For Immediate Release
ALBANY - Dozens of climate activists swarmed the state capitol on Tuesday to demand the legislature and Governor Cuomo embrace a real plan to move New York off fossil fuels by 2030.
In a rally and series of legislative meetings, leaders in the climate movement called for an immediate ban on the construction of new fossil fuel projects.
"Our message to the legislature is simple: we must move much faster to address the catastrophic threat of climate change,” said Alex Beauchamp, Northeast Region Director at Food & Water Watch. “We must move off fossil fuels by 2030 instead of pushing off the full transition until the middle of the century. That process should start right now with an immediate halt the construction of new fossil fuel projects.”
Advocates, legislators, and grassroots activists rallied around the New York Off Fossil Fuels bill (A. 3565), calling it the most aggressive climate legislation the state has ever seen. The bill would move the state completely off fossil fuels and nuclear power by the year 2030.
"The warning signs of the impacts of damage being done to our environment by fossil fuels grows more urgent. A3565 provides a pathway to converting to renewable energy by 2030 in a transparent planned way, preparing to mitigate negative impacts on existing jobs, energy costs and prior impacts on environmental justice communities," said Assemblymember William Colton. "Time is running out to act before we face a crisis which will force emergency actions upon us all."
Sandra Steingraber, PhD, biologist and cofounder of New Yorkers Against Fracking, said: "Meaningful action on climate change is a race against time and requires us to do three coordinated things at once: rapidly deploy renewable energy, stop the build-out of fossil fuel infrastructure, and help New York’s farmers turn our soil into a carbon warehouse via regenerative agriculture. It’s a triathlon, and New York Off Fossil Fuels Act gets us across the finish line."
The rally and lobby day came at a key moment in the debate around climate change legislation. The legislature recently held a series of hearings around the Climate and Community Protection Act, a bill that calls for 50% renewable energy by 2030 and zero overall emissions by 2050. On Tuesday, members of the climate movement called for a much faster timeline.
"The IPCC says we have 12 years left for dramatic climate action to save life on the planet. We need New York state to be a world leader and pass the strongest climate legislation possible. That starts with as quick a timeline as is technologically possible - say 2030 - combined with an immediate halt to fossil fuels. We must add on renewable energy but we have to stop greenhouse gas emissions as soon as possible while ensuring a Just Transition," said Mark Dunlea, Chair of the Green Education and Legal Fund.
"At this moment in history, with a growing consciousness of the need to address the existential threat of climate change as exemplified by Congressional legislation for a Green New Deal, Governor Cuomo must move away from energy industry propaganda," said Merton D. Simpson, Albany County Legislator (District 2) and co-chair of SHARE (Sheridan Hollow Alliance for Renewable Energy). "The promotion of natural gas seems to cloud the thinking of many in the state’s energy leadership, and is the rationale behind the Sheridan Hollow Fracked Natural Gas Microgrid. The Governor must do everything in his power to use Sheridan Hollow as a model for renewable energy and move toward the goal of 100% renewable energy by 2030."