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Syracuse Activists Push for More Renewable Energy Plans in New York

Syracuse advocates for renewable energy are urging Governor Cuomo to ramp up his efforts to reach a more sustainable New York. Mark Dunlea of the Green Education and Legal Fund says he is pleased that Cuomo recognizes climate change as a serious problem, but…

“Unfortunately, what he has proposed to date in terms of the state’s climate action agenda is not enough to really avoid catastrophic climate change.”

Governor Cuomo’s current plan is to reduce carbon pollution 80 percent by 2050. Dunlea and other Green Party activists are leading a campaign to get the state to transition to 100 percent clean energy by 2030. To reach this goal, Dunlea  says Cuomo needs to stop flooding the state with natural gas pipelines.  

“The methane from natural gas is 84 times more potent as a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide from oil and coal plants," Dunlea said.  "Now that’s short term. So yes, over a hundred years the carbon dioxide is worse. If scientists are telling us that we got 15 years to get this right, we can’t in that 15 year period be putting in the stuff that is more potent short term.”

Green Party activist Howie Hawkins acknowledges that any transition from fossil fuel-generated energy to renewable sources will cause a displacement in the workforce.

“This transition should be a just transition. In other words, workers displaced say from nuclear or gas industries should have their income and benefits maintained until they find comparable work. Green energy jobs are a great place for that, so the transition shouldn’t be too long, 4.5 million jobs.”

Dunlea talks about the many advantages of transitioning to renewable energy.

Hawkins says the state is planning to announce in June its plan to require utility companies to invest in renewable energy and nuclear power. The Greens support the effort but don’t want to subsidize upstate nuclear power plants.

Scott Willis covers politics, local government, transportation, and arts and culture for WAER. He came to Syracuse from Detroit in 2001, where he began his career in radio as an intern and freelance reporter. Scott is honored and privileged to bring the day’s news and in-depth feature reporting to WAER’s dedicated and generous listeners. You can find him on twitter @swillisWAER and email him at