Calling it “the most ambitious proposal in the country to limit emissions and protect communities from pollution and other environmental degradation,” NYS Senator Joseph P. Addabbo, Jr. spoke of the passage of legislation he co-sponsored, known as the “Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act,” before an audience of environmentally-minded individuals to kickoff the New York Energy Week event held in Manhattan.
“In a nutshell, this legislation (S.6599) seeks to achieve a target of 70 percent renewable electricity by 2030, 100 percent carbon-free electricity by 2040, and economy-wide net zero emissions by 2050,” said Addabbo. “What this means for all of us in New York State is that we are a national leader in fighting back against climate change, addressing over-reliance on fossil fuels, dramatically reducing harmful emissions, and providing a cleaner and greener environment both today and for future generations.”
The overall plan for achieving these emissions and community environmental justice goals will be spearheaded by Climate Action Council, comprised of relevant state agency heads and members appointed by the Governor, Senate and Assembly. This Council will include advisory panels for specific sectors of the economy, including agriculture, housing, energy efficiency, transportation and local governments.
A permanent Environmental Justice Advisory Group is also created to work with the Climate Action Council to ensure that the needs of disadvantaged communities most at risk of being harmed by pollution and climate change are addressed. A Climate Justice Working Group will coordinate with all of these entities to define and determine the location of disadvantaged communities throughout the state, which will receive new state resources to address environmental and public health risks. An air monitoring program will be developed to help ensure high air quality standards in these areas.
“New York State residents will have ample opportunity to weigh in on the overall comprehensive plan being created by the Climate Action Council, which will hold six public hearings throughout New York to gather input on the project,” said Addabbo. “Once the emissions reduction scoping plan is in place, the Council will issue a comprehensive report every four years on New York’s greenhouse gas emissions and the state’s progress in fulfilling the promise of the law. The plan may then be revised as needed to reach these legally enforceable goals of emissions reductions.”
The bill, which is expected to be signed into law by Governor Cuomo in the coming days, also calls for the development of 9,000 megawatts of offshore wind energy by 2035, 6,000 megawatts of solar energy by 2025, and a 23 percent increase in energy efficiency.
“We have a lot to be excited about with the passage of the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act,” Addabbo concluded. “We will be protecting our air, land and water from further degradation. We will be boosting our economy with the creation of new green jobs and attracting forward-looking companies that want to do business in a state that cares about its people, environment and future. And we will be writing ourselves and future generations a cleaner bill of health.”