New York is leading the way on climate policy, but we must make more significant investments to address the climate crisis.
I am fighting to ensure a livable future for our planet and for New Yorkers. Climate change is already having devastating and profound effects on the planet and New Yorkers are also being harmed by pollutants in our air and water. As is the case on too many issues in our society, the burdens from these challenges fall most heavily on Black, Indigenous, and Brown communities across New York.
What We’ve Accomplished
In 2019 we enacted the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act, which is a big step towards dramatically reducing New York State’s carbon emissions and protecting communities most threatened by climate change. It is the boldest climate change bill passed by any state in the nation. This bill also cleans up our air, bringing down asthma rates in places like the Bronx. I’m proud to be part of a majority that puts the health of our communities and the safety of future generations above all else. The law establishes a 22-member climate action council tasked with preparing a scoping plan to achieve an 85% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, with the goal of achieving a 100% reduction thereafter.
Where We Need to Go
New York must be a net-zero carbon emissions state as soon as possible. While the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act requires New York’s electric grid to be fully carbon-free by 2040 and net carbon-zero by 2050, we must get there faster.
Not only must we do it, there is also an enormous economic opportunity for New York in addressing the climate crisis. We must partner with our world-class research universities and flourishing startup ecosystem to make New York a key national and international hub for climate R&D so that we can increase energy efficiency, expand renewable energy availability, improve energy storage and batteries, and develop scalable carbon capture technology.
New York must also do the difficult work of crafting a positive vision for what our cities and livelihoods look like over the next three to four decades, as we adapt to the realities of addressing this crisis. This will be a time that requires true leadership – maintaining both hope and dedication, amidst growing disasters and conflicts emerging around the world.
Finally, we must also address pollutants and pass my bill with Assemblywoman Septimo establishing standards for, and limits on, the emissions of toxic air contaminants, and creating a community benefit fund through the enforcement of those limits. We must pass Senator Jackson’s bill introducing a constitutional amendment that establishes the right to clean air and water and a healthful environment. We must also pass my bill requiring petroleum tanks be painted white, which will reduce evaporation of harmful toxins.
New York should follow the model of many other states, including Pennsylvania and Massachusetts, and pass constitutional protections to ensure access to clean air and water are fundamental rights for all New Yorkers. Clean air and water are racial justice issues and we must ensure every New Yorker has access to a healthy environment.