Sierra Club NY, SUNY Host Panel Discussion On Decarbonization Of Planes, Trains, and Boats

Brian Kavanagh

April 30, 2024

Planes, trains & Boats

NEW YORK - Tomorrow, the Sierra Club and the State University of New York (SUNY) will host a panel discussion on the “planes, trains, and boats bill" (A2246/S2966), which is aimed at reducing the carbon emissions in New York’s transportation sector, with a focus on vehicles once thought too difficult or costly to decarbonize. The discussion will focus on how emerging technologies make all-electric airplanes, ferries, and transit trains possible and affordable and how the transition away from fossil-fueled transportation will create thousands of new manufacturing jobs in New York. The panel will include a variety of experts, from lawmakers to industry leaders, who will each share their perspectives on how New York can transform the transportation sector with these innovative, zero-emissions vehicles. Audience members will have a chance to ask questions after the discussion.

When: Thursday, April 25, 2024 at 5:30 p.m. ET

Where: Zoom (link below) or in-person at the SUNY Global Center,  116 E 55th St, New York, NY 10022


SUNY Zoom Link 


  • Senator Brian Kavanagh
  • Assemblymember Jo Anne Simon
  • Per Stromhaug, Associate Vice President for Economic Development, Binghamton University
  • Jeff Engler, Founder and CEO, Wright Electric
  • Scott Sherin, Chief Commercial Officer, Alstom Americas
  • Clare Newman, President and CEO, Trust for Governors Island


In advance of the event, event participants released the following statements -

Senator Brian Kavanaugh, sponsor of S2966:

"As we work to decarbonize virtually all activities as rapidly as we can, we know that aircrafts, ferries and other watercrafts, and trains present special challenges, but we also see promising opportunities as technologies advance. As the Senate sponsor of bill S2966, I am thrilled to be part of this important conversation on how New York can set standards, provide incentives and infrastructure, and lay out ambitious timelines to achieve zero- or near-zero-emissions for watercrafts, aircrafts, and trains. Together, we can create a cleaner and more sustainable future for New York and perhaps inspire other jurisdictions to follow suit."

Assemblymember Jo Anne Simon, sponsor of A2246:

"As we mark Earth Week, we must do everything in our power to address the climate crisis and protect our planet. Our transportation sector is one of the largest emitters of greenhouse gasses, but we can reverse this trend and transition towards a greener transportation future. I sponsor the Advanced Transportation Bill, which ensures that watercraft, aircraft, and trains are zero-emission. I’m glad to join the Sierra Club and SUNY for a panel exploring timely solutions for reducing carbon emissions from transportation.” 

Wayne Arden, Vice Chair, Sierra Club NYC Group:

 “The three market segments of the planes, trains, and boats bill, A2246/S2966, are all benefitting from rapid technological change in battery and electric system technologies. In each segment, NYS has relative strengths to leverage. In aviation, we have two of the nation’s busiest airports and tens of commercial flight destinations within about an hour’s flight. In trains, NYS has the nation’s largest commuter rail system and is the leading manufacturing site for passenger trains in the country. In watercraft, NYS offers boatbuilders the U.S.’ largest passenger ferry market, two international ports, and diverse waterways: the Atlantic Ocean, two Great Lakes, the Hudson River and the Canal System, and thousands of lakes. This bill positions NYS to take advantage of technological change and to leverage its strengths, creating good-paying jobs with the added virtue of reducing transportation emissions.”

Carter Strickland, Chief Sustainability Officer and Executive Director of Climate Action, State University of New York: 
“SUNY has an all-hands-on-deck sustainability strategy, including converting our buildings and fleets from fossil fuels to electricity, advancing research on innovative renewable energy, storage, and materials technology, and providing climate education and hands-on training for our students.  We are looking forward to hosting a discussion on the important topic of how to best decarbonize the transportation sector.”

Jeff Engler, founder and CEO, Wright Electric:

“As New York State strides forward with this visionary transportation initiative, Wright Electric stands prepared to contribute to this transformative journey. Through our dedication to pioneering new technologies, we aim to fortify the state’s infrastructure, facilitating the transition with innovative solutions. Our commitment to decarbonizing air travel aligns seamlessly with the Climate Leadership and Protection Act (CLCPA) emission reduction goals. In addition, by embracing zero-emissions flight, New York State can be a catalyst for less expensive airline flights and improved service to its many commercial airports. Together, we forge ahead, united in our mission to shape a greener, more resilient future for all.”

Scott Sherin, Chief Commercial Office, Alstom Americas: 

“Alstom is deeply committed to leading climate-resilient and low-carbon strategies to enable a sustainable global transport system. Passenger rail has been a leader in transitioning to clean transit in New York State for decades, and we’re excited to see other modes of transportation joining this effort to make the transition. Building on our decades of experience advancing mobility solutions for zero-emission and electric rail around the world, we are excited to share our expertise and be part of the discussion around electrifying transit in New York State and beyond. We thank the Sierra Club for including Alstom in this discussion.”

Clare Newman, President and CEO, Trust for Governors Island: 

“Helping communities manage the impact of climate change will take collaboration on an unprecedented scale,” said Clare Newman, President and CEO of the Trust for Governors Island. “We’re honored to join leaders who are taking innovative approaches to address this global crisis in New York, and I look forward to sharing progress on our work on Governors Island to expand research and training opportunities through the Center for Climate Solutions.”

Roger Downs, Conservation Director, Sierra Club Atlantic Chapter: 

“When the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA) was enacted in 2019, the legislature did not account for significant emission reductions in three transportation market segments: planes, trains, and boats. However, marked emission reductions can now be achieved, which would increase the odds that the CLCPA meets its targets and indeed reduces greenhouse gas emissions at least 85% below 1990 levels by 2050. Carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide emissions are all rising. If A2246/S2966 is passed, then NYS can make significant progress in reducing transportation emissions over the next ten years. We should seize the initiative.”

About the Sierra Club

The Sierra Club is America’s largest and most influential grassroots environmental organization, with millions of members and supporters. In addition to protecting every person's right to get outdoors and access the healing power of nature, the Sierra Club works to promote clean energy, safeguard the health of our communities, protect wildlife, and preserve our remaining wild places through grassroots activism, public education, lobbying, and legal action. For more information, visit

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