Paterson Wants New York to Slash Greenhouse Gases

After a 10-month study, Gov. David A. Paterson is leaving his successor an ambitious environmental plan to reduce New York’s greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent by the middle of the century.

The plan, released in draft form on Tuesday, calls for doubling the state’s sources of renewable energy by 2030, setting stricter efficiency standards for all buildings, shifting private transportation toward electric vehicles and supporting the creation of jobs in research on energy technology and in clean energy industries.

The long-term plan, assembled with the help of more than 100 experts from energy companies, utilities and labor and environmental groups, came out of a directive that Mr. Paterson signed in August 2009, setting the 80 percent goal for reductions in emissions in the heat-trapping greenhouse gases.

Administration officials said they hoped that Governor-elect Andrew M. Cuomo would use it as a guide in promoting a shift to clean energy. The plan is generally in line with the energy policy that Mr. Cuomo laid out during his campaign. Both Mr. Paterson and Mr. Cuomo are Democrats.

The document is a blueprint not just for reducing emissions but also for expanding the state economy, officials said.

“Transitioning to clean energy means more than driving a zero-emission car,” Mr. Paterson said in remarks prepared for an energy research conference on Tuesday in New York City. “It also means manufacturing that car right here in New York, employing New York workers, driving the New York economy and building New York’s tax base.”

A combination of state policymaking and public and private investment would be needed to halt the rise in emissions in the state — they rose 2 percent from 1990 to 2008, the report notes — and to reduce them by 40 percent by 2030 and 80 percent by midcentury.

“What’s being released is a very accurate plan to achieve emissions reductions and economic growth,” said Peter M. Iwanowicz, Mr. Paterson’s adviser on the environment and the acting chief of the State Department of Environmental Conservation.

Public comments on the document, at nyclimatechange.us/InterimReport.cfm, are being accepted for 90 days.

The governor’s plan contrasts with his recent decisions to significantly cut the budget and staff of the Department of Environmental Conservation. Objections raised by the department’s previous chief, Alexander B. Grannis, led to Mr. Grannis’s dismissal last month.

The governor has also dipped into a state environmental fund, intended to finance programs to cut emissions, to help close the state’s budget deficit.

But administration officials maintain that those actions should not tarnish his environmental credentials.

“We’re operating right now in a fiscal crisis like we’ve never seen before,” said Morgan Hook, a spokesman for Mr. Paterson. “What that requires is that everybody makes sacrifices. These are choices the governor had to make, not the choices he wants.”

Robert Moore, executive director of Environmental Advocates of New York, a group based in Albany that helped draft the environmental plan, condemned the budget cuts last month, saying that the Department of Environmental Conservation suffered disproportionately.

Mr. Moore offered praise for the environmental plan, however, suggesting that Mr. Cuomo could draw on the research and goals in the document to draft his own plans for tackling climate change through state regulation and other programs.

“They want to do something that’s strong and robust, and that’s a real commitment,” he said of the new administration. “They can start borrowing from this blueprint immediately.”

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