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.
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
1—Warmer temperatures, especially in winter
2—Longer growing seasons and shorter periods of winter snow cover
3—Higher sea levels
4—An increase in high-precipitation weather events
5—Climate-linked stresses on traditional species, such as sugar maple, that may threaten their survival
Energy Efficiency and Energy Conservation
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.
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.
Production of oil and gas is a half-billion-dollar industry in New York State. To prevent environmental damage from well drilling and operation, the department of environmental conservation (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.
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.
Renewable resources — wind, water power, solar, geothermal and biomass – already provide nearly 11 percent of the energy that New Yorkers use for transportation, space heating, industrial processes and electric power, according to NYSERDA and the federal Department of Energy