Friday, 29 March 2013 00:00
Greenhouse gas emissions on Long Island decreased in 2010 by nearly 10 percent from 2005 levels. This is according to studies by the Old Westbury-based New York Institute of Technology.
Students and faculty from the School of Engineering and Computing Sciences worked on the greenhouse gas emission inventory, known as the Long Island Carbon Footprint Project. As part of the study, funded by the Rauch Foundation, the NYIT group updated and improved a 2005 study conducted by another nonprofit organization and expanded the collection of data from numerous sectors, including transportation and other residential and commercial activities. They also classified the source of emissions generated through electricity, natural gas, fuel oil, gasoline, and diesel fuel.
The new results show a 9.75 percent drop in greenhouse gas emissions on Long Island. In both 2005 and 2010, the residential sector accounted for more than a third of emissions, with electricity consumption serving as the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions. Residential, commercial, and industrial emissions dropped from 2005 to 2010.
The researchers concluded that on a per capita level, each Long Islander reduced his or her carbon footprint by 9.78 percent between 2005 and 2010. The likely cause, they said, is the use of more energy efficient technology in homes and buildings.
The data collected by the NYIT group serves as a baseline for communities to assess their emission levels and track their progress in reducing emissions.
New York State, under an executive order, is working to reduce its greenhouse gas levels to 80 percent below the 1990 level by 2050.
The study received praise from numerous quarters.
“You can’t manage what you don’t measure, and therefore the first step of efforts to design strategies to reduce our carbon footprint must begin with solid measurements,” said Neal Lewis, executive director of the Sustainability Institute at Molloy College. “The NYIT Greenhouse Gas inventory project is providing that data and has already identified where some improvements have been achieved in the last few years.”
Gordian Raacke, executive director at Renewable Energy Long Island said the NYIT assessment showed encouraging trends.
“Now we need to plan and implement strategies to reach an 80 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions which scientists say must be met to avoid disastrous climate impacts,” said Raacke.
“NYIT’s Long Island Carbon Footprint Project supports LIPA’s continued and growing investments in energy efficiency and renewable technology which are contributing to the positive impact of reducing greenhouse gas emissions and the island’s carbon footprint, while growing green jobs and sustaining green businesses,” added LIPA’s Vice President of Environmental Affairs Michael J. Deering.