Help Fight Climate Change

  • Fossil-Free Future Campaign
  • VICTORY – Power plant permits denied!
  • Policy Close Up: Climate Scorecard 2022
  • Check out the video from our Make Polluters Pay event with New York Attorney General Letitia James.
  • offshore wind

    Making New York a Global Climate Leader

    Climate change is the greatest environmental threat facing the planet. The accumulation of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases in the atmosphere is causing extreme weather events, harmful algal blooms, ocean acidification, and rising sea levels. If left unabated, this will have devastating impacts on New York’s economy, infrastructure, public health, coastal areas, and natural ecosystems.

    According to the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change October 2018 report, global warming must be limited to 1.5 degrees Celsius, instead of the previously stated 2 degrees, if the world wants to avoid catastrophic results. This means that New York must move to 100% renewable energy in all sectors as rapidly as possible. But New York has a lot of work to do – currently, the state only gets approximately 5% of its electricity from wind and solar. Additionally, there are still proposals to expand New York’s reliance on fossil fuels, such as the construction of several pipelines and power plants.

    NYPIRG is fighting for comprehensive policies that will set New York up to lead the charge to combat climate change.

    Ban Fossil Fuel Hookups for New Construction

    New York will not meet its climate goals if fossil fuel infrastructure is expanded. A common sense and necessary solution is to ensure that all new construction is mandated to rely on electricity instead of fossil fuels. Thankfully, 42 cities and a county in California offer New York models to use. These localities have enacted new zoning codes that encourage or require all-electric new construction. These codes are meant to keep builders from running natural gas lines to new homes and apartments. Electrifying buildings will make transitioning to renewables for heat and other purposes much easier long-term. Localities in New York, and the state as a whole, should begin adopting these policies.

    Halt the Building of New Fossil Fuel Infrastructure

    New York has made the right call to fight climate change – while also protecting waterways – by saying no to pipeline projects, like the Williams Pipeline. However, there are currently several proposals to build out fossil fuel infrastructure in New York. NYPIRG has been engaged in the fights around the E37/Albany Loop pipeline, the Danskammer repowering proposal, the Astoria power plant proposal, and the North Brooklyn Pipeline. New York State adopted into law the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act, which establishes goals of net-zero greenhouse gas emissions in New York by 2050, and 100% carbon-free electricity by 2040. Clearly, expanded fossil fuel infrastructure would make New York’s chances of meeting these goals impossible, which is why it is essential to adopt policies that mandate new construction to be all-electric and to eventually move existing buildings toward electrification.

    Create Accountability to Meet New York’s Climate Goals

    Thanks to New York’s ambitious climate law, the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act, New York has some of the strongest climate goals in the country. But these goals, and the entities in charge of implementing these goals, must be closely watchdogged. Additionally, one of the best ways to ensure that New York meets these ambitious goals is to be transparent to the public. New York should issue an annual scorecard so the public can easily gauge where the state stands in regard to its climate goals. Accountability will be key to success.

    Green New York’s Transportation

    34% of the country’s greenhouse gas emissions come from the transportation sector. Similarly, 40% of New York’s greenhouse gas emissions are from the transportation sector. To meet emission targets, New York must move to phase out all fossil fuel vehicles – including personal cars and buses. Bus fleets will need to be electrified, funding and build-out of public transit must be prioritized, and incentives for electric vehicles must be expanded. California has an executive order that directs all new cars and passenger trucks sold in the state to be zero-emission vehicles by 2035. New York should mandate that vehicles sold are 100% electric no later than 2035.

    Hold Climate Polluters Accountable

    Environmental needs in New York are tremendous – and it is anticipated that costs to both protect New Yorkers from the impacts of the climate crisis and to combat the climate crisis will be steep. Since the 1970s, the fossil fuel industry has known the environmental risks associated with burning fossil fuels and accurately predicted the timetable in which those changes would occur. Avoiding responsibility, the industry used its considerable clout to withhold the evidence from the public, undermine climate science, and hire consultants and lobbyists to derail health and environmental reforms. It is critical for the state to step up since the federal government is gridlocked – and hold polluters financially responsible for the damage that they have caused.

    There are ways that the fossil fuel industry could be held accountable to pay for the damages that they have caused. One way is to establish a program based on the concept "make the polluters pay." Similar to the state's current Superfund law (which holds toxic polluters responsible for toxic chemicals released on land and which may threaten drinking water supplies), major fossil fuel companies would be assessed for the proportion of greenhouse gases that they are responsible for emitting. Analyses have been conducted that show that the state can enact such a measure and do it in such a manner as to prohibit such assessments being passed on to consumers.

    A second way is by eliminating wasteful tax loopholes that benefit fossil fuel companies. According to the FY2020 Annual Report on New York State Tax Expenditures, the state provides $1.6 billion in subsidies to the fossil fuel industry. Unless those subsidies can be proven to directly benefit consumers, they should be eliminated. These subsidies not only prop up an industry that actively damages New York’s environment, but also leave less money for programs that help New Yorkers, and for meeting New York’s climate goals.

