New York State’s new climate bill, while not perfect and still leaves the disadvantaged in limbo, is only ambitious if you think not addressing Climate Change on a scale and time frame that matters is an option. Anything less than addressing this Climate Change crisis as a crisis is a crisis.
New York Passes Ambitious Climate Bill, Aiming to Meet Paris Targets The state legislation drew widespread praise for its goals, but also concerns that it fell short on support for disadvantaged communities New York lawmakers approved one of the most aggressive climate policies in the world early Thursday, requiring net zero emissions for all sectors of the state's economy by mid-century. The Climate Leadership and Communities Protection Act requires New York to get all of its electricity from carbon-free energy sources by 2040 and then reach net zero emissions by 2050. The final version of the bill, if signed by Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo as expected, would make the state one of the few major jurisdictions globally with legally binding emissions reduction targets that meet goals set by the Paris climate agreement. "It clearly puts New York among the frontrunners both in the United States and globally in terms of climate policy ambitions," said Jesse Jenkins, a researcher at Harvard University's Center for the Environment. (June 20, 2019) Inside Climate News [more on Climate Change in our area]
We should be proud to live in a state that is making such headway to address Climate Change, while our federal government takes a stance against this crisis.
Yes, many climate deniers will carp about addressing a crisis they still don’t believe exists—and the possible inconvenience to their lives this new law may cause them. It a shame that so many people haven’t bothered to do their homework on the existential crisis of our age. And many environmental groups did not get all they asked for, politics being what it is.
But here we are: “New York to Approve One of the World’s Most Ambitious Climate Plans” (June 18, 2019 The New York Times). Take a deep breath and run your mind back a couple of decades over the journey it has taken for New York to arrive at this place. Much has happened to our environment and changed in people’s attitudes toward our environment.
It took a lot of people (I myself took a bus to Albany with many others to push this legislation through the NYS Assembly) and a lot of time. From one point of view, it’s an amazing achievement given the craven efforts by so many to deny what we’ve been doing to our climate. From another point of view, given what is needed to bring down greenhouse gas emission on a scale and timeframe that will matter, the new NYS climate bill is pretty milquetoast. It’s not enough, it’s late, and New York is only one state in a world with many states and nations—but at least we are waking up.
To make sure that this bill is as good as it can get, get involved. How? Well, for starters the new NYS climate bill gives you a chance to weigh in on how your state manages our future: “Once the state council is set, it will be required to hold six public hearings — three downstate, three upstate — before issuing a draft plan.”
What New York's new climate change law means for you New York is poised to set some of the nation's most-aggressive benchmarks to cut down on climate change as part a wide-ranging bill lawmakers approved this week. Gov. Andrew Cuomo has vowed to sign the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act into law, which would set a statewide goal to reach net-zero greenhouse-gas emissions by 2050. On Thursday, Cuomo called climate change the "issue of our generation," praising the bill as a bona fide plan to go green. "It's not a goal," Cuomo said on WAMC-FM in Albany. "It's a goal plus an action plan based in reality that we are implementing today." Critics say the ambitious climate bill could lead to higher costs and negatively impact businesses who have to compete against those who don't face stringent climate mandates. "We need to get this right to avoid a potential shipwreck," said Darren Suarez, senior director of government affairs for the state Business Council. (June 20, 2019) Democrat and Chronicle [more on Climate Change in our area]
The Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act is but another step in a process towards addressing a worldwide crisis of our own making. We will either move away from life or towards it. We’ll either act sufficiently or we won’t and then we’ll have to try and adapt to the consequences.
If the consensus view is that the state is overstepping its authority and negatively meddling with our lives, then maybe there will be a big political backlash against this law, and we’ll get our own Trump. Then, we’ll see how fast Climate Change can overwhelm us.
Check out this excellent local discussion of the merits and flaws of this new law:
Connections: Discussing New York's Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act New York State passed a climate action bill this week, much to the surprise of some advocates who had feared that it would stall. So what’s in it? Our guests discuss the surprise success of the bill, and what New Yorkers can expect from the most aggressive anti-carbon plan in the country. (June 22, 2019) Connections [more on Climate Change in our area]