A note from the co-editor:

Recent reports on the melting of the ice sheet in Antarctica have added even more urgency to the global discussion on climate change. The local impact here in New York is sobering.

A climate scientist advising the city told New York Environment Report off-the-record yesterday that the situation in Antarctica makes “upper percentile values for sea level rise applicable for our region…look ever more likely, especially for longer time horizons.” 

A report released last year found that by the 2050’s, sea level at the Battery could rise by as much as 31 inches (upper percentile estimate) from 2000-04 baseline levels. New projections for the New York City-metro area will be released this summer.

How are we supposed to react to information of this magnitude? And what are we supposed to do as carbon continues to build up in the atmosphere? While the federal government struggles with its response, New York and other states are moving ahead, both to prepare for the future impacts of climate change, but also to reduce our carbon footprint now.

New York Environment Report will be featuring the efforts of state government and local communities to confront this dual challenge. From the wind farms of upstate New York to the Staten Island bluebelt, New York is trying to build a more environmentally sustainable future.

For instance, the community of East Hampton, Long Island has decided to do what would have been considered unthinkable a few years ago. Read this informative May 21st article by Beth Young from the East End Beacon to find out more…

-Sarah Crean

East Hampton Sets Lofty Goal for Renewable Energy

Photo credit: Dougtone via Creative Commons

“East Hampton became the first town in New York State to set a goal to meet all its electrical energy needs using renewable energy by the year 2020, after the goal was passed unanimously by the town board at Tuesday’s work session.

The board also agreed to attempt to meet the town’s community-wide energy use in all sectors, including heating and transportation, through renewable energy sources by the year 2030.

“Our everyday lives are impacted by the effects of global warming. We owe it to the children of East Hampton to do something about climate change and air pollution caused by fossil fuels,” said Town Councilwoman Sylvia Overby, town board liaison to the Energy Sustainability Advisory Committee, in a statement after the meeting.

“Meeting our future energy needs with clean, renewable energy sources will require a strong commitment from town government and all East Hampton residents,” she added. “It is time and we are ready to face that challenge.”

The Energy Sustainability Advisory will hold an open house meeting with the community tomorrow, May 22, at 6 p.m. at East Hampton Town Hall to discuss the details of their plan and their work to date.

Renewable energy is coming into its own. Towns and cities around the world are making plans.

The committee’s chairman, Frank Dalene, told the town board at Tuesday’s work session that all of East Hampton currently consumes about 288,000 megawatt/hours per year of electricity, but could generate about 317,490 kilowatt/hours of energy through renewable power.

Mr. Dalene pointed out that several municipalities across the country have already met the goal of 100 percent renewable energy, including Palo Alto, Calif., Greensburg, Kan. and Ithaca, N.Y. He said San Francisco has also set a goal to be powered completely by renewable energy by the year 2020.

“Renewable energy is coming into its own. Towns and cities around the world are making plans,” he said, adding that wind energy has room for enormous growth in the United States. In Europe, he said, 4 gigawatts worth of wind power have been installed, and plans are in the works for another 5.9 gigawatts of wind power.

Town Supervisor Larry Cantwell pointed out that the committee’s energy goals rely heavily on the construction of the Deepwater One wind farm currently being considered in the Atlantic Ocean 20 miles off the coast of Montauk…”

Read more of this article at the East End Beacon