End Dirty, Toxic Coal Burning in New York State

Target: Governor of New York State, Andrew Cuomo

Goal: End the burning of coal for energy in order to meet carbon emission reduction targets to mitigate global warming.

The U.S. state of New York gets most of its energy—especially electricity—from nuclear power and natural gas. However, according to the U. S. Energy Information Administration, as of 2014, 64.7 trillion BTUs of energy in New York is still generated by burning coal.

This amount may seem paltry in comparison to the state’s total energy output, which is beyond a thousand trillion BTUs—but that’s no excuse for inaction. Regardless of the state’s current coal-generated energy output, it is time to demand that, in regards to this climate-damaging fuel, New York “goes big or goes home.” Coal has no future in a world that must have a low carbon output in order to protect a stable climate for all living creatures on Earth. The United Nations IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) has repeatedly made clear that humanity has a small carbon emissions “budget” with which to work, meaning that fossil fuel use must come to an end as soon as possible to avoid catastrophic anthropogenic interference in the climate system.

In 2014, New York state’s carbon emissions amounted to 170 million metric tons. And while New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has pledged the state will meet its emissions reductions targets of 40 percent by 2030 and 80 percent by 2050, the process of emissions reduction can, and should, be fast-tracked. There is no time to waste when it comes to the future habitability of our planet.

So let’s get that number—”170 million”—as near as possible to zero, and sooner rather than later, by closing in on the state’s remaining coal-fired power plants. While it is already planned to convert many of these into gas-burning plants, one or two remain open as coal-burning stations.

We demand a final end to all coal use in New York State.


Dear Governor Cuomo,

Your efforts to lower your state’s carbon emissions are admirable. However, given the urgency of further reducing these emissions in order to protect the long-term habitability of the planet, New York State should “go the extra mile” and establish itself as a true leader in the climate change. This means banning all coal-based power within the next year or several years.

Renewable energy is quickly becoming cost-competitive with fossil fuels. Considering the fact that, given the world’s carbon budget, much of this fuel must be left in the ground, it only makes sense as a long-term investment for New York and other states to switch to energy like wind and solar which is renewable over much longer periods of time.

Please pressure policymakers in your state to consider a near-term ban on coal burning in New York State.

Thank you.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: Monika P.

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One Comment

  1. The use of coal definitely needs to go. But New York’s use of nuclear power and gas is just as bad as coal. The waste from nuclear power plants is extremely dangerous and impossible to safely dispose of.
    New York needs to switch to safe and renewable energy sources.

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