Photo by Gabriele Holterman
Queens Borough President Donovan Richards joined several members of the New York City Council in introducing a resolution supporting the Climate Action Council Scope Plan on May 19.
In the resolution, Richards and board members called on the Climate Action Council (CAC) and Governor Kathy Hochul to fully implement the clean energy and zero greenhouse gas emission reduction standards of the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA).
Passed in 2019, the CLCPA is nationally considered to have the strongest greenhouse gas reduction requirements in the nation, including a commitment for New York to achieve a net-zero carbon economy by 2050 and a 100% zero-emissions electricity sector by 2040. The current CAC holding statewide hearings in preparation to develop a final scoping plan that will guide the regulatory, legislative and budgetary actions New York will take to achieve this goal.
According to Richards, the future of the CLCPA and the state’s clean energy agenda has been threatened by powerful fossil fuel companies spending millions of dollars to undermine the state’s climate and environmental justice mandate. Because of these concerns, a resolution, entitled “Climate Plan to Protect New York,” was made to demonstrate that the Council’s authoritative voice—as representative of the city’s more than 8 million residents—is still behind the full implementation of the CLCPA and to call on the CAC and Governor Hochul to ensure that clean energy, climate justice and climate change policy targets are met.
“Climate change is not a threat to the future,” Richards said. “From Superstorm Sandy to Hurricane Ida and beyond, climate change has ravaged this region more than once. Implementing and fully funding the historic Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act will not only ensure New York’s place as a global leader in sustainability and renewable energy, it will save lives and protect our community from future storms.”
According to Richards, nearly 70% of New York City’s electricity is currently generated by burning dirty fossil fuels and low-income communities and people of color bear the unfair burden of pollution. The resolution is meant to send a message that climate change is a real and tangible threat to the health and sustainability of the people of cities and the country must keep its promises by meeting the CLCPA’s clean energy goals.
There are four main provisions in the resolution:
- Decarbonization of New York City’s building stock will require an aggressive push toward large-scale building electrification, widespread equitable access to air sources and geothermal heat pumps and energy efficiency upgrades and retrofits.
- The Scope Plan should include recommendations to support all newly built buildings going all-electric by 2024, full electrification of building stockpiles statewide and discontinuation of marketing and incentives for gas and fuel oil.
- New or refurbished fossil-fuel power plants may not be permitted in New York.
- Recommendations from the State’s Climate Justice and Transitional Justice Working Group and frontline environmental justice leaders should be incorporated into the final recommendations for the Scope Plan, including year-over-year targets for a transition to zero-emissions electricity, widespread electrification of transport and improved transit, growth smart, and reduced vehicle mileage (VMT) through expanding bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure.
Richards joins City Councilors Lincoln Restler, James Gennaro, Shahana Hanif, Carmen De La Rosa, Jennifer Gutiérrez and Kevin Riley in making this resolution.