Report | Environment New York

Lighting the Way

Solar energy is booming. In just the last three years, America’s solar photovoltaic capacity tripled. In 2014, a third of the United States’ new installed electric capacity came from solar power.

Report | Environment New York Research and Policy Center

Summer Fun Index

Clean water is at the heart of summertime fun for many New Yorkers. We swim at a favorite creek, fish in a nearby river, sail or kayak on the lake, or simply hike along a beautiful stream. As the summer draws to a close, Environment New York Research & Policy Center’s second annual Summer Fun Index provides a numerical snapshot of people engaging in water activities.

Report | Environment New York Research and Policy Center

Path to the Paris Climate Conference

Report | Environment New York Research and Policy Center

Shining Rewards

Solar energy is on the rise in the United States. At the end of the first quarter of 2015, more than 21,300 megawatts of cumulative solar electric capacity had been installed around the country, enough to power more than 4.3 million homes. The rapid growth of solar energy in the United States is the result of forward-looking policies that are helping the nation reduce its contribution to global warming and expand its use of local renewable energy sources.

One policy in particular, net energy metering, has been instrumental in the growth of solar energy, particularly on homes and businesses. Net energy metering enables solar panel owners to earn fair compensation for benefits they provide to other users of the electricity grid, and makes “going solar” an affordable option for more people. Net energy metering works by providing customers a credit on their electric bill that offsets charges for energy consumption. As solar energy has taken off in recent years, however, utilities and other special interests have increasingly attacked net metering as an unjustified “subsidy” to solar users.

Report | Environment New York Research and Policy Center

Shelter from the Storm

In the summer of 1993, residents of the American Midwest experienced the most costly flood in the history of the United States. By the end of that summer, the Mississippi River in St. Louis was 20 feet above flood stage, and levee breaks in Illinois led to the inundation of thousands of acres of land. The flood claimed 48 lives and caused nearly $20 billion in damage.

In the aftermath of the flood, numerous studies were conducted to examine what had gone wrong and what could be done to prevent another flood of this scale. The conclusion: the decades spent building levees and dams to control Mississippi river flooding had actually debilitated our first line of defense against flooding – wetlands.

Scientists now know that wetlands are critical to the global water cycle. They are the kidneys of our national water system, cleaning out sediment and water pollution. They are home to numerous plant and animal species, supporting our nation’s biodiversity. They are also able to store vast amounts of water and are thus an important tool to protect America’s cities and towns from flooding.