The New York City Council sounded the alarm last week, declaring a climate emergency. The statement it passed cited myriad scientific research, concluding immediate action must be taken to resolve the crisis.
“Whereas, New York City, as the largest city in the United States, can act as a global leader by both converting to an ecologically, socially, and economically regenerative economy at emergency speed, and by organizing a transition to renewable energy and climate emergency mobilization effort; now, therefore, be it resolved, the City Council declares a climate emergency and calls for an immediate emergency mobilization to restore a safe climate,” the declaration reads.
The declaration points to “nearly 400 cities, districts and counties” that have made similar formalized statements about climate change.
While the document calls for change, it doesn’t provide any specific approaches for solving climate issues. Rather, it takes a general approach, calling for a transition from fossil fuel to renewables, addressing issues in marginalized communities and equal access to “adequate air, water, land, food, education, healthcare and shelter.”
While the declaration is a dramatic, boiling-point move, but one that smacks of political posturing, according to Jorge Lopez, managing partner at JAK Advisors.
“My belief is that as you get all these different …emotional statements trying to rally people around a belief for a cause as opposed to driving action. I think there has to be a commitment, not a continued schism centered around who can one-up the other political party.” Jorge Lopez told Energy Pages.
Lopez, formerly the CEO and president of ConEdison Solutions, indicated that effective statements of emergency are coupled with clear plans to resolve the situation.
And, while there is a robust energy-efficiency bill that seems to be headed toward Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s desk, Lopez said the state already has initiatives and infrastructure in place to quell the climate emergency.
“I would argue that the state of New York has, fundamentally, a good foundation to leverage through their Reforming the Energy Vision initiatives, and other state actions, from which we’ve seen benefits in terms of reduced energy usage,” he said.
Proclamation of Emergency Won’t Affect C&I Without Clear Action
From a retail supplier’s perspective, Lopez said the goal is to continue offering a variety of renewable energy products that give residential, commercial and industrial customers the options and pricing they want.
“Today, you’re seeing commercial, industrial and residential customers going beyond renewable requirements from the state and acting to embed additional green energy credits into their supply mix,” Lopez said. “Retail suppliers are at the tip of the spear.”
Lopez doesn’t see the emergency declaration having any effect on commercial and industrial energy companies and their customers because, again, it lacks specific a specific action plan to change New York’s energy industry.
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