June 19, 2019 By Laura Hanrahan
The State Assembly passed a radical climate change bill Wednesday that would see the elimination of most of the state’s greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.
The legislation, passed by the senate on Tuesday, is expected to soon be signed into law by Governor Andrew Cuomo, who called the plan “the most aggressive climate change program in the United States of America.”
“Today marks a historic day for New York State in the fight against climate change,” Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins said yesterday. “As our leaders in Washington fail to take action, New York needs to lead in this time of great crises for our planet.”
The bill, titled the Climate Leadership And Community Protection Act, calls for 70 percent of the state’s electricity to come from renewable sources such as wind and solar by 2030, and to shift entirely to emission-free power by 2040.
When the bill is signed, New York will join the ranks of California, New Mexico, Colorado, Washington and Nevada who have also passed legislation codifying their goal of 100 percent renewable energy by 2050 or sooner.
“Dealing with the perils of climate change is the issue of our time and by passing the CCPA, New York is playing a leading role in securing our future,” said Senate Deputy Leader Michael Gianaris, who represents Astoria, Long Island City, Sunnyside and parts of Woodside, Ridgewood, Maspeth, and Woodhaven.
The New York legislation would also see the creation of a 22-member Climate Action Council as well as a climate justice working group that will include representatives from environmental justice groups and several state agencies. The council, which will be comprised of top state officials, will be responsible for providing recommendations for how to meet the legislation’s goals.
The bill additionally calls for flooding hundreds of millions of dollars into communities that have been most affected by pollution and other industrial byproducts, as well as communities most at risk of the negative effects of climate change.
“I am proud to be a co-sponsor on such a vital piece of legislation that will drastically reduce New York State’s greenhouse gas emissions by 2050,” said State Senator Joseph P. Addabbo, Jr., who represents a large stretch of western Queens from Maspeth to the Rockaways. “Protecting our environment is one of the most important things we must do, and the Rockaways in my district are already leading the way in renewable energy with plans for an offshore windfarm. I look forward to seeing this bold action and these attainable goals come to fruition, and thank everyone who supported it from the beginning.”