The Nature Conservancy’s new research shows most New Yorkers want to take action against climate change.
By Cara Lee, Senior Conservation Manager at The Nature Conservancy
Intense storms. Long droughts. Catastrophic forest fires. Record-breaking temperatures. Climate change is here, and it’s no longer hard to spot. Experts agree that to fight climate change we must reduce our use of fossil fuels and cut dangerous greenhouse gas emissions.And while we can all make efforts to lower our carbon footprint in meaningful ways, the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions actually comes from generating electricity. That’s why The Nature Conservancy is working at a national and state level to reduce emissions and promote a prosperous clean energy future.
One state, in particular, is leading that charge and that’s New York. In 2014, Governor Cuomo laid out an ambitious plan – “Reforming the Energy Vision” (REV) with the goal of reducing 80% of carbon emissions by 2050 and generating 50% of New York’s electricity from clean, renewable sources by 2030. By revolutionizing the way we deliver electricity, the State will also reduce costs and increase reliability. The initiative is already underway. But to meet these bold goals, consumer participation will be necessary.
We wanted to know what New Yorkers think of this energy modernization vision for the State, so we commissioned public opinion research to find out. What we found is nothing short of inspiring. Take a look:
A majority of New York voters said global warming is a very serious problem. The researchers found that voters clearly understand the threats posed by global warming, and what’s more, they’re ready to do something about it – or have already started.
More than two-thirds are willing to take action – including paying more – to be part of the solution. More than 4 out of 5 New Yorkers are willing to take - or already are taking actions - to reduce demand on the system. From making energy-efficiency improvements at home to reducing electricity use when demand is greatest, New Yorkers are clearly willing to step up and do their part. Even if it means paying more on monthly utility bills. A majority of New Yorkers are willing to pay $2, $5, even $10 a month. That held true across demographic groups including households with incomes under $30,000 a year.
Voters were clear: they want a clean energy future for New York. The researchers found that a majority of New Yorkers hold favorable views about clean, renewable energy, and they want the State to use far more of it. The average voter wants 71% of New York’s electricity to come from clean energy sources, and almost 3 in 5 voters said 71% to 100% of our electricity should come from clean, renewable sources.
Support for more solar and wind power is almost universal. 94% of voters support using more solar power in New York State, and 89% support using more wind power. Given this level of support, do New Yorkers back the State’s new vision for New York? An unequivocal yes.
New Yorkers overwhelmingly back the State’s clean energy goals. A full 90% of voters polled said they support the State’s goal of generating 50% of New York’s energy from clean sources by 2030. Support was similarly high for New York’s clean energy plan, Reforming the Energy Vision, which aims to modernize the electrical grid to reduce costs, increase reliability, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Even after voters learned about possible personal costs of the plan, more than 4 out of 5 voters still supported it. You might be asking, why do so many New Yorkers back this new bold vision?
Voters want a clean energy future for future generations. The researchers found that voters clearly understand the threats posed by global warming and want their children and grandchildren to live in a state that is less depend on fossil fuels, and runs more on clean, efficient, and affordable energy.