[Mailman-i18n] Sierra Club-NYC Report Calls for New York City Energy Shortage Contingency Plan - Energy Automation Systems

paul.kholer paul.kholer paul.kholer at gmail.com
Tue Jul 3 21:50:14 CEST 2007

 Energy Automation Systems

Sierra Club NYC Group releases a report detailing why and how the City needs
to prevent rapid price spikes by planning and acting today. The group says
Mayor Bloomberg's PlaNYC 2030 moves the City in the right direction in
planning for long term sustainability, but encourages City leaders to
include rapid energy conservation plans to respond to potential energy price

Its report, "Moving NYC Toward Sustainable Energy Independence," authored by
Dan Miner, the Group's energy committee chair, requests Council to
reconsider Intro. 374, previously submitted in 2004. Both San Francisco and
Portland, Oregon have passed similar bills.

Short and long-term recommendations on transportation, buildings, electric
generation and renewable power, addressing both global warming and energy
security are offered in the report. Some recommendations were included in
PlaNYC and in Governor Spitzer's plan to reduce state electricity use 15% by
2015, others will enhance these proposals, while stepping up the City's
climate change response.

Organizations that have signed on to the report so far include: American
Littoral Society NE Chapter, Asthma Free School Zone, Carbon Tax Center,
Galapagos Art Center, Hudson River Sloop Clearwater, Energy & Environment
Program at Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility, New York Public
Interest Research Group, Nos Quedamos, NY Divinity School, the Pace Energy
Project, Sane Aviation for Everyone, Solar One, Sustainable South Bronx, The
Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine, and The Gaia Institute.

New York City Must Prepare Now for Energy Security
Dan Miner, Sierra Club NYC Group energy committee chair

Many of us are worried about the long-term consequences of climate change,
and there's growing support for the warnings of climate scientists that we
need to cut carbon emissions by 80% by 2050 to avoid climate catastrophe. On
the other hand, most Americans are not cutting their energy use
significantly. Defenders of business as usual claim that energy frugality
will harm our economy, while failing to consider that inaction now
guarantees wrecking the economy later with heat waves and flooding. Part of
the problem is the perception that the climate impacts of our oil addiction
lie far in the future, preventing a public consensus of urgency. Without
that, the bold political action we need today is impossible.

Our dependence on imported fossil fuels poses serious short-term risks as
well. Conservative pundits and military analysts tell us that even slight
disruptions to our oil imports will cause prices to spike to $100 a barrel
or more. The economic consequences will impact most Americans personally and
directly. Unlike climate change impacts, we could be faced with the national
security threat of price shocks at any time.

For example, an attack on Iran is likely to result in a blockade of the
Straits of Hormuz, through which over a third of the world's oil is shipped.
Hopefully that won't happen, but we're still at risk from disruptions caused
by Gulf Coast hurricanes or terrorist attacks on oil shipping and refining
infrastructure. Even without a crisis, a recent GAO report documents that
depleting world oil supplies, when combined with rising demand, will make
energy markets increasingly volatile - and supply disruptions inevitable.

Rising awareness of climate change is accelerating the transition away from
fossil fuels, and we need to step it up further. Short-term municipal plans
to conserve energy quickly during fuel price shocks are a critical starting
point. Putting them into place will make cities more resilient, and public
education about them will motivate rapid implementation of efficiency,
conservation and renewable energy projects.

Both the Administration and the Council have been doing a fine job on
environmental issues, and with PlaNYC 2030, New York City is on the path
toward long-term sustainability. However, our vulnerability to energy shocks
requires attention now. How would $100 a barrel oil affect trucks bringing
groceries to supermarkets, winter heating bills, commuters, and the
restaurants and theaters dependent on tourists? These are prudent questions
to consider well before problems arise.

The newly released Sierra Club report, "Moving New York City toward
Sustainable Energy Independence" asks the PlaNYC initiative to address this
issue, and urges the City Council to resurrect the bill, drafted in 2004 by
its own Environmental Committee, which would create a City energy shortage
contingency plan. San Francisco and Portland, Oregon have already passed
similar bills, and are already developing their plans. The report recommends
creating such a plan in the short term, and over the long term, rapid
deployment of decentralized, renewable power, and other measures that will
enhance PlaNYC 2030 implementation. By cutting energy costs, creating jobs,
and slowing global warming while buffering the impact of energy shocks, the
approach is a win-win solution. New York's example could lead the U.S.
toward energy independence. We don't have to wait for future disasters,
let's start moving beyond oil today.

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