Climate Smart Energy: Heating, Cooling and Turning the Lights On

Brooklyn Public Library, October 16, 2019

ACTIONS AND RESOURCES

Meeting New York State’s Climate Goals
New York State’s climate goals require a 40 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from 1990 levels by 2030 and an 85 percent reduction by 2050. To meet these goals, we need a broad-based strategy that includes building a 100% renewable grid, maximizing efficiency, reforming transportation, and transitioning off fossil fuels for space heating, water heating, and cooking.

> Join the movement to build a sustainable future for all with clean energy solutions. To get involved, check out New Yorkers for Clean Power: nyforcleanpower.org 

> Spread the truth about natural gas. In “The Literal Gaslighting that Helps America Avoid Acting on the Climate Crisis,” Bill McKibben writes: “The crucial distinction that politicians are missing about our climate predicament is this: what we have reduced over the past twenty years is our emission of carbon dioxide, and we did that mostly by replacing coal-fired power plants with gas-fired power plants…. But carbon dioxide is not the only greenhouse gas. The second most important contributor to climate change is methane—CH4. And, when you frack the countryside for natural gas to burn in power plants, lots of methane leaks out at every stage of the process, from drilling to combustion.” newyorker.com/news/daily-comment/the-literal-gaslighting-that-helps-america-avoid-acting-on-the-climate

Fossil Fuels Out, Heat Pumps In
At present, 38% of greenhouse gas emissions in New York State come from on-site combustion—fossil fuels being burned right in our buildings—for heat, hot water and cooking. 98% of homes across the state use fossil fuels for heating and cooling.

> Support the campaign for heat pumps in New York State. Renewable heating and cooling technologies, such as air source heat pumps, ground source/geothermal heat pumps, heat pump water heaters and solar thermal systems, could eliminate the on-site use of fossil fuels to heat and cool buildings and generate hot water. They are also super-efficient, using very little electricity. To learn more and to get involved, go to: https://renewableheatnow.org

> See some success stories. Watch a video explaining how BlocPower uses technology to analyze building efficiency and project financial savings from updated heating systems: http://blocpower.io/#how-it-works. See examples of their retrofitting projects in lower income communities, including the current #Green the Bronx project: facbook.com/BlocPower

> If you own a home, find out options for switching to heat pumps. Contact HeatSmart CNY, which provides workshops on sustainable heating and cooling and can connect you with installers and financial incentives: heatsmartcny.org

Cooking with Science
Attachment to gas stoves is a key obstacle to changing our gas-fueled lifestyle. The good news is that there’s an alternative (already popular in Europe and Asia) that is quick, clean, produces no fumes, doesn’t heat up your kitchen, and is so precise even top chefs are using it.

> Get the story on induction stoves. motherjones.com/food/2019/07/can-chefs-learn-to-love-cooking-without-fire/

Utility Profits vs. Energy Democracy
Our current electric system involves three activities—generation, transmission and distribution. In our area. utilities like Con Edison and National Grid provide transmission and distribution services. These are for-profit, investor-owned companies that have monopolies in the regions they serve. Yet the costs of the fossil fuel infrastructure that these companies profit from is largely passed on to us as ratepayers. Con Edison’s costs, for example, include $220 million for new fracked gas infrastructure and the over $9 million salary of their CEO. Meanwhile, National Grid has been lobbying hard, against public resistance, for another gas pipeline to be drilled under New York Harbor.

> Learn about the Energy Democracy Alliance, a statewide campaign to advance a just transition to a resilient, localized and democratically controlled clean energy economy in New York State: energydemocracyny.org. To dig deeper on what energy democracy would mean, read Energy Democracy: Advancing Equity in Clean Energy Solutions, by Denise Fairchild and Al Weinrub.

> Explore the case for public ownership of our utilities. publicpower.nyc

> Tell New York State you don’t want your energy bills subsidizing fossil fuel infrastructure. To find out how to send a comment to state regulators, go to: saneenergy.org/utilities

and…

Join 350Brooklyn and Brooklyn Public Library for upcoming Climate Wednesdays

November 20: Parenting in the Age of Climate Change
December 11: Green New Meal: the Food-Climate Connection

Our spring series will begin in February.

350Brooklyn works to counter climate change and achieve climate justice through local action. We promote sustainable energy, oppose the fossil fuel industry, and educate and activate our community. 350Brooklyn is a local affiliate of 350.org, a global grassroots organization.

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