Cuomo Talks Climate At NYU, Challenges Universities To Go Green With $1 Million Prize

Under the leadership of State energy czar Richard Kauffman, Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Basil Seggos Public Service Commission chair Audrey Zibelman, New York Power Authority head Gil Quiniones, and New York State Energy Research and Development Authority head John Rhodes, New York has been making incredible strides on renewable energy, energy efficiency, and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

All of these individuals were in attendance at New York University on Friday afternoon to watch their boss, Governor Cuomo, give an impassioned speech touting the work his administration has been doing to take on climate change. Cuomo has been consistently out in front talking about climate change as a reality after the state was battered by three one-hundred year floods in his first term alone. The state has made significant investments in resiliency and storm hardening to protect ourselves from future severe weather.

But Friday was the first time Governor Cuomo gave a speech specifically on the other side of climate change: mitigation. With the recently released State Energy Plan, the Reforming the Energy Vision, and the creation of the NY Green Bank, New York has major initiatives to spur large scale renewables, allow for the creation of smart microgrids, and encourage public-private partnerships on efficiency that are literally leading the nation. New York has also been a major participant in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, a highly successful cap and trade program among states in the northeast, that is now the model on which President Obama’s Clean Power Plan was built.

The hook for his speech at NYU was Know Tomorrow‘s youth day of action on climate change. It gave the governor the perfect opportunity to announce his state-funded contest that will award $1 million apiece to the three New York-based universities that make the most progress on campus energy efficiency, renewable energy installation and greenhouse gas reduction. This small but important step is a microcosm of the many initiatives Cuomo’s team is working on to spur focus and innovation that will drive a 21st century energy policy.

NYLCV looks forward to continuing to work closely with the Governor and his staff on implementing the Reforming the Energy Vision and we are excited to join them for additional announcements in the coming weeks. It is imperative that Governor Cuomo leads the state toward dramatic action on climate change. And he is.