Today, the New York State Senate passed the strongest climate legislation in the nation as part of a three-way agreement with the Assembly and Governor Andrew Cuomo.
The Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act’s establishes a goal for the state to cut pollution to 85% below 1990 levels by 2050 and offset the remaining 15%, through measures that remove carbon-dioxide from the atmosphere.
The Act’s road to passage was the culmination of a multi-year effort, deeply rooted in climate justice, and widely supported and led by frontline community groups, environmental justice organizations, labor, environmental organizations including the Sierra Club and everyday New Yorkers who made their voices heard.
“Elections matter,” said Roger Downs, Sierra Club Atlantic Chapter Director. “Thanks to the new progressive shift in the Senate, led by Andrea Stewart-Cousins, the nation’s most aggressive climate justice legislation is about to become a reality. This legislation bridges the strength of the Governor’s current energy policies with Assembly speaker Carl Heasties’ passion for climate justice and combines the practicality of ‘knowing what we can accomplish’ with the obligation of ‘knowing what we must do.’
Downs added: “No single issue threatens New York like the climate crisis, and the legislature and Governor have responded. Beyond the growing frequency and intensity of severe weather events, New Yorkers will be facing the economic and social costs of dying oceans, agricultural blight, rapid changes to ecosystems, and rising sea levels.
This bold, historic legislation represents a framework by which New York can lead the nation and the world in addressing the climate crisis while building a clean energy economy that works for all New Yorkers.
The Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act:
- Sets the highest standards in the nation by mandating 85% greenhouse gas emissions reductions economy-wide by 2050, with incentives to reduce the impact of the last 15%;
- Mandates that New York sources 70% of its electricity from renewable sources, like wind and solar, by 2030, and achieves a 100% carbon-free electric sector by 2040;
- Codifies the Governor’s existing clean energy commitments, including a 3% utility energy efficiency target, 9 GW of offshore wind, 3 GW of energy storage and 6 GW of distributed solar;
- Invests 35% of state climate funds in frontline communities through efficiency, renewable energy, jobs programs and more;
- Requires an air quality monitoring program that protects disadvantaged communities and prohibits carbon offsets for the electric, transportation, and building sectors;
- Creates a framework by which the Department of Environmental Conservation, in consultation with the climate council and others, must craft regulations to implement emissions reduction targets across the economy, including the electric sector, performance standards for buildings, industry and other sectors, and transportation sector emissions reductions programs, including electrification
“The Sierra Club has been privileged to work with the over 180 environmental justice, social justice, and labor organizations that have brought this climate legislation to the forefront,” said Downs. “The Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act will only be as strong as we make it over the next decade. It’s an invitation for all of us to roll up our sleeves and make a fossil fuel-free future a reality.”