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 
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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 (A.10342) 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: