Wednesday, June 15, 2016

URGENT: Support NYS Senate Passage of Important Climate Bill


The NY State Climate and Community Protection Act [1] passed the State Assembly, and it now has Bipartisan support of a Majority in the State Senate. 

We need to move this important bill to the floor for a vote [2] 

ACT NOW to show your support!  It's Easy! 

To send a form letter to your Senator or write your own, CLICK HERE.

New Yorkers deserve good jobs and healthy communities powered by clean, renewable energy!

  1. NY State Climate and Community Protection Act(A.10342/S.8005
  2. EDITORIAL: Senate Must Act on Climate - Albany TimesUnion - June 15, 2016
 Sponsors: Climate Justice Coalition of WNY, Sierra Club Niagara Group, and NY Renews

Sunday, June 5, 2016

New York State is Leading the Way on Climate Change

By Lynda Schneekloth

In December over 190 nations signed the U.N. Paris Climate Agreement. Imagine. The nations of the Earth came together and agreed that all are threatened by global warming caused mostly by the burning of fossil fuels. Each country made a commitment to set goals and policies, to take action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and move to renewable energy.

But how is that going to happen here in the United States, where the federal government seems incapable of action and the fossil fuel corporations have so much power? It is going to happen state by state, and New York is leading the way.

In January, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced the goal of 50 percent renewable energy by 2030, a reduction of 45 percent of greenhouse gas emissions and a rapid program for energy efficiency. At the same time, a coalition, New York Renews, was formed to move on the climate crisis.

NY Renews is made up of environmental organizations, labor, social/economic justice groups, the Working Families Party and other groups that have drafted legislation: the New York State Climate and Community Protection Act. This bill, which has already passed two committees, mandates climate goals, creates a process to ensure that resources are equitably allocated toward vulnerable communities and works to ensure clean energy jobs with binding labor standards. It also requires all state agencies to evaluate their climate and equity impacts.

Another action is the investigation of ExxonMobil by Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman to determine whether the company lied to the public and investors about the risks of climate change. It has been documented that Exxon has known and researched climate change since the 1970s and has used data from various climate models in the design of infrastructure and future planning.

At the same time, Exxon sent millions of dollars to climate denier groups working to manufacture doubt about the reality of global warming to protect its interests. Critics of Schneiderman and the 16 other attorneys general working on this investigation are claiming a violation of the First Amendment, saying the corporation is protected as a “person.” While lying is not illegal under U.S. law, fraud is. The First Amendment does not protect fraud, which is lying to or misleading investors to make a profit or influence business decisions.

We stand with the attorney general, the governor, Legislature and NY Renews. New York State is moving on climate justice. We need to raise our voices in support of climate action to protect our families, our livelihoods, future generations and, indeed, life on this planet by mandating the economically and sustainably sound energy transformation to renewables.

Lynda Schneekloth is chairwoman of the Sierra Club’s Niagara chapter.

This article first appeared at

Note, this article was submitted to the Buffalo News before the NYS Assembly passed the bill: The Climate and Community Protection Act. See: Important Climate Bill Passed by NY State Assembly - Fueled by People Power

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Thursday, June 2, 2016

Important Climate Bill Passed by NY State Assembly - Fueled by People Power

Photo: Twitter @32BJSEIU 
By David Kowalski

Hundreds of New Yorkers stood together at the State Capitol in Albany on June 1st, rallying to move the NYS Assembly to pass an important new bill, the Climate and Community Protection Act.

If passed, the bill would require that New York move away from dirty fossil fuels, which cause pollution and global warming, and shift to clean, renewable energy that would lead to new jobs, healthy communities, and help stabilize the climate.

People participating in the rally comprised a broad coalition of environmental justice, climate activist, conservation and labor groups.
Buffalo was well represented by members of the Climate Justice Coalition of WNY, Sierra Club Niagara Group, PUSH Buffalo, Massachusetts Avenue Project,  and concerned citizens -- three bus loads of people!

Also present were representatives of unions and the Working Families Party along with the national president of the Sierra Club, Aaron Mair, and the NY state chapter chair, Roger Downs.

We rallied outside with hundreds of others and listened to speakers representing different groups tell their stories and express the need for the legislation and their demands. Then we marched through the Capitol building while the Assembly was in session, making our voices heard with chants and our messages visible with signs.

After gently directing the chanting throngs of concerned citizens in the Capitol hallways and also in the area with a full view of the Assembly Chamber, a Capitol official said to me "this is the way democracy is supposed to work." Right on!

Here is a 1 minute Video that features people from Buffalo (it also includes Sierra Club officials cited above). The video shows a few of the activities at the outdoor rally and also the march inside the State Capitol and a view of the Assembly Chamber:

                                                         Video: David Kowalski
To view Photos taken at the Capitol Climate Rally, Click Here
National Sierra Club president, Aaron Mair, speaks on clean energy, jobs & justice: Listen Here 
~     ~     ~

The Assembly vote was cast hours after we left Albany to return to Buffalo.

