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Mark Ruffalo: New York State Leading the Way on the Clean Energy Revolution

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By New Yorkers for Clean Power

Top environmental and business organizations, actor Mark Ruffalo and clean energy leaders held a press conference Monday in New York City to launch New Yorkers for Clean Power, a statewide campaign to increase the deployment of clean energy across New York state.

New Yorkers for Clean Power was launched Monday in New York City. Photo credit: New Yorkers for Clean Power

The campaign focuses on education, organizing and advocacy to engage the public, local governments and businesses to advance a range of renewable energy, efficiency and clean transportation options, and to advance and expand New York's clean energy policies.

“It's time that we aggressively transition to clean renewable energy and create permanent good-paying jobs for New Yorkers across this great state," Mark Ruffalo, New Yorkers for Clean Power advisory board member, said.

"New York State is already leading the way on the clean energy revolution with over 85,000 jobs. Now with increased solar, wind, energy efficiency, clean transportation options through New York State's existing innovative programs, we can bring more jobs and prosperity to every community in the state while protecting the local environment and our global climate. I'm proud to be a part of the the New Yorkers for Clean Power campaign to quickly grow the clean energy economy across the state."

The campaign also released a Clean Jobs New York report showing that more than 85,000 New Yorkers already work in the clean energy sector and underscoring the potential for substantial clean energy job growth.

There are 7,500 business establishments across all 62 counties. The comprehensive new analysis is from the national nonpartisan business group EnvironmentalEntrepreneurs (E2), the Alliance for Clean Energy New York, New York State Sustainable Business Council and New Yorkers for Clean Power. The report is based on U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics information and new data from the U.S. Department of Energy, as well as a comprehensive survey of hundreds of businesses across the state.

This report is the first of its kind and it breaks down clean energy jobs by county, congressional district and state legislative district. The authors of the report found that New York's growth expectations—at almost 7 percent—are higher than other states that have been studied, based on the survey of employers.

New Yorkers for Clean Power is convened by the Natural Resources Defense Council, Sierra Club, Frack Action, Catskill Mountainkeeper, The Solutions Project, Environmental Entrepreneurs (E2) and is partnering with many organizations, businesses and other groups across the state.

“This new campaign is bringing together organizations, businesses, municipalities and communities to implement clean energy, clean vehicles and create good jobs for New Yorkers," Renee Vogelsang, campaign coordinator of New Yorkers for Clean Power, said. "Tens of thousands of residents already work in solar, wind, energy efficiency and other clean energy sectors, and we know that's just the tip of the iceberg as we build the clean energy economy that leads the nation and also protects clean air and water."

Following the launch in New York City, the New Yorkers for Clean Power campaign is traveling across the state in a donated Ford Focus Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle as part of the "Road to Renewables" tour, holding educational events and engaging communities and local businesses together to work on expanding and implementing clean energy opportunities. The campaign is also spreading awareness about the many existing New York State programs and initiatives that can help communities and individuals adopt clean energy, such as NY-Sun, ChargeNY and NYSERDA's Renewable Heating and Cooling program.

“New York State is becoming a national leader on renewable energy, thanks to the forward-thinking energy policies of the Cuomo administration," Julia Walsh, campaign director of Frack Action, said. “We have an incredible opportunity right now to be a model for the rest of this country on how to rapidly transition to renewable energy and efficiency."

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Aerial view of Ruropolis, Para state, northen Brazil, on Sept. 6, 2019. Tthe world's biggest rainforest is under threat from wildfires and rampant deforestation. JOHANNES MYBURGH / AFP via Getty Images

By Kate Martyr

Deforestation in Brazil's Amazon rainforest last month jumped to the highest level since records began in 2015, according to government data.

A total of 563 square kilometers (217.38 square miles) of the world's largest rainforest was destroyed in November, 103% more than in the same month last year, according to Brazil's space research agency.

From January to November this year an area almost the size of the Caribbean island of Puerto Rico was destroyed — an 83% overall increase in destruction when compared with the same period last year.

The figures were released on Friday by the National Institute for Space Research (INPE), and collected through the DETER database, which uses satellite images to monitor forest fires, forest destruction and other developments affecting the rainforest.

What's Behind the Rise?

Overall, deforestation in 2019 has jumped 30% compared to last year — 9,762 square kilometers (approximately 3769 square miles) have been destroyed, despite deforestation usually slowing during November and December.

Environmental groups, researchers and activists blamed the policies of Brazil's president Jair Bolsonaro for the increase.

They say that Bolosonaro's calls for the Amazon to be developed and his weakening support for Ibama, the government's environmental agency, have led to loggers and ranchers feeling safer and braver in destroying the expansive rainforest.

His government hit back at these claims, pointing out that previous governments also cut budgets to environment agencies such as Ibama.

The report comes as Brazil came to loggerheads with the Association of Small Island States (AOSIS) over climate goals during the UN climate conference in Madrid.

AOSIS blasted Brazil, among other nations, for "a lack of ambition that also undermines ours."

Last month, a group of Brazilian lawyers called for Bolsonaro to be investigated by the International Criminal Court over his environmental policies.

Reposted with permission from DW.

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