure a healthy and viable tomorrow. Thatís why the Assemblyís 2008 Earth Day package:
- requires greenhouse gas emissions to be decreased to 1990 levels and further decreased by 2.3 percent per year, beginning in 2015, resulting in a reduction of 80 percent of the current limit by 2050 (A.10303);
- establishes the Climate Change Solutions Program and Fund toward increasing energy efficiency, encouraging the development of clean, renewable sources of energy and advancing other air quality goals (A.7365, A.7366); and
- authorizes the DEC, after a public hearing, to establish rules and regulations by May 1, 2009, requiring annual greenhouse gas emission reporting (A.10303).
Reducing our nationís dependence on foreign oil and finding alternative means of energy production will not only help our environment, but it will help our economy and save money for businesses and taxpayers.
The Nobel Peace Prize-winning International Panel on Climate Change strongly recommends we reduce greenhouse gas emissions. My colleagues in the Assembly and I are taking this advice very seriously. Our Earth Day legislative package pushes for change, and it allows New York to address critical environmental issues now Ė before itís too late.