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New York Raises the Bar on Climate Action

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The New York State Assembly, Senate, and Governor Cuomo have reached agreement on historic, nation-leading climate legislation. The newly updated Climate and Community Protection Act (CCPA) will set the state on a path to net zero emissions while helping to achieve equity for historically marginalized communities that are disproportionately impacted by climate change.

By adopting a bill that aggressively fights climate change while also prioritizing equity, New York is raising the bar for states in the face of federal backsliding on climate. It starkly demonstrates the power of elections, having been supported by a newly-elected senate majority in the New York State Senate after a prior version of the bill passed in the Assembly each of the past three years only to stall in the senate. It gained traction due to the powerful advocacy of the New York Renews coalition, an array of over 180 organizations that conceived the bill’s core concepts and demanded climate justice.

Three Key Pillars of New York’s New Climate Framework – The CCPA

The bill establishes a comprehensive framework to fight climate change. Its nation-leading components include:

  • Slashing Climate Pollution at a Stiff Clip: A binding economy-wide target of 85 percent greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reductions from 1990 levels by 2050, coupled with a plan to achieve net-zero emissions by utilizing carbon sinks such as sustainable forestry practices;
  • The Engine for the Transition – A Clean, Efficient Electric Sector: A requirement to supply 70 percent of the state’s electricity needs with renewable sources like wind and solar by 2030 and achieve 100 percent GHG emissions-free electricity supply by 2040, as well as codification of New York’s bold targetsfor energy efficiency, offshore wind, solar and energy storage;
  • Equity is Front and Center: Several provisions to prioritize equity in fighting climate, including a requirement that 35-40 percent of the benefits of the state's clean energy program go to “disadvantaged communities” (historically marginalized communities disproportionately impacted by pollution and climate change), meaningful engagement from environmental justice and labor representatives in the state’s climate planning process, and establishment of a new community air monitoring program. 

Let’s Get to Work!

The Climate and Community Protection Act was shepherded through Albany by the leadership of Assembly and Senate Environmental Conservation Committee chairs Steve Englebright and Todd Kaminsky, Assembly Speaker Heastie, and Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, and a deal was reached with strong engagement from Governor Cuomo. The cooperation of New York’s leaders sets a new gold standard for states, whose actions are ever-more critical to fight climate change as the Trump Administration ignores the looming climate catastrophe and works to dismantle bedrock environmental protections. We look forward to working with the newly created 22-member Climate Action Council, New York’s agencies and stakeholders in implementing this historic legislation.

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