(JULY 18, 2019) – Today, Governor Andrew Cuomo officially signed New York’s ambitious Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA) into law, setting a nation-leading precedent for the state to achieve the highest reduction of greenhouse gases in the country by 2050. The legislation was championed by Senator Todd Kaminsky and Assemblymember Steve Englebright, who ensured that the Act passed both houses of the Legislature in late June.
“Our changing climate is the number one threat to birds and people. Passing this bill took real leadership—achieving the goals it has set will take even more leadership and determination. Now the hard work begins,” said Audubon’s President and CEO, David Yarnold (@david_yarnold). “We look forward to working with Governor Cuomo, the New York State Legislature, and the Climate Action Council as we build toward New York’s clean energy future.”
Climate change is an urgent threat to our local communities and to bird species that depend on New York. More than 300 North American species of birds are predicted to be climate-threatened, including New York’s beloved Piping Plover, Wood Thrush, and Snowy Owl. Birds are sensitive to subtle shifts in their environment, and changes in the availability of food, water, and habitat—all of which are influenced by climate—can have a devastating impact on their populations.
“New York has set a bold example for the nation and the rest of the world to follow. We face many of the same climate-related threats as wildlife: Birds and people alike will benefit from quickly eliminating our greenhouse gas emissions and harnessing the power of nature to sequester carbon and restore vulnerable ecosystems,” said Ana Paula Tavares, executive director of Audubon New York. “We look forward to aiding in the implementation of this act, and we extend our deepest thanks to Governor Cuomo for signing the CLCPA into law.”
In order to hold global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius, the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has called on the world to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050, which the CLCPA aims to do: It requires New York eliminate 85% of its overall planet-warming emissions by 2050—offsetting or capturing the other 15%. While five other U.S. states have adopted 100% clean-energy targets, New York’s calls for the greatest reduction in carbon emissions and is the first to do so across all economic sectors, including transportation, building emissions, manufacturing, agriculture, and others.
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.