    Empty seat voting returns to Assembly  (Observer, February 8, 2023)
    Governor Hochul presents her budget  (WAMC, February 6, 2023)
    NY Chief Judges Failed To Report Taxable Chauffeur Perks  (Law 360, February 6, 2023)
    Blair Horner discusses Governor Hochul's budget proposal on The Legislative Gazette  (WAMC, February 3, 2023)
    After Hochul veto, lawmakers hope wrongful death law will still expand  (Spectrum News, February 3, 2023)
    Urgen dar luz verde a tarifa de congestión en NY  (El Diario, February 3, 2023)
    NY Gov. Kathy Hochul's 2024 budget proposes more school aid, tax hike for cigarettes  (ABC News 7, February 1, 2023)
    Hochul's budget proposes tax hike for cigs, more school aid  (The Register Citizen, February 1, 2023)
    Hochul's budget proposes tax hike for cigs, more school aid  (The Telegraph, February 1, 2023)
    Hochul Vetoes ‘Wrongful Death’ Bill, Heightening Tension With Lawmakers  (The New York Times, January 31, 2023)
    Hochul vetoes Grieving Families Act, inflaming tensions with lawmakers  (City & State, January 31, 2023)
    Bottle deposit law expansion urged for New York  (Spectrum News, January 30, 2023)
    Poll finds support for New York bottle bill expansion  (Recycling Today, January 30, 2023)
    Lobbying on LaSalle nomination shows apparent gap in reporting requirements  (Albany Times-Union, January 30, 2023)
    We must do more to avert climate catastrophe  (WAMC, January 30, 2023)
    Lobbying on judicial nomination shows apparent gap in reporting requirements  (Olean Times-Herald, January 30, 2023)
    Today Is Deadline for New York Gov. Hochul to Decide on Bill to Expand Wrongful Death Damages  (Insurance Journal, January 30, 2023)
    Poll shows New Yorkers favor boosting recycling deposit to 10 cents  (Fingerlakes 1, January 30, 2023)
    Poll: New Yorkers favor expanded recycling, 10¢ deposit  (Albany Times-Union, January 29, 2023)
    The Last Bill Standing: the deadline for Governor Hochul to act upon the Grieving Families Act is here  (ABC News 7 Buffalo, January 29, 2023)
    News Archive
    NYPIRG and New Yorkers for Fiscal Fairness Release Policy Paper on Economic Benefits of Higher Education
    NYPIRG Reacts to the Governor's 2023-2024 Executive Budget
    Statewide Poll Finds New Yorkers Strongly Support “Bottle Bill” Program Expansion
    150 Organizations Call on Governor to Include Modernized “Bottle Bill” in Budget
    Advocates to Governor Hochul: Make "greedy" oil companies pay for climate damages! In Albany, standing in the shadow of a giant inflatable pig, a coalition of environmentalists called on the governor to make the world’s largest oil companies pay for the staggering infrastructure costs of dealing with climate change. The groups estimated that those costs could total $100 billion in New York over the next decade, with more expenses as the world’s climate worsens.
    Ahead of the 2023 State of the State, more than 200 groups released a letter sent to Governor Hochul urging her to make big oil companies, not taxpayers, financially responsible for the growing climate damages facing the state.
    Environmental & Climate Groups Urge Governor to Sign Right to Repair Bill
    Senior, Consumer, Disability, And Civic Organizations Urge Governor Hochul to Approve the “Grieving Families Act” - Legislation Passed with Overwhelming Bipartisan Majorities, but has Not Yet Been Sent to the Governor
    NYPIRG Statement on Climate Action Council’s Approval of Its Scoping Plan
    NYPIRG Reacts to Independent Redistricting Commission Proposed Assembly Boundaries
    Over 300 New York Environmental, Community Groups, Redemption Centers, Canners, and Faith Groups, Call on Governor Hochul to Modernize NY’s Bottle Bill with a “Bigger Better Bottle Bill”
    NYPIRG Applauds Passage of Environmental Bond Act, Urges Gov and Lawmakers to Act on Additional Measures
    126 Groups Urge Governor & CAC to Support All-Electric Buildings Start in 2024
    UPCOMING EVENTS! Securing Our Future: Saving Social Security from the Chopping Block
    Watchdogs Ask New Members of Commission on Ethics and Lobbying in Government to Reset Expectations about NYS Ethics Oversight
    Groups’ Recommendations Would Improve Enforcement, Transparency, and Training
    Reform groups urge the new state ethics commission to get to work this month
    NYPIRG Straphangers Campaign and TransitCenter Release 17th Annual Pokey and Schleppie Awards on Bus Performance
    Governor Approves Three Steps Toward Meeting Goals of Climate Leadership & Community Protection Act (CLCPA)
    NYPIRG Applauds Move and Urges Governor to Sign Cryptocurrency Moratorium Act, and Include All-Electric Building Act and EV Car Charging Station Expansion Bill in 2023 Executive Budget
    Policy Close Up: Climate Scorecard 2022
    NYPIRG Submits 2022 Climate Action Council Draft Scoping Plan Comments
    NYPIRG Releases “Albany Money Machine”
    Albany Fundraising Fires up, Despite Pandemic
    137 Fundraisers in Albany, or Virtual, or by Leadership During 2022
    New “Normal” a Lot Like the Old One
    Reports & Features Archive