ITHACA, N.Y. – Robert Howarth, the David R. Atkinson Professor of Ecology and Environmental Biology, has been appointed to the new Climate Action Council, an exclusive 22-member group created to bring about New York state’s ambitious path to reach net zero greenhouse gas emissions and promote green energy. Howarth is one of three people on the 22-member group appointed by Carl Heastie, speaker of the New York State Assembly
The CLCPA mandates a 40% reduction in all greenhouse gas emissions across New York state by 2030; an 85% reduction in greenhouse gas reduction by 2050; and 100% renewable electricity production by 2040. The new law will require updated accounting for methane emissions, a strong driver of atmospheric warming. That updated accounting was recommended based on Howarth’s research.
“New York’s climate law is quite progressive. We’re right up there in terms of what any nation in the world is doing,” Howarth said. “It’s very ambitious, and it is what the world needs if we’re going to meet the United Nations’ climate targets of keeping Earth’s atmosphere well below the 2 degrees Celsius rise over pre-industrial average temperature levels.”
Howarth envisions his council role as bringing technical expertise. “We are going to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 40% 10 years from now, and by 85% by 2050,” he said. “That’s great, but how this is done is not really clear to anyone yet. The council’s job is to lay out precisely how to do that.”