NYSERDA’s Climate Change Research

Global average temperatures are rising and climatic patterns are changing as more carbon dioxide, methane, and other greenhouse gases enter the atmosphere. Climate change, also known as global warming, represents a serious threat to people and ecosystems around the world. Climate change is already underway in New York State, and it is affecting its forests, beaches, cities, businesses, and farmlands. NYSERDA is tackling the challenges of climate change through research, technology development, and deployment of renewable and energy-efficient technologies.

How Climate Change Affects New York State

Across New York State, average temperatures are increasing. Heavy rain events and heat waves have become more frequent and longer. Along the coastline, sea levels are rising. Scientists predict that in New York State and elsewhere, these changes will continue and accelerate. Past climate experience is no longer a reliable guide to the future.

In New York State, climate change is already having a profound impact on society, the economy, and natural ecosystems. The agricultural growing season is fluctuating. Coastal and inland flooding is happening more often. Populations of plants and wildlife are changing.

What NYSERDA Is Doing About Climate Change

NYSERDA works to help New York's environment by minimizing the impacts of generating and using energy. Many of NYSERDA’s programs focus on getting energy from renewable sources and encouraging energy efficiency and conservation. That is because greenhouse gas emissions from energy production are the primary cause of climate change.

NYSERDA also conducts research related to climate change mitigation and adaptation. NYSERDA’s Environmental Research Program supports research specifically to:

  • Evaluate the potential of mitigation strategies (energy efficiency and renewable energy) to reduce greenhouse gas emissions
  • Assess climate change impacts and adaptation strategies (preparing for the current and projected climate changes)
  • Conduct research and analysis on climate change policies in New York State.

To help better understand and prepare for the impacts of climate change, NYSERDA supports adaptation research projects. NYSERDA’s ClimAID Report contains climate projections (updated in 2014), impacts and vulnerabilities, and potential adaptation strategies for a range of sectors across the State. To help fill in knowledge gaps related to adapting to climate change, NYSERDA releases competitive solicitations to address some of those needs. Read descriptions of funded research projects [PDF]. Completed projects  are documented in final project reports.

Through a stakeholder-driven process, NYSERDA also identifies critical climate change research gaps and needs for New York State. NYSERDA compiles a research planning document approximately every five years.

Other New York State Groups Working on Climate Change

Numerous New York State agencies, initiatives, municipalities, and not-for-profit organizations are working to address climate change by promoting mitigation and adaptation activities, including: