Help Fight Climate Change

  • NEW! Fossil-Free Future Campaign
  • VICTORY – Power plant permits denied!
  • Policy Close Up: Climate Scorecard 2021
  • 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!
    Donald K. Ross, Leading Public Interest Lawyer, Dies at 78  (The New York Times, May 19, 2022)
    Longtime activist, NYPIRG founder Donald K. Ross dead at 78  (Albany Times-Union, May 18, 2022)
    Blair Horner discusses how the new maps dramatically re-shape several Congressional races in New York  (Media Sanctuary, May 17, 2022)
    Despair about events, or act to change them?  (WAMC, May 16, 2022)
    Long Island Groups Call on Governor Hochul to Modernize NY’s Bottle Bill Call for a “Bigger Better Bottle Bill”  (LongIsland.com, May 13, 2022)
    State lawmakers debate all-electric building construction  (Spectrum News, May 13, 2022)
    New York ranks among worst nationally in hospital safety grades during COVID: Report  (LoHud, May 12, 2022)
    Grieving families calling on New York state to recognize wrongful death lawsuits based on emotional loss  (CBS News, May 11, 2022)
    For nonprofits, a voice in lobbying is often out of reach due to rules  (Albany Times-Union, May 9, 2022)
    How New York is considering ways of easing medical debt  (Spectrum News, May 9, 2022)
    Environmental advocacy groups oppose climate bill  (Albany Times-Union, May 9, 2022)
    Policy traffic jam in Albany  (WAMC, May 9, 2022)
    Crypto Industry Responds After Lawmakers Attack on Environmental Concerns  (New York Sun, May 4, 2022)
    Local Law 97: A Breakdown of NYC’s Green New Deal  (BK Reader, May 4, 2022)
    Clean Water Advocates urge Hochul to lower proposed levels for PFAS notification/cleanup  (Troy Record, May 3, 2022)
    Families of wrongful death victims want right to sue over lost companionship  (Albany Times-Union, May 3, 2022)
    'It's About Justice': Hoylman Says Wrongful Death Law Revamp Is Needed to Value Lives  (Law.com, May 3, 2022)
    Albany suffers through another political earthquake  (WAMC, May 2, 2022)
    Gillibrand Commits to Meet w/Residents on Climate Killing Cryptomining @ Greenidge  (Genesee Sun, April 29, 2022)
    Albany loves loopholes: Legislators undermine process of enforcing ethical standards  (NNY 360, April 29, 2022)
    News Archive
    *UPDATE: NYPIRG will be working with Donald Ross’ family and friends to organize an event celebrating his life. We are planning on the event occurring sometime in the early fall.
    NYPIRG, Statewide Groups and Legislators Hold 40th Birthday Party for the “Bottle Bill” Advocates Call on State Legislature to Pass Bill This Session to Expand and Modernize NY’s Most Successful Recycling and Extended Producer Responsibility Law
    Donald Ross, 1943-2022 – We are saddened by the loss of Donald Ross, our first executive director and a lifelong, visionary champion for the public interest.
    217 Groups Call on Legislature to Pass Climate Justice CLCPA Building Bills for Earth Week
    NYPIRG calls higher education budget a step forward, but much more needs to be done.
    NEW! Fossil-Free Future Campaign: Help Make New York State a Leader in the Fight to Combat Climate Change
    NYPIRG Reacts to the Process of State Budget-Making as Well as Democracy Reforms Contained Within the Budget Agreement
    Energy & Environment Wins & Losses in 2022 State Budget
    Civic Groups Decry Failure of Governor and Legislature to Create Credible Ethics Oversight Body
    Reported Budget Agreement Would Lock in JCOPE’s Fatal Flaw: Lack of Independence From the Electeds It Is Supposed to Regulate
    Civic Organizations Today Urged Opposition to a Reported Ethics Reform Plan
    The Groups Cited a Report From the Albany Times Union Which Described a Plan That Would Establish a New Ethics Watchdog Still Controlled by Political Insiders.
    Over 160 Environmental and Community Organizations, Recycling Businesses Oppose Extended Producer Responsibility Legislation in the State Budget – Call for Stronger Packaging Legislation and Expansion of Bottle Bill
    NYPIRG Announces New Staff
    Reactions to Governor Hochul’s FY 2022-2023 Executive Budget
    Seventy-five Bottle Redemption Businesses and Distributors Call on Governor Hochul to Expand and Modernize NY's Bottle Deposit Law
    Reactions to Governor Hochul's State of the State
    NYPIRG Applauds, Criticizes, Gov Hochul’s Approvals and Veto Of Environmental Legislation
    New Yorkers Call For an End to Fossil Fuel Subsidies
    NYPIRG and over 100 groups call on Gov Hochul to modernize NYS's soon-to-be-40 year old bottle bill.
    VICTORY! Danskammer and Astoria Power Plant Permits Denied
    Straphangers Campaign Petition to Transform Transit
    Reports & Features Archive