Momentum Grows for Climate Action

Momentum is building to pass climate change legislation as the end of this legislative session approaches this week.

State Legislators are currently negotiating the Climate and Community Protection Act, which aims to shift New York towards a greener economy, moving away from fossil fuels and providing new jobs, particularly in frontline communities that will be the hardest hit by climate change and that have experienced the worst impacts of pollution. The talks include portions of the Climate Leadership Act, which was proposed by Governor Andrew Cuomo in his Executive Budget earlier this year. The strongest elements of both bills can be combined into a nation-leading climate bill that would cap an extraordinarily successful legislative session for the environment.

The CCPA was first introduced in 2016 and has passed the State Assembly every year since but stalled in the State Senate. With new leadership in the Senate, New York has an opportunity to move forward with the most progressive climate legislation in the nation this session.   

NYLCV joined Natural Resources Defense Council, The Nature Conservancy, Citizens Campaign for the Environment, Audubon NY, and Riverkeeper in calling for legislation that dramatically decreases pollution in the economy and shifts New York towards clean power and carbon neutrality. The groups sent a memo to legislators, asking them to pass climate legislation that codifies the State’s goal of 100% clean power by 2040, includes a plan that will lead New York to economy-wide carbon-neutrality by 2050, and includes a just transition for communities disproportionately impacted by climate change.

If the legislation passes, it will put New York at the front of the fight against climate change and set an example for the rest of the nation. The legislation aims to reduce emissions in every sector of the economy. Other states have set goals to reduce emissions, but only in some sectors of the economy. For example, California has achieved its target of reducing emissions from the electricity sector, but is now facing the challenge of growing transportation pollution.

NYLCV and the coalition of environmental groups recently met in Albany for a press conference calling for comprehensive climate change legislation before the end of this legislative session. The attendees ranged from politicians to advocates to actors. They included Environmental Conservation Committee Chairs Senator Todd Kaminsky and Assemblyman Steve Englebright, Homeland actor Tim Guinee and Blacklist actress Megan Boone.

Later, Senator Kaminsky and Assemblyman Englebright joined WNYC’s The Brian Lehrer Show to discuss the CCPA’s current status. NYLCV President Julie Tighe and The Nature Conservancy’s Jessica Ottney Mahar joined WCNY’s Capitol Pressroom to discuss why it’s important to pass a strong bill this session and which amendments to include.

You can help by telling your representatives to pass climate legislation this session.