Setting Ambitious Goals on Climate is Only Half the Battle

Why You Should be Paying Attention to the New York State Climate and Community Protection Act

The call for climate action transcends regional boundaries, political affiliations, age, race and ethnicity, religion, and socio-economic status. We’ve all seen the havoc a supposed thousand-year storm can wreak on our communities. If we are to protect New Yorkers in the long run and set an example for the nation and the world, we must act boldly and swiftly. A bill to do just that has been gaining significant momentum in the legislature. It seeks to address climate change by codifying our already established goals and helping make sure New York State stays on track to achieve them.

The New York State Climate & Community Protection Act passed through the Assembly with ease but stalled in the Senate despite bipartisan support from 32 members, a majority of chamber. The bill gained significant momentum in the final days of session with an extra boost from Newsday and the Albany Times Union. You can be sure that this isn’t the last you will hear about it as climate will undoubtedly be an issue in the fall campaigns. NYLCV and our allies will pick back up on this legislation when the new legislature returns to Albany in 2017.

There is a lot included in the bill and it’s a rather complex piece of legislation. The key, however, is that it establishes aggressive mandates for ramping up the use of clean, renewable energy, and reducing climate pollution that harms our public health, environment, and economy. The bill not only codifies New York’s strong climate and clean energy goals – it also sets clear and accountable mandates for doing so equitably across all sectors of the economy, prioritizing environmental justice and the creation of good, sustainable jobs across the state.

Getting to an 80 percent reduction in emissions by 2050 is a daunting goal. The only way we can achieve it is through creating implementation plans that allow us to accomplish what is achievable now, keep us on the right track, and ramp up progress as time goes along.

The New York State Climate and Community Protection Act seeks to help ensure that New York’s economy will be powered by 100% clean, renewable energy in less than 34 years, establishing New York as a true global leader on climate action and demonstrating how embracing challenges and opportunities with aggressive action can deliver a more just and equitable economy.

As we look to build on the great work the Governor is doing through the State Energy Plan and the Reforming the Energy Vision Initiative, we look forward to working together with our allies and our members to hold us all accountable for doing our part in the greatest environmental challenge of our time.