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.
- In 2007, the total greenhouse gases released by human activities in New York State was calculated to be 284 million tons. This represents an average of 14.7 tons of CO2 for every New Yorker.
- Combustion of fossil fuels generated nearly nine-tenths of the greenhouse gases emitted in New York. One-fourth of New York’s CO2 came from the generation of electric power, with the remainder originating about equally from the transportation sector and from industrial, residential and commercial on-site fuel combustion.
- Compared with other states, New York emits relatively low amounts of greenhouse gases per capita. This is because New York gets less electric power from coal-fired plants and because public transportation is widely used in its large cities. Nevertheless, it is important for all New Yorkers to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Through greenhouse gas mitigation programs, New York State seeks to help and encourage all sectors to save energy and produce less greenhouse gas.