To the editor:
New York lawmakers have an opportunity to make our state a national leader in curbing climate change.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo has proposed that 70 percent of the state’s electricity be from renewables by 2030 and 100 percent carbon-free by 2040.
Lawmakers should at least match if not speed up the governor’s goals and extend it to all energy sources including buildings and transportation. The state should seek to reduce energy needs as much as possible through efficiency and conservation. Whatever is left over should be electrified.
We need to move to renewable heat — air heat pumps and geothermal — for buildings. We need to greatly accelerate the transition to electric cars and other zero-emission vehicles. New York should also promote regenerative agriculture to restore carbon to our soil.
We need strong, enforceable climate action plans with short-term (for example, two-year) benchmarks. We need to halt new fossil fuel projects.
The good news is such actions can lower energy costs, reduce health problems from air pollution, and create good-paying jobs. We need a just transition, with funds targeted to low-income and other impacted communities.
We need to leave a healthy planet for our children.