Make Corporate Climate Polluters Pay

Watch the video below about our urgent campaign to make Big Oil – not New York taxpayers – pay for climate damages. Then contact Governor Hochul and tell her to support the Climate Change Superfund Act!

There is no doubt that the world’s climate is getting hotter and more deadly.

2023 was the hottest year in human recorded history. This hotter climate drove extremes around the world, making things so extreme that we all choked on terrible air quality – at one point, air that turned orange kept many indoors thanks to unprecedented Canadian wildfires.

Deadly storms rocked the state, with serious flooding upstate, including the Adirondacks, and downstate, including Long Island and New York City. There can be no doubt that as the climate warms, these types of storms will worsen and get even more extreme. The escalation of such storms is an undeniable consequence of the climate crisis.

The hotter climate is having a big impact on taxes – and that situation will get much worse.

A study1 by New York State Comptroller DiNapoli revealed that over a 10-year span, more than half of New York localities' municipal spending outside of New York City was or will be linked to climate change. New York City may need to spend around $100 billion2 to upgrade its sewer systems to withstand intensified storms. And those costs are on top of the $52 billion3 that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has estimated that it will cost to protect New York Harbor from rising sea levels and storms. Estimates4 suggest that Long Island alone could incur up to $100 billion in climate-related costs. These financial burdens are projected to escalate, potentially reaching $10 billion5 annually for New Yorkers by the middle of the century.

Just over the past year, the Hochul Administration has pledged over $2 billion6 for climate-related projects.

Recognizing the untenable situation, 100 local elected officials in New York recently advocated7 for a legislative measure compelling major oil companies to contribute to climate-related expenses.

Governor Hochul needs to support legislation to make Big Oil pay its fair share of the state’s climate costs.

The legislation8, the Climate Change Superfund Act, demands that companies responsible for significant greenhouse gas emissions pay apportioned fees totaling $3 billion annually for each of the next 25 years to offset the climate costs. The fees would be used to strengthen coastlines threatened by rising sea levels, pick up the costs for roads and bridges that are damaged by more intense storms, provide protections for kids in schools by making buildings cooler to protect from deadly heat, and other costs that must be paid. The legislation is designed to keep these costs from being shifted onto the public, as confirmed by an independent think tank’s analysis.9

Take Action: Contact the Governor

Tell Governor Hochul to support the Climate Change Superfund Act and put the interests of the taxpaying public ahead of Big Oil!

Sample message:

Dear Governor Hochul, climate change is devastating our lives and our communities. It adds insult to that injury to make the taxpayers pick up the costs of a hotter planet. The largest oil companies should help to cover those costs. It is they who are most responsible for this mess. And as we all learned as kids: You make a mess; you clean it up. Make Big Oil clean up its mess. Support the Climate Change Superfund Act (S.2129-A/A.3351-A). Thank you.

Thank you for your help!

1 Dinapoli, Thomas P. “New York’s Local Governments Adapting to Climate Change: Challenges, Solutions and Costs.” Office of the New York State Comptroller; Division of Local Government and School Accountability, 2023, https://www.osc.ny.gov/files/local-government/publications/pdf/climate-change-2023.pdf. Accessed 16 January 2024.
2 “The New Normal: Combating Storm-Related Extreme Weather In New York City.” New York City Office of the Deputy Mayor for Administration in collaboration with the City agencies and Mayor’s offices presented within, 2021, https://www.nyc.gov/assets/orr/pdf/publications/WeatherReport.pdf. Accessed 17 January, 2024.
3 Barnard, Anne. “A $52 Billion Proposal Aims to Protect New York Harbor From Storm Surges.” The New York Times, 26 September 2022, https://www.nytimes.com/2022/09/26/nyregion/storm-project-new-york-harbor-flooding.html. Accessed 17 January, 2024.
4 MacGowan, Carl. “Rising ocean, bay tides could eventually reshape Long Island – and will alter how we live, work and play, experts say.” Newsday, 2023, https://www.newsday.com/long-island/environment/climate-change-sea-levels-bay-tides-long-island-s1hsx81r. Accessed 17 January 2024.
5 “Responding to Climate Change in New York State (ClimAID).” Annex III: An Economic Analysis of Climate Change Impacts and Adaptations in NYS. New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), 2014, https://www.nyserda.ny.gov/About/Publications/Energy-Analysis-Reports-and-Studies/Environmental-Research-and-Development-Technical-Reports/Response-to-Climate-Change-in-New-York. Accessed 17 January 2024.
6 News Release. “$2.1 billion in taxpayers’ money pledged for climate damage, protection and resiliency projects December 2022 – December 2023 according to Governor Hochul news release announcements.” New York Public Interest Research Group Fund, pages 4-5, 2023, https://www.nypirg.org/pubs/202312/Climate_Superfund_Media_Packet_12-28-23.pdf. Accessed 17 January 2023.
7 News Release. Pages 6-8, https://www.nypirg.org/pubs/202312/Climate_Superfund_Media_Packet_12-28-23.pdf. Accessed 17 January 2023.
8 Senate Bill S2129A. The New York State Senate, 2023, https://www.nysenate.gov/legislation/bills/2023/S2129/amendment/A. Accessed 17 January 2024.
9 Howard, Peter H. and Xu, Minhong. “Enacting the ‘Polluter Pays’ Principle: New York’s Climate Change Superfund Act and Its Impact on Gasoline Prices.” Institute for Policy Integrity, New York School of Law, 2022, https://www.nypirg.org/climatechange/files/Final_Brief_MPP_Economics.pdf. Accessed 17 January 2024.
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News Archive
News Release: Youth, Faith & Environmental Groups Join with Legislators to Call for “Make Polluters Pay” Bill Requiring Big Oil to Fund Climate Crisis Costs to be Included in Senate and Assembly One-House Budgets Also: Check out NYPIRG's New Video Illustrating the Need to Make Corporate Polluters Pay
Video Release: Make Polluters Pay!
NEWS RELEASE: NYPIRG Releases “Small Claims, Small Changes: A Survey of Albany Small Claims Court 45 Years Later”
A NYPIRG report documenting a survey of litigants who participated in cases in the City of Albany Small Claims Court in 2021 shows the challenges facing consumers using the system.
NEWS RELEASE: NYPIRG Reacts to Governor Hochul's Budget Plan

