East Flatbush

Parker urges New York to re-think energy consumption

‘Climate change is real,’ lawmaker says

September 14, 2016 By Paula Katinas Brooklyn Daily Eagle
State Sen. Kevin Parker says New York State has to move faster toward the use of clean, renewable energy sources. Photo courtesy of Parker’s office
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The last 10 years have seen the five hottest summers on record, according to state Sen. Kevin Parker, who said that while Mother Nature is wreaking havoc, mankind is going to have to start taking decisive action.

“Climate change is real,” Parker (D-East Flatbush-Flatbush-Midwood) told the Brooklyn Eagle. “We’ve had some of the hottest summers on record over the past 10 years. Parts of the country experienced droughts this summer.”

Energy prices are going through the roof, Parker noted.

Parker, a member of the state Senate’s Energy and Commerce Committee, is pushing for changes in New York’s energy usage.

A bill he introduced in a previous legislative session would mandate that 80 percent of New York’s energy come from clean, renewable energy sources by the year 2030.

“We really should be investigating alternative forms of energy. We need to reduce our carbon footprint and lower energy prices,” Parker said.

If New York did that, it would not only lower energy prices, but it would also boost the state’s economy, according to Parker, who has been in the state Senate since 2002.

“It would provide access to green jobs. Climate change is a catastrophe, but in addressing it, we can have economic opportunities,” he told the Eagle.

And when he talked about green jobs, Parker was quick to add that he wasn’t just referring to high-tech jobs involving solar or wind power. “There are white collar jobs but there are also blue collar jobs with a green purpose. And you would need accountants and bill departments,” he said.

New York state has taken some steps toward renewable energy.

A program called Cleaner, Greener Communities, launched in 2012 by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, is a $100 million initiative that invests in sustainability projects.

The first phase invested $10 million in the development of regional sustainability plans around the state. The second phase will distribute $90 million for carbon abatement projects, including rapid bus transport, installation of charging stations, bio-gas initiatives, the development of multi-modal transportation hubs and support for energy efficient buildings.

Parker said the state also has a program to retro-fit homes with solar panels.


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