Report on Energy and Climate Change from Sierra Club NYC Group Download report at www.beyondoilnyc.org. Read an online version with links to all references at http://www.nyc.sierraclub.org/ PlaNYC, New York City’s sustainability plan, talks about reducing our carbon emissions 30% by 2030. However, climate change is accelerating and many scientists say we need to reduce emissions further and faster. These actions are politically possible. Opinion polls show that public support for global warming action is widespread but shallow, but when combined with concern about energy independence and higher prices, it becomes a top voter priority, even surpassing national security.
Beside climate change, we must also respond to the parallel challenge of increasing energy price volatility. World oil demand keeps rising, while world oil production will soon peak and go into permanent decline. That guarantees greater volatility in the price and supply of oil. Even though its extensive public transit system makes NYC less vulnerable to oil price spikes than other cities, short-term consequences of higher prices may not be immediately obvious. (Fuel depletion is still not widely discussed, but it is no longer controversial, having been covered in the Wall Street Journal, Time magazine and CNN. It will be addressed at Regional Planning Association’s annual conference.)
How would a prolonged increase in oil prices affect trucks bringing groceries to supermarkets? Winter heating fuel prices? The earnings of restaurants and theaters dependent on tourists? Budgets for fire, police, and sanitation services? Would commuters still choose to drive into Manhattan, or would they flock to mass transit?
Government sustainability initiatives may have greater success when framed as responses to energy volatility than to climate change. In the short term, expanding capacity margins through energy conservation will make the City more resilient to volatility, while expediting PlaNYC initiatives. In the long term, we need to push discussion far past PlaNYC’s current goals, and start building a post-petroleum economy now.
The good news is that a national project to make clean energy cheap can restore domestic manufacturing, create millions of jobs that can’t be outsourced, and stimulate the economy, while improving our quality of life and mitigating climate change. New York City’s leadership can help make such policy actions a reality, while ensuring a better future for our citizens.
What's the next step for New York City? “Sustainable Energy Independence for NYC” argues that the most effective way to accelerate NYC’s response to both climate change and energy volatility is the formation of a City Energy Volatility Task Force.
Form a NYC Energy Volatility Task Force
form a Task Force to study potential impacts and mitigations of energy price and supply volatility – not currently considered within PlaNYC.
require consideration of energy volatility and future energy prices in all City agency budgeting and planning decisions, including PlaNYC revisions
universities, civic and advocacy groups and business organizations should form their own Task Forces
bottom-up voluntary sustainability actions should be accelerated simultaneously with top down incentives, mandates and legislation
Other report recommendationsTransportation:
implement congestion pricing
remove hidden subsidies for driving and parking cars
increase regular and express bus services
increase alternative fuel and electric vehicle fleets
implement electric streetcar and light rail systems, as in Vision 42
implement AutoFreeNYplan to maximize use of subway and rail
build more intercity passenger and freight train capacity
restrict suburban sprawl
encourage urban infill development around mass transit access points
support and expand use of bicycles and pedicabs
include energy volatility and fuel depletion inNew York Cityand State economic development policy
encourage production and procurement of regional farm products
support agricultural production within cities and suburbs
enable residents to find farming and gardening jobs
encourage schools to establish gardens on their facilities
open additional retail farmers markets, a wholesale farmers market, year-round public markets, and a regional product distribution center
explore entrepreneurial ways to make private land available to new agricultural workers
Energy efficient building:
increase mandates and incentives for energy efficiency retrofits
mandate energy efficiency standards for equipment
encourage solar heating systems
design buildings for maximum cost-efficient energy performance
discourage acceptance of relentless growth in personal electricity consumption
New York City and State energy policy:
set timetables for PlaNYC’s many good energy initiatives, especially the formation of an Energy Planning Board
expand net metering to 2 megawatts per site for all customer classes, as inNew Jersey
distribute smart meters/time-of-use meters, which enable users to choose less costly off-hours electricity
raise the New York State Energy Efficiency Portfolio Standard to 30% reduction of 2006 electric and gas usage rates by 2015
update the State Energy Plan to account for energy volatility
[Addendum: NYC Groups with an Interest in Energy Use, Not on the Endorsement List AIA/NY-COTE Association for Energy Affordability, Inc Bronx Council for Environmental Quality Center for Economic and Environmental Partnership, Inc CENYC COEJL Columbia University Earth Institute CUNY Institute for Urban Systems (CIUS) Earth Pledge Green Roofs Initiative Green Worker Cooperatives Hazon ITAC NY Building Congress NYC Central Labor Council NYC Environmental Justice Alliance NYCCT Apartment House Institute NYIRN NYU Institute for Civil Infrastructure Systems PICCED Sustainable South Bronx The Cooper Union Center for Sustainable Engineering, Architecture and Art—Materials, Manufacturing and Minimalism (SEA2M3)The New School Tishman Environment and Design Center UPROSE West Harlem Environmental Action, Inc (WE ACT) Women's City Club of NY]
Anglo-Persian Oil Company (APOC) (British). This later became Anglo-Iranian Oil Company (AIOC), then British Petroleum, and then BP Amoco following a merger with Amoco (which in turn was formerly Standard Oil of Indiana). It is now known solely by the initials BP.
Standard Oil Co. of New York ("Socony"). This later became Mobil, which merged with Exxon to form ExxonMobil.
Standard Oil of California ("Socal"). This became Chevron, then, upon merging with Texaco, ChevronTexaco. It has since dropped the 'Texaco' suffix, returning to Chevron.
Gulf Oil. In 1985 most of Gulf became part of Chevron, with smaller parts becoming part of BP, and Cumberland Farms, in what was at that time the largest merger in world history. A network of stations in the northeastern United States still bears this name.
Texaco. Merged with Chevron in 2001. The merged company was known for a time as ChevronTexaco, but in 2005 it changed its name back to Chevron. Texaco remains as a Chevron brand name.
The New Seven Sisters, identified by the Financial Times (March 11, 2007) as the most influential and mainly state-owned national oil and gas companies from countries outside the OECD (Pemex of Mexico is excluded):