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Environment & Science

Advocates Push NYS To Take Next Step And Approve Funding Mechanism For Climate Act

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Advocates of the New York Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act of 2019 used the occasion of Earth Day to push for passage of the funding needed to meet the legislation’s ambitious green energy goals.  Among them are an 85% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 and 100% zero emissions electricity by 2040. 

Communications Coordinator with NY Renews Arielle Swernoff says the Climate and Community Investment Act, or CCIA would raise $10 to $15 billion a year from corporate polluters.

"It would invest the money into building out our renewable infrastructure and to creating good, green jobs into programs that are locally led and run by communities on the front lines of the crisis."

Those are areas that have borne the brunt of pollution from previous decades.  Swernoff says the CCIA has provisions that prevent polluters from passing on the costs to everyday New Yorkers, including rebates for residential consumers and strict limits on rate hikes from utilities.  She says there’s also a significant economic benefit.

"Our analysis shows about 150,000 directly created jobs, created and sustained over the first 10 years of this bill.  We're not talking about a 6 to 8 month constructon gig.  Because the CCIA includes incredibly strong labor standards, standards around prevailing wage and local hiring, these jobs are going to be good paying jobs."

She says they’re needed to build out solar and wind projects, as well as public transit and electric vehicle infrastructure.  Since climate change and its impacts don’t stop at state or even international borders, Swernoff says it’s critical that the federal government steps up and takes equally bold action like New York.  In fact, she says, the seeds have been planted.           

"In the CLPCA [Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act], 40% of climate and energy spending in New York has to be spent in communities most overburdened by pollution and the climate crisis.  You see that same language appear in President Biden's climate justice executive order."

Meanwhile, Climate and Community Investment Act is getting close to majority sponsorship in both houses of the state legislature, so she’s optimistic it’ll be passed this year.

STATE AND LOCAL EARTH DAY ACTIONS

Governor Cuomo marked Earth Day by announcing more than 20 large-scale renewable energy infrastructure projects will be under construction across the state this year, including the first utility-scale solar project in Upstate New York to enter the final phase of construction. These projects will create more than 2,000 jobs and spur nearly $1.5 billion in private investment to help stimulate the state's economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The state is also launching its fifth annual solicitation for large scale renewable projects to accelerate the rapid pace of clean energy development and combat climate change. This announcement advances progress toward New York's goal that 70 percent of the state's electricity come from renewable sources like wind and solar by 2030 as outlined in the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act.

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From left, Syracuse Mayor Ben Walsh, ESF President Joanie Mahoney, Alexa Labossiere, ESF Earth Week student coordinator; and County Executive Ryan McMahon

Closer to home, Syracuse Mayor Ben Walsh and Onondaga County Executive Ryan McMahon  joined SUNY ESF President Joanie Mahoney in celebrating SUNY ESF Day.  The Walsh and McMahon made a joint proclamation last year declaring every April 22nd to be Earth Day and SUNY ESF Day because of the college's contributions to local, state, and national environmental and sustainability efforts.