Letter: Climate Action

The science says we have only a few years to effectively combat climate change, but how we go about that is less straightforward. In New York State, we have taken the lead on this issue with the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA), which sets bold standards for reducing emissions. We have codified the goal, but there is more to do. We need a roadmap.

The Climate and Community Investment Act (CCIA) is part of the roadmap. The CCIA puts a surcharge of $55 per ton on toxic pollutants produced. This is the real-world price of pollution. It would hold our worst corporate polluters accountable for the damage they cause and finance the repair. The bill provides direct assistance to ratepayers, offsetting most price increases, and invests in green energy infrastructure, helping us meet the goals of the CLCPA.

It is also why I support the New York Build Public Renewables Act. This bill would ramp up the New York Power Authority’s ability to generate and sell utility-scale renewable energy. NYPA already sells power at a cheaper rate than most utilities across the state, has access to low-cost bonds, and generates 83 percent of its power from renewable sources.

This bill, along with the CCIA, would create robust mechanisms for community engagement and a strong renewable energy workforce across the state. A recent study from the Climate and Community Project at the University of Pennsylvania found that this bill could create between 28,410 and 51,133 jobs and between $48.6 billion and $93.5 billion of additional economic activity by 2030.

This legislation would make a difference. Climate change is not backing down, but neither are we. We have the obligation to combat climate change. We owe it to our children and grandchildren.

Sandy Galef, Albany

Galef’s district in the Assembly includes Philipstown.

One thought on “Letter: Climate Action

  1. The New York legislative session ended and lawmakers failed to bring the Climate and Community Investment Act (CCIA) to the floor for a vote. We are lucky to have Assemblywoman Sandy Galef as our climate champion, who supported both the CCIA and the New York Build Public Renewables Act.

    In Philipstown, we set an ambitious target of net zero emission by 2040 and launched the educational campaign Philipstown Fights Dirty. But towns can’t do it alone. The state and federal elected officials are letting us down on climate, again.

    As President Biden and Congress build the infrastructure package, Republicans and some Democrats have pushed to cut out key programs to fight climate change. I urge Sens. Schumer and Gillibrand and Rep. Maloney to say: no climate, no deal!

    I want to see Congress include $1 trillion for renewable energy, which we need to meet President Biden’s goal of cutting climate pollution in half by 2030. We also need $500 billion for public transit and $600 billion for upgrading our public housing and schools with energy efficiency.

    With bold investment targeted at our most vulnerable communities, we can create millions of good jobs and meaningfully curb social inequality and injustice. It’s well past time to act on climate change.

    Ford is the Climate Smart Program coordinator for Philipstown.