Climate Action Now: Environmental Advocates Testify Before Assembly
The Nature Conservancy, NY League of Conservation Voters, Natural Resources Defense Council, & Audubon NY ask leaders for smart action on climate.
At a public hearing today concerning action on climate change, environmental advocacy groups provided testimony to the Assembly Standing Committee on Environmental Conservation urging state leaders to come to a practical agreement on how to address climate change, especially in communities where public health, economic well-being, natural resources, and the environment are most at risk.
Stressing the need for immediate and effective climate action, The Nature Conservancy, the New York League of Conservation Voters, the Natural Resources Defense Council, and Audubon New York joined other environmental advocates to remind lawmakers of the critical opportunity to pass legislation that would not only improve the lives of New Yorkers who will be affected by climate change, but could also position New York to lead the nation in addressing climate change.
“I urge the legislature to work with the Governor to come to an agreement on climate legislation this legislative session because we do not have time to wait,” said Julie Tighe, President of the New York League of Conservation Voters. “Simply put, we have less than 12 years to sharply reduce our greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and about 30 years to reduce our net GHG emissions as close to zero as we can get. In short - we need to stop talking about acting on climate change and actually take action.”
“Opportunities like this don’t come around very often, and history is littered with the mounds of “we almost got there” moments that fell to the cutting room floor. New York cannot afford for climate legislation this session to be one more of those moments. To avoid that outcome, we urge you to act quickly to forge an agreement,” said Miles Farmer, Senior Attorney for the Natural Resources Defense Council. “We are also encouraged to see many areas of commonality between the Climate and Community Protection Act (CCPA) and the Climate Leadership Act (CLA) and we urge you to work together to pass a consensus bill.”
“Here in New York, 2019 is the year to pass nation-leading climate policy,” said Jessica Ottney Mahar, New York Policy Director at the Nature Conservancy. “We have a great starting point, with the Community and Climate Protection Act (CCPA), sponsored by Assemblyman Englebright and by Senator Kaminsky. We also have in front of us Governor Cuomo’s Climate Leadership Act (CLA) which was proposed during the state budget process. With proposals by the Assembly, Senate and the Executive, it’s clear there is an appetite for action and a pathway to chapter pioneering legislation on climate change mitigation.”
“It is important that New York State back its climate and energy goals with the force of law,” said Erin McGrath, Policy Manager of Audubon New York. “Successfully combatting climate change will be a decades-long effort, and we must ensure that New York State government continues to make progress toward climate mitigation and adaptation despite any future changes in political climate.”
There are currently two pieces of proposed climate legislation, the Climate and Community Protection Act (CCPA) and the Governor’s Climate Leadership Act (CLA), though neither proposal includes all the elements needed for a strong climate bill. By combining elements from the CCPA and the CLA with suggestions from today’s hearing, advocates are hopeful that legislators will be able to act swiftly to pass a climate bill in the five remaining weeks before the conclusion of the legislative session.
Submitted testimonies are available online:
The Nature Conservancy is a global conservation organization dedicated to conserving the lands and waters on which all life depends. Guided by science, we create innovative, on-the-ground solutions to our world's toughest challenges so that nature and people can thrive together. We are tackling climate change, conserving lands, waters and oceans at an unprecedented scale, providing food and water sustainably and helping make cities more sustainable. Working in 72 countries and territories: 38 by direct conservation impact and 34 through partners, we use a collaborative approach that engages local communities, governments, the private sector, and other partners. To learn more, visit www.nature.org or follow @nature_press on Twitter.