Pols and advocates rally for bold climate change response

By Matthew Fischetti


Local Greenpoint pols and environmental advocates rallied outside City Hall last week, advocating for the state to have robust climate protections in the state’s upcoming plan to phase out fossil fuels.

New York State passed the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act in 2019, legislation that would require the state to lower “economy-wide greenhouse gas emissions 40 percent by 2030 and no less than 85 percent by 2050 from 1990 levels,” according to the state website. The state is required to release a final scoping plan, or roadmap, by January 1, 2023. 

“We need to take Local Law 97 and bring it statewide,” Councilman Lincoln Restler, the prime sponsor of the resolution, said at Thursday’s rally. Local Law 97, which was passed in 2019, requires buildings that exceed 25,000 square feet to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent by 2030 and 80 percent by 2050. 

“We need to see mandatory composting at every doorstep in New York. And it’s time to implement congestion pricing yesterday,” Restler continued.

37 members of the city council, a majority of the body, sponsored a corresponding resolution calling on the state to fulfill the requirements in their scoping plan.

“We have the Inflation Reduction Act, which is going to give money for people to electrify their buildings. We know that electrification works, we know that we can build public renewables at the state level that will enable us to have cheap resources for non-oil based electricity,” said Assemblymember Emily Gallagher, who has sponsored the All Electric Buildings Act up in Albany, which would prevent new construction that utilizes fossil fuels by 2023. 

“All of this is within reach. We just need the political will to do it,” she continued. 

The 2022 International Panel on Climate Change report found that drastic cuts in emissions are needed to mitigate the worst effects of climate change, as the planet is on track to raise global temperatures by 1.5 degrees celsius by 2040.

“This will set a strong example and provide a template for the rest of the world. If New York City can do it, so can every other city and municipality,” said Tim Kent, a Brooklyn-based volunteer leader with Food & Water Watch. “And it is far past time that Governor Hochul and the legislature followed suit.”

At time of publicaiton, the resolution has not passed the city council.


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