Help Fight Climate Change

  • NEW! 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 where the federal government has dropped off the map – holding polluters financially responsible for the damage that they have caused.

    There are a number of ways that the fossil fuel industry could be held accountable to pay for the damages that they have caused, including ending fossil fuel subsidies. 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.

    New York could also institute polluter penalties to hold climate polluters accountable. One such way to do this is through legislation like the Climate and Community Investment Act. This legislation would create polluter penalties that would generate billions of dollars in revenue and ensure that those funds go toward frontline and environmental justice communities.

    TAKE ACTION – Tell Governor Hochul to Make Polluters Pay!

    It has been estimated that New York will need to invest at least $4 to $5.5 billion annually to ensure that the state moves off of fossil fuels and provides a just transition to displaced workers and equitable solutions for environmental justice communities. Additionally, investments will need to be made to protect water quality, restore wetlands and other lands damaged by the climate crisis, and increase community resilience to the changing climate.
    But it should not be up to everyday New Yorkers to pay for these costs – it should be the fossil fuel industry, which spent billions of dollars lying about their role in causing the climate crisis.
    There are a number of ways that the fossil fuel industry could be held accountable for their damage, including:
    • Ending fossil fuel subsidies
    • Creating polluter penalties
    Contact Governor Hochul today and ask her to make polluters pay up!
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    News Archive
    Watchdogs Ask New Members of Commission on Ethics and Lobbying in Government to Reset Expectations about NYS Ethics Oversight
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    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
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    Straphangers Campaign Hosts Bus Lane Painting Party — Celebrate Plans for 20 Miles of New Bus Lanes in 2022
    State Court Rules DEC Can Deny Permit on Danskammer Fracked Gas Power Plant as It Undermines NYS's Climate Law
    NEW! NYPIRG's updated Legislative Profiles offer New Yorkers a “one-stop” opportunity to conveniently examine publicly-available information on their state legislators.
    Tale of the Tape: NYPIRG’S 2022 Legislative Review
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    NYPIRG reacts to the environmental actions of the 2022 session. The State Legislature passed three major bills in the last days of session which place New York in the national forefront on energy efficient standards, expansion of geothermal renewable energy, union just transition, and hit the appropriate pause button on cryptocurrency mining.
    VICTORY! News Release: NYPIRG Celebrates Passage of Right to Repair Bill by NYS Legislature
    Release: Mayday Distress Signal for Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act Without Passage of All-Electric Buildings Act this Session
    NYPIRG and over 50 other environmental and community organizations call on Governor Hochul and state legislative leaders to make the climate polluters pay. NYPIRG also joined state Senator Krueger and Assemblymember Dinowitz calling for the oil, gas, and coal industries to be held financially liable for the costs of global warming
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    217 Groups Call on Legislature to Pass Climate Justice CLCPA Building Bills for Earth Week
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    Reports & Features Archive