New York, NY - April 22, 2014 - In observance of Earth Week, Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman today said individual New Yorkers play an important role in fighting climate change and pointed to the office’s “Save Energy, Save Money: A Win-Win in the Fight Against Climate Change” brochure. The pamphlet, which is available here, offers ten tips New Yorkers can follow to reduce energy use and related emissions of climate change pollution in their everyday lives – and, at the same time, save money.
“With each passing day, the tremendous risk that climate changes poses to our environment, our economy and our communities becomes clearer,” Attorney General Schneiderman said. “My office is committed to fighting back against climate change by continuing to defend state environmental programs, promote common-sense national measures and hold polluters responsible. All New Yorkers can join the effort by taking easy steps in our daily lives that will reduce climate change pollution and save money. This Earth Week, let’s dedicate ourselves to working to prevent climate change, remembering that many small steps collectively go a long way toward protecting and preserving our natural world and our homes.”
The brochure was created to provide New Yorkers with easy, cost-saving tips on reducing their contribution to climate change pollution. By following the steps outlined in the brochure, New Yorkers can stop the emission of thousands of pounds of climate change pollution each year and save hundreds of dollars a year on their energy bills. For example:
- Replacing just one traditional, incandescent bulb with a compact florescent or LED bulb can save up to $60 and eliminate 1,000 pounds of climate change pollution every year.
- Heating and cooling are a home’s top energy users – accounting for almost 50% of its energy consumption. Installing a programmable thermostat to control heating and cooling can markedly reduce a home’s contribution to climate change and save homeowners up to $100 a year.
- Properly installed insulation, especially in a home’s attic, can result in a 25% saving on heating bills each year and cut 2,000 pounds in climate change pollution.
- In the typical home, appliances account for nearly eight tons of climate change pollution each year. High-efficiency, ENERGY STAR-labeled appliances use up to 50% less energy than conventional appliances, cutting both pollution emissions and electric bills.
Climate change, and its substantial threat to the environment, public health and the economy, is well-established. The International Panel on Climate Change – a group composed of thousands of the world’s leading climate scientists – has issued three reports over the past year summarizing years of research. The panel’s reports document human activities as the primary cause of climate change, as well as the profound impacts that this change has had – and will increasingly have in the future – on our environment. The most recent panel report warns that without immediate, concerted action, “it is clear that the future, climate will be warmer, sea levels will rise, global rainfall patterns will change and ecosystems will be altered.”
The power of Hurricane Sandy provides a stark example of the devastation wrought by severe storms: 147 deaths are attributed to the storm, at least 650,000 homes were damaged or destroyed and approximately 8.5 million families were left without power during the storm and its aftermath. Irrespective of the cause of Hurricane Sandy, climate change fuels more powerful and destructive storms that wreak havoc on our communities
While governments and major pollution emission sources must assume the greatest responsibility for responding to climate change, the cumulative actions of individuals can also contribute substantially to reducing this pollution.
Since taking office, Attorney General Schneiderman has established himself as a leader, both in New York and nationally, in the fight against climate change. For example, the Attorney General:
- Successfully defended the state against legal actions backed by the out-of-state organization Americans for Prosperity that sought to force New York to withdraw from the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), a multi-state effort to reduce emissions of pollutants that contribute to climate change and harm our health.
- Played a central role in a New York Public Service Commission decision that requires the utility to undertake aggressive action to harden its electricity system from the consequences of severe coastal storms and to engage in an in-depth study of its system’s vulnerability to climate change.
- Called on the U.S. State Department to withhold any decision on the Keystone XL Pipeline project until first analyzing the full climate change pollution impacts – to New York and across the United States – of the proposed project and related means of oil transport.
- Leading a coalition of seven states, the Attorney General filed a notice of intent to sue the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for violating provisions of the Clean Air Act by failing to address methane emissions from the oil and natural gas industry, including those from hydrofracking operations. Subsequently, President Obama announced a Climate Change Action Plan to Reduce Methane Emissions that committed the administration to a strategy to reduce methane emissions from the oil and gas industry.