Legislation for 100% Clean Energy; Divestment, Carbon Tax


Climate Justice Advocates, Lawmakers Push NY to go to 100% Clean Energy by 2030

(Albany, NY) Legislation has been introduced to make New York State be the first state in the U.S. to go to 100% clean energy, with a target date of 2030. This would put New York ahead of states such as Hawaii (100% by 2045) and California (50% renewable energy by 2030). A7497 (Colton) / S5527 (Hoylman)

“We need bold action to avoid climate change’s worst impacts, and we need to act now,” said Prof. Steve Breyman. “If we miss the opportunity the 100% by 2030 bill provides, the consequences will be tremendous—millions of peoples’ lives uprooted, higher sea level rise, and more severe storms. The longer we wait, the more costly climate change becomes to New York State, our way of life, and our pocketbooks.”

“While New York officials have taken positive steps to support renewable energy, it is not enough to deal with the threat of climate change. And they continue to support hundreds of millions of dollars of investment in coal and fossil fuel infrastructure while impeding the development of clean energy, starting with off shore wind,” said Mark Dunlea of the Green Energy and Legal Fund.

In addition to the bill moving New York to a cleaner, healthier, energy future, legislation is being introduced that would require New York State and city public pension funds to divest from fossil fuel companies. Fossil fuels are the leading source of climate change pollution, and as such are responsible for tens of billions of dollars’ worth of damage to the state and its residents.

“We need bold action now to avoid climate change’s worst impacts,” said Assistant Assembly Speaker Felix W. Ortiz (D-Kings).  “If we miss the opportunity to implement clean energy laws today, Americans could face major consequences. The longer we wait, the more costly climate change becomes to New York State, our way of life and to our pocketbooks.”

Climate justice advocates came to State Capitol to urge lawmakers to take more aggressive action to combat climate change. The day was co-sponsored by the Campaign for 100% Clean Energy, Green Education and Legal Fund, Renewable Energy Coalition, Citizens Environmental Coalition, Green Party of NY, Network for Sustainable Financial Markets/ Carbon Tax for NY State; Manhattan Central Medical Society  Oritz will be the lead sponsor on legislation related to a carbon tax and divestment.

Advocates also want the state to enact a carbon tax (on all greenhouse gases). One of the major obstacles to transitioning to clean energy is that the market prices of coal, oil and gas don’t include the true costs of greenhouse gas emissions. A number of other states are considering a carbon tax (Massachusetts, Oregon, Vermont, Washington).

A study by Stanford professor Mark Jacobson, U.C. Davis Mark Delucchi, Jannette Barth, and others, (http://web.stanford.edu/group/efmh/jacobson/Articles/I/NewYorkWWSEnPolicy.pdf) show that it is technologically feasible for New York to produce zero net carbon emissions across all sectors (i.e., transportation, heating/cooling, and agriculture) by 2030, using only technologies that are commercially available today.

Green energy is also the path to full employment and lower energy rates. It is estimated that the build out to 100% clean energy would create 4.5 million jobs (the equivalent of 280,000 40-year jobs

Jannette Barth, economist, and one of the coauthors of the WWS study, says that the positive economic impacts would extend beyond job growth. ‘Estimates indicate that illnesses and death caused by fossil fuel based air pollution cost the taxpayers of New York State about $33 billion each year,” said Barth.

One of the current obstacles to New York State’s transition to 100% clean energy by 2030 is that the market prices of coal, oil and gas don’t include the true costs of greenhouse gas emissions. New Yorkers lobbying in Albany today are calling on the state to consider a tax on carbon, as several states, including Massachusetts, Oregon, Vermont and Washington, are considering.

“Imagine a clean energy Empire running from the mighty waterfall at Niagara to the steady sea breeze off Montauk! New York, which led the industrial revolution in America, could be at the forefront of the great green energy revolution now poised to sweep across the continent,” said Bill McKibben, co-founder of 350.org.

“For a quarter century, economists left, right and center have said we’d benefit from making carbon carry the cost of the damage it causes. This will strengthen New York’s drive to be a leader in the coming green economy,” he added.

The groups do not include nuclear power as clean energy.

Endorsers of 100% Clean Energy in NY by 2030

350 NYC, Abolition 2000, American Hydrogen Northeast, Beloved Earth Community The Riverside Church NY, Bronx Climate Justice North, Bronx Climate Justice South, Buddhist Association of the United States, Capital District Against Fracking, Capital Region 350 Climate Action, Carroll Gardens Association, Catskill Citizens for Safe Energy, Catskill Mountainkeeper, Center for Popular Democracy, The Center and Library for the Bible and Social Justice , Citizen Action of NY, Citizens Committee for New York City, Citizens Environmental Coalition, Climate Justice (Union Theological Seminary), ClimateMama, Code Pink, New York, CREEC, D&G Consulting, Earthcare Working Group of the NYYM Religious Society of Quaker Friends, Eco-Poetry.org, Eco Practicum, El Puente, Green Light District, Empire State Medical Association, Environment NY, Fellowship of Reconciliation: Veterans; Food and Water Watch, Fort Greene Peace, Franciscan Earth Corps, Gandhi Earth Keepers International, Grail Climate Action Circle, Green Education and Legal Fund, Green Hybrid Energy Solutions, Green Party of NYS, Hydrogen Association, Ithaca College Progressives, Jim Owles Democratic Club, Manhattan Central Medical Society, NYMetro Raging Grannies, New Paltz Climate Action Coalition, NY Granny Peace Brigade, NYC Friends of Clearwater, One World Zlife Systems, Pachamama Alliance NY/NJ Metro, Pax Christi Metro New York, Peace and Justice Task Force of All Souls Unitarian Church/NYC, People of Albany United for Safe Energy (PAUSE), People For Positive Action (Plattsburgh), Public Employees Federation, Rain Forest Relief, Renewable Energy Long Island, Renewable Energy Task Force of the WNY Peace Center, Sadhana: Coalition of Progressive Hindus, Sane Energy Project, Sierra Club Atlantic Chapter, Sixth Street Community Center, South Brooklyn Youth Consortium Coney Goes Green, Stop the Minisink Compression Station, Students Against a Vanishing Environment (Peru NY), Students of Sustainability at Syracuse University, Sustainable Flatbush, Sustainable Warwick, System Change Not Climate Change, Troy Area Labor Council, United for Action, WESPAC Foundation, West 80s Neighborhood Association