The Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA) was recently enacted in New York State. The CLCPA is a comprehensive climate change law that sets ambitious targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, increasing the use of renewable energy, and creating green jobs. The CLCPA also includes provisions to protect vulnerable communities from the impacts of climate change. The CLCPA sets a goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions to 40% below 1990 levels by 2030, and 85% below 1990 levels by 2050. It also sets a goal of obtaining 70% of electricity from renewable sources by 2030, and 100% from renewable sources by 2040. The CLCPA also includes provisions to support the development of offshore wind energy, energy efficiency, and electric vehicle infrastructure. Additionally, the CLCPA requires the state to invest in projects that will help vulnerable communities adapt to the impacts of climate change. This includes investments in coastal resiliency, clean energy, and green infrastructure. Finally, the CLCPA requires the state to develop a plan to achieve its targets through equity and environmental justice. The plan must include strategies to ensure that the benefits of climate action are shared equitably among all communities.

Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act

New York state law

The Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA) is a plan signed on July 18, 2019 to deal with climate change and reach net zero emissions in the state of New York. The Act sets targets to reduce emissions to 40% below 1990 levels by 2030 and then to 85% below 1990 levels by 2050. The remaining 15% of emissions will be offset, such as planting trees that remove carbon dioxide from the air to achieve net zero emissions.

Specific emission targets by sector

One of the main obstacles to achieving this goal is dramatically shifting the energy source within New York State. By 2030, New York aims to source 70% of its electricity from renewable sources, and by 2040 the goal is to have all of the state’s electricity come from carbon-free sources such as wind and solar energy. Some New York City utility providers claim this goal is too ambitious and will result in higher bills for New York residents. Already about 60% of New York State’s electricity is being produced from carbon-free sources, mainly hydroelectric plants and nuclear center.

Other sectors will also need to adapt to meet these emission reduction targets. Transportation accounts for a third of the state’s emissions, but national emissions reduction standards are being rolled back to allow for more pollution, and stricter state standards to reduce transportation emissions are being challenged by the Trump administration. Also, many residential and commercial buildings use natural gas or oil to heat their homes. To meet reduction targets, New York will likely need to invest in the innovation and implementation of new heating systems powered by renewable energy sources. These measures are based on a previous law (Local Law 97 of 2019) to reduce emissions in large existing buildings in New York City.

Climate justice provisions

The plan includes certain stipulations to direct no less than 35% of the program’s benefits to historically disadvantaged communities based on a series of determinants related to “public health, environmental risks and socioeconomic factors” and decided by the newly created Justice Working Group Climate. In addition, the Act also aims to create a “community air monitoring program” to monitor air quality standards and levels of pollutants at the community level, address air quality problems as they arise in communities affected by pollution of local air and take special care to ensure polluting criteria are eliminated first in disadvantaged communities.

Climate Action Council

The Act created a 22-member Climate Action Council to publish actionable proposals to reduce emissions to target levels within the allowed time frame. The Climate Action Council will publish its draft plans within two years of the CLCPA becoming law and will update its plan every five years thereafter. Each economic sector, including the transport, construction, industrial, commercial and agricultural sectors, should have a customized plan with various strategies for reducing their sector-specific emissions.

History

The CLCPA is the product of years of advocacy by New York’s environmentally focused community organizations to gain political support in the New York State Legislature. The CLCPA is a version of an earlier bill, the Climate and Community Protection Act (CCPA). new york renovatesa coalition of more than 300 “environmental, justice, faith, labor and community groups”, is cited as being instrumental in passing the bill and was “the force behind the most progressive climate law in the country [the CLCPA]”. New York Renews is now pushing for more progressive legislation to fully fund and enforce the CLCPA, encourage the creation of new clean energy, and increase revenues by taxing polluters and the ultra-rich through the Climate, Employment and Justice Package (CJJP)).

References


Source: Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act
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