Bird’s Eye View: New York’s New Climate Bill

We break down the four key provisions of the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA).

Wondering why New York’s Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA) is being hailed as “nation-leading,” “a landmark piece of legislation,” and “the most ambitious in the country?”

Below, we break down the four key provisions of the CLCPA to give you a bird’s eye view of New York’s new path to a greener and cleaner economy – and where Audubon can help pave the way for change.

Breaking Down the Key Provisions 

Net Zero Emissions by 2050. “Net zero emissions” and “carbon neutrality” refer to the same idea: balancing what goes out with what comes in, or simply eliminating what goes out altogether. The CLCPA calls for New York to eliminate 85% of its overall planet-warming emissions by 2050, while offsetting or capturing the other 15%. Five other U.S. states have adopted 100% clean-energy targets, but New York’s is the most ambitious since it calls for reductions in carbon emissions across all economic sectors, including transportation, building emissions, manufacturing, agriculture, and others.

Aggressive Energy Targets. In the energy sector, the bill calls for the adoption of renewable energy, energy efficiency, and energy storage targets that will reduce our reliance on fossil fuels. This will include the development of 9,000 megawatts of offshore wind energy (enough to power up to 6 million homes) and 6,000 megawatts of solar projects (enough to power up to 1 million homes), which will help New York reach its goal of achieving 70% renewable energy by 2030 and 100% emissions free electricity by 2040. 

Climate Action Council and Scoping Plan.  The landmark bill set goals and targets—but didn’t provide the framework for how we are going to achieve net-zero emissions.  A Climate Action Council, which will be chaired by the Department of Environmental Conservation and the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, will develop a scoping plan to reach net-zero emissions goals in each sector of the economy. The Council will call on experts from the environmental conservation community, impacted industries, the academic community, and beyond to ensure that the plan is robust and inclusive.

Environmental Justice. The bill also calls for a just and equitable transition for all communities – especially those that have been historically disadvantaged by environmental pollution. An Environmental Justice committee will advise the Climate Action Council on best practices for reducing current and future impacts to disadvantaged communities, and 35-40% of the benefits produced by the CLCPA will be directed to affected communities.

How Our Audubon Network Can Help

Audubon New York will be making every effort to aid in the implementation of the CLCPA, and will work closely with New York State over the next two years as the first scoping plan is developed.

Our experts will sit on the advisory committees convened by the Climate Action Council, and we will be on the ground in the Capitol to ensure that the recommendations of the Council are enacted into law and receive adequate funding.

During public comment periods, we will call our chapters and network to action to help give voice to birds and ensure that New York adopts policy that benefits birds and the places they need. Members can also stay tuned to join our 2020 Lobby Day at the State Capitol, where we will advocate for the adoption of strong climate policies and other legislation. Hopefully we can use this energy to push our congressional delegation in the right direction at the federal level. Thank you in advance for your support.

How you can help, right now