Over 300 Business, Civic, Environmental, and Youth Groups Call on Governor Hochul to Modernize State Returnable Container Law (“Bottle Bill”)

Groups Urge Inclusion in the State Budget Due to Need for Enhanced Enforcement and Immediate Action to Increase Current Redeemed Beverage Container “Handling Fee”

NYPIRG Statement on the Passing of Sidney Wolfe, MD, Founder of Public Citizen’s Health Research Group
Today, a coalition of elected officials, youth leaders, and community organizations led by NYPIRG called on Governor Hochul to include the Climate Change Superfund Act in her upcoming budget. The Climate Superfund assesses the largest oil companies for the state's mounting climate-related expenses and does so in a way that protects the public from increased costs.
RELEASE: Another Storm, More Costs to NY Taxpayers: Will Governor Hochul Make Big Oil Pay? A coalition of groups today called on Governor Hochul to make the oil companies pick up the tab for the costs of NY's climate damages after another deadly storm that caused widespread damage to New York State.
NYPIRG and a coalition of environmental organizations and local elected officials today released a review of the climate costs facing New York City and called on Governor Hochul to make the biggest oil companies – not local taxpayers – pay to cover climate damages
NYPIRG Celebrated Its Five Decades of Victories and College Student Empowerment
Author and Activist Jane Fonda, Community Service Society’s David Jones, State Senator Liz Krueger, U.S. Sen. Schumer’s State Director Martin Brennan, and New Deal Strategies’ Camille Rivera Received NYPIRG's “changemaker” Awards
Climate Superfund News Conferences: Taxpayer Tally of Climate Costs Since 8/2022 is $2.7 Billion
NYPIRG Statement on the Death of Ryan Thoresen Carson
The biblical rains that are devastating parts of the state are fresh evidence that the costs of adapting New York's infrastructure to the world climate’s "new abnormal" will be staggering. Legislation -- approved by the Senate (S.2129A) -- would require the largest oil companies to help pick up the tab and do it in a manner that will stop them from passing the costs on to consumers. Read NYPIRG's statement on downstate's devastating floods.
Advocates and Business call on Governor Hochul and DEC to release grant funds to struggling Bottle Redemption Businesses
Thousands Join March to End Fossil Fuels, Demand Biden Declare Climate Emergency & Phase Out Plan
NYers face hundreds of millions of dollars in climate costs while big oil racks up huge profits, nearly three-quarters of a trillion dollars over past 30 months
NYPIRG 50th Anniversary, Celebrating Five Decades of Victories and College Student Empowerment, Will Be Held on October 13th in NYC – Author and Activist Jane Fonda, Community Service Society's David Jones, State Senator Liz Krueger, U.S. Sen. Schumer's State Director Martin Brennan, and New Deal Strategies' Camille Rivera to Receive NYPIRG's "Changemaker" Awards
New York’s “New Normal” Not Normal at All: Frequent Climate Disasters, Staggering Costs — Governor Hochul Leaves New Yorkers on the Financial Hook for Billions of Dollars in Climate Damages and Extreme Weather Emergency Preparedness While Letting Big Oil off the Hook
NYPIRG Has Updated Its 2023 Legislative Session Review, Including the New York State Assembly Actions
Reports & Features Archive