The Assembly heard the call of the people and passed the Climate and Community Protection Act by an overwhelming vote of 96 to 43.

We stood together for Climate, Jobs and Justice -- and We Won!

Thanks go to Assembly Member Steve Englebright for sponsoring the bill and to the many co-sponsors (Englebright appears in the last slide of the video speaking to us in the Capitol).

Now, New York is on a path to 100% clean renewable energy legislation.

The Assembly legislation requires the state to transition electricity generation to 50% renewable energy by 2030, 100% by 2050, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions 80% by 2050.

Importantly, the legislation places emphasis on environmental and economic justice, prioritizing the safety and health of disadvantaged communities. Furthermore, it protects communities and workers by creating new jobs and providing a justice-based transition.

The Assembly legislation is now in the hands of the NYS Senate and has been referred to the Environmental Conservation committee.

The photo below gives an idea of the size of the coalition that rallied on the Capitol steps (Click image to enlarge):

For more information about the bill, see 'The New York Assembly Just Passed The Nation’s Most Ambitious Climate Bill' at Think Progress.

To see how your Assembly Member voted, click here.

Thanks to NY Renews for organizing the rally and spearheading action on the bill.

Elon Musk: What Will It Take to Address the Climate Crisis?

Elon Musk, Tesla Motors CEO, breaks down climate change for students at The Sorbonne in Paris right before the historic Climate Change Conference in which over 190 nations agreed to reduce global warming emissions to keep the global average temperature increase below 2 degrees C (3.6 degrees F) relative to pre-industrial temperatures.

What will it take to address the Climate Crisis? Watch the 12 minute video for Elon Musk's view:

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

STATE CAPITOL RALLY: Stand Together for Climate, Jobs, and Justice

Join us to Rally for 
100% Clean Renewable Energy in NY State!

The Climate Justice Coalition of WNY and the Sierra Club Niagara Group need YOU in Albany to tell our lawmakers that we demand a Clean Energy Economy with Good Jobs, Healthy Communities, a Livable Climate and Justice for ALL!

The shift to renewable energy will cut global warming pollution, create new jobs and must include policies that ensure equity and justice for our communities and workers.

Fortunately, the NYS Assembly recently introduced a new bill, The Climate and Community Protection Act (A10342), that addresses all of the above concerns. But the bill will not become law without Strong Public Support. That's why we need YOU at the State Capitol!

Rally with us on June 1st to make your voice heard and let New York State legislators know that We Stand United for a clean energy economy and renewable energy future for all!

Get your BUS Tickets here: Buffalo Bus To Albany

Renewables Are Doable!

For more information visit New Yorkers for Clean Power

RENEWABLE ENERGY NEWS: No Fossil Fuels? A Renewable World?

Where in the world have we achieved 100% renewable power?

In a few places around the world, humans have achieved a feat that seemed impossible just a few years ago, and still seems inconceivable nearly everywhere else: They’ve stopped burning fossil fuels for electricity.

Throughout 2015, several nations, states and cities announced they had either managed the switch to renewables, or to a massive increase in non-polluting energy production. It’s a big shift from a time when, after the financial crash of 2008, many dismissed renewable energy as unscalable, niche, or too expensive to consider.

So who is producing the most power from renewable sources, and how are they doing it? The areas that go 100% renewable tend to combine two factors: great natural resources (like the terrain needed for hydropower) and small populations (getting power to everyone is easier when there are only a few million of them). Others might not be quite at 100% yet—but are taking impressive steps towards it. 

Read more at Quartz

Video: Mark Jacobson on a Renewable World

Mark Z. Jacobson, PhD, of Stanford University, has modeled a transition to 100% renewable, carbon free energy, for 138 countries and all 50 US states. He was interviewed in December 2015.

Rooftop solar and energy efficiency just saved Californians $192 million in transmission costs

In regulatory proceedings across the country, we have long made the case that consumer investment in solar and other clean energy options can be a real cost-saver as it reduces the need for expensive new and upgraded utility infrastructure. Now, with solar on the rise, we’re seeing that promise turn into reality.

The governing board of the Golden State’s grid operator, the California Independent System Operator (CAISO), recently approved its 2015-2016 Transmission Plan which … wait for it … calls for canceling THIRTEEN sub-transmission projects that had been planned for PG&E’s service territory.

Read more at Vote Solar

Renewables Are Leaving Natural Gas In The Dust This Year

The U.S. electric grid added more than 70 times as much renewable energy capacity as natural gas capacity from January to March.

In the first three months of 2016, the U.S. grid added 18 megawatts of new natural gas generating capacity. It added a whopping 1,291 megawatts (MW) of new renewables.

