In New York and other states across the country, communities are already experiencing the catastrophic effects of climate change, such as sea-level rise, severe storms, floods, wildfires, and rising temperatures.
To ensure a healthy future for all, it is critical that we transition away from a fossil-fuel economy.
Congress is working on doing just that. Rep. Donald McEachin (VA-4) recently introduced the 100% Clean Economy Act of 2019 (HR5221) to set a national goal of achieving net-zero pollution economy-wide by 2050.
The New York congressional delegation is supportive of the bill, with Rep. Paul Tonko an original sponsor and Rep. Yvette Clark, Rep. Eliot Engel, Rep. Adriano Espaillat, Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, Rep. Nita Lowey, Rep. Gregory Meeks, Rep. Grace Meng, Rep. Joseph Morelle, Rep. Jerrold Nadler, Rep. Jose Serrano, Rep. Thomas Suozzi, and Rep. Nydia Velazquez as original co-sponsors.
The bill would reduce pollution to combat climate change, create well-paying clean energy jobs and strengthen the economy, and mitigate the worst impacts of climate change for all communities.
The legislation builds on New York’s Climate Leadership & Community Protection Act by making carbon-neutrality by 2050 a national goal and would enhance pollution-reduction efforts by other governments.
To achieve carbon-neutrality, energy derived from fossil fuels would be replaced by wind, solar, and other clean sources of energy across all sectors of our economy, from transportation to manufacturing.
This bill would require federal agencies to use their authority to achieve the 100% clean energy economy goal, with the freedom to create a plan with the most appropriate actions to meet this goal. These actions could include regulations, incentives, and research. The legislation would require the EPA to evaluate each agency’s plan, recommend improvements, and make reports every year on progress made. It would also create an advisory committee of government officials and community groups to assess progress on the goals.
Because environmental justice communities are some of the most vulnerable to the effects of climate change, the bill includes guiding principles for federal agencies’ actions. Their plans should improve public health outcomes in low-income communities and communities of color, assure a just transition for workers by creating green jobs, and help communities prepare for the consequences of climate change.
NYLCV will continue to advocate for programs that reduce emissions on the federal and state level, as well as policies that ensure a just transition for all as part of the new clean energy economy.