Historic Climate Hearing

Historic Climate Hearing

Political New York Energy: February 12, 2108

By Marie J. French

In what appears to be a historic first, the state Senate will hold a series of hearings on human-caused climate change starting today. Among those scheduled to testify are NYSERDA president and CEO Alicia Barton, Environmental Advocates of New York’s Peter Iwanowicz, The Business Council’s Darren Suarez, other business representatives, environmental and community activists, clean energy developers, economists and scientists. The focus will be on the Climate and Community Protection Act, which has passed the Assembly three times. But some advocates will also likely push Democratic lawmakers who now hold commanding majorities in both chambers to go even further. The CCPA sets a goal of eliminating greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 while another proposal with backing from Howie Hawkins, Food and Water Watch and others sets a 2030 target.

Looming over the hearing, and likely to be part of the discussion, is Cuomo’s lack of interest in the CCPA or other legislation setting hard goals for reducing emissions across the economy. The governor and his allies are worried about costs and the “how” of getting to such goals. Cuomo said on Monday he backs the ultimate goal of Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.)'s "Green New Deal" proposal to eliminate carbon emissions, but indicated concerns about how best to achieve such an ambitious target. Ocasio-Cortez's framework calls for a 10-year wholesale economic shift to achieve that target. "I would support a national framework that was feasible," Cuomo said. "Everybody wants to get to the same goal. The question is how you do it. ... The problem has always been the how, not the goal. I get the goal. Zero carbon emissions, yes. How?"

Howie Hawkins gets the credit he deserves for the "Green New Deal."

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