On Monday, the Climate Action Council (CAC) voted overwhelmingly to adopt its blueprint for achieving the emission reductions and environmental justice mandates of the 2019 Climate Leadership & Protection Act (CLCPA). This is a historic step forward in confronting the greatest existential challenge of our time. I commend members of the CAC for their diligent efforts to reach this milestone.
Now it’s our turn. In 2023, the Governor, Senate and Assembly must work to aggressively codify this roadmap into law, beginning with a statewide prohibition on fossil fuels in new building construction. Buildings are the leading source of emissions in New York State, and multiple major studies have found that all-electric homes will save money and improve public health. We cannot continue to dig ourselves a deeper hole by adding new buildings to the fossil gas system. We must require all-electric construction statewide beginning in 2024, as the CAC’s Draft Scoping Plan called for one year ago and as the climate emergency demands.
Unfortunately, the final plan calls for delayed implementation. We have already lost considerable time. And while the past year has allowed us to build consensus in the legislature, the gas and oil industry ramped up an aggressive lobbying and misinformation campaign in their quest to prolong the fossil fuel era. It’s no surprise that the 3 votes against the Scoping Plan represent that very industry.
A New Year is coming – and a new day for New York. We know the policies that can build a vibrant, green and democratic economy, powered by public renewables and union labor. We just need to muster the will.