The renewables were primarily wind (707 MW) and solar (522 MW). We also added some biomass (33 MW) and hydropower (29 MW). The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s (FERC) latest monthly “Energy Infrastructure Update” reports that no new capacity of coal, oil, or nuclear power were added in the first quarter of the year.
Continue reading at ThinkProgress

Monday, May 23, 2016

VIDEO & SLIDESHOW: Albany Rally to Break Free from Fossil Fuels

By David Kowalski

Members of the Climate Justice Coalition of WNY, the Sierra Club Niagara Group as well as concerned citizens rode a bus from Buffalo to a Rally in Albany on May 14, 2016 calling on NY State to end our dependence on polluting fossil fuels and shift to clean, renewable energy.

This rally was part of Global Actions held on six continents and in several U.S. cities during that week. People around the world stood up to say to say Break Free from Fossil Fuel and Keep It in the GROUND!

We joined over 1000 concerned citizens in Albany to say NO to new fracked gas & oil pipelines and NO to explosive oil trains ('bomb trains'), whose risk of derailment is threatening the safety of our communities in Buffalo, Albany and elsewhere in the state.

We said YES to Clean, Renewable Energy necessary to end global warming pollution, curb climate change, create new jobs and ensure justice for communities at risk.

Here is a 1 minute MUSIC VIDEO made from photos that I shot at the rally:

 Music credit: "Who's Gonna Stand Up?" by Neil Young & Crazy Horse band

Below is a link to a SLIDESHOW that contains photos and a few video clips of the rally and the march to the railroad tracks at the Port of Albany.

To access the SLIDESHOW, Click Here

HINTS for navigating the SLIDESHOW after you open it:
- Hover the mouse pointer over a photo to see the Caption.
- Click on a photo to view it, and Click again to Enlarge it to full size.

Environmental activists from around the region march down Pearl Street to the Port of Albany on Saturday, May 14, 2016, in Albany, N.Y. The demonstration delayed oil train traffic at the Port of Albany to raise awareness for the region's opposition to all fossil fuels. The event was part of a weeklong global effort called Break Free From Fossil Fuels. (Photo: Cindy Schultz / Times Union) 
Press coverage: Albany protest: 5 arrested after oil train delayed
ALBANY — A daylong effort to block crude oil trains brought hundreds of people near the Port of Albany, where they sat on train tracks and listened to speeches, sang and discussed nationwide and local environmental issues.
The Albany event on Saturday, organized by the coalition Break Free From Fossil Fuels, was one of several around the country and world this month.

Read more in the online report at the Albany Times Union: Click Here

~   ~   ~

For a livable climate and a just transition to renewable energy, 
 fossil fuels must be kept in the ground!

Green Drinks: Renewable Energy, Efficiency, and Clean Transportation

Green Drinks @ Ulrich's 1868 Tavern
Date: Tuesday, May 24th

Time: 5:30 - 7:30 PM

Location: 674 Ellicott Street Buffalo, NY 14203

Green Drinks is on Tuesday evening at Ulrich's 1868 Tavern.

Renee Vogelsang and Elizabeth Broad will be stopping in Buffalo on their “Road to Renewables” tour across the state in a Ford Fusion Energi, a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle. We're excited to welcome them to Buffalo!

Elizabeth Broad and Renee Vogelsang - NY'ers for Clean Power
The event will promote local campaigns for renewable energy and announce the “New Yorkers for Clean Power” statewide campaign to increase the deployment of clean energy across New York State.

The campaign will focus on education, organizing, and advocacy to engage the public, local governments, and businesses to advance a range of renewable energy, efficiency, and clean transportation solutions.

Delicious German food will be provided courtesy of PUSH Buffalo, this month's Green Drinks sponsor.

RSVP to Melanie at will receive a free drink ticket. Please write GD RSVP 5/24 in the subject line of the email!

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Albany Rally: Break Free From Fossil Fuels - Hop on the Bus!

For a livable climate and a just transition to renewable energy, fossil fuels must be kept in the ground.
The Climate Justice Coalition of WNY and the Sierra Club Niagara Group have chartered a bus from Buffalo to a Rally in Albany on Saturday, May 14th calling on NY State to Break Free from Fossil Fuels.

Join concerned citizens to say NO to new fracked gas & oil pipelines and storage, as well as explosive oil trains in our communities. Say YES to clean, renewable energy sources.

This rally is part of a Global Action to Break Free from Fossil Fuels. We will join with thousands of people around the world standing up to say,  KEEP IT IN THE GROUND!

It is time to move toward 100% Renewable Energy!

Bus Ticket Button
BUS from BUFFALO: leaving at 5:00 AM from the University at Buffalo South Campus Park & Ride lot on Main Street near the Metro Station. 

ALBANY RALLY will begin at 10:00 AM in Lincoln Park, Eagle St. Entrance, between Morton Ave. & Park Ave.  [Map]

Groups from some areas of the Northeast are being trained and will participate in direct action. We will be there to rally and stand in solidarity, not to participate in the direct action.