Gotham Gazette

The Place for New York Policy and politics

Climate Change

Climate Change

  • climate activists

    Pushing for a climate plan (photo: Ed Reed/Mayor's Office)


    From Superstorm Sandy to Tropical Storm Isaías, climate change threatens all New Yorkers. That policymakers have largely not acted on this threat in a meaningful way is a profound failure. Now is the time to rectify that lack of action.

    In New York at least, our new Democratic State Senate majority took power in 2019 and answered the call. Our Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA) is a nation-leading effort to fight back, putting our state on track for net zero

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  • paper recy si

    Garbage time (photo: Michael Anton/Department of Sanitation)


    Unequal impacts of COVID-19 on low-income Black and brown communities have magnified the consequences of our unsustainable working and living processes and accumulated environmental injustices.

    The highest rates of pandemic-related deaths are in the same communities that have long breathed more polluted air and who deal day-to-day with heightened police violence. The accelerating climate crisis will amplify both of these forms of violence as the stagnant quality of hot air concentrates local pollution and local

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  • access damage updates

    It's time to better prepare (photo: governor's office)


    New York has faced its share of disasters, and each one seemed impossible and unprecedented until it actually happened. 9/11, Superstorm Sandy, and now COVID-19 each took a dramatic toll on our social and physical infrastructure,  the state’s economy, and our very way of life. 

    We always recover, but we must break the cycle of rebuilding and plan for future risk instead. Any threats must be taken seriously as many communities are already overextended and strained. Hurricane

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  • american wind

    A New. York wind farm (photo: @nyserda)


    Prologue
    At the stroke of midnight, as April gave way to May, one hundred drones with diamond-brazed hacksaws descended on a remote section of the New York-New Jersey Bight. Methodically, diabolically, they set to their task: lopping off a thousand or more turbine blades whose spinning motion enabled the world’s biggest offshore wind farm. When the sun rose on May 1 it revealed a stark sight: 400 supertall towers stripped bare. Twelve hundred blades, three per tower, that for decades had

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  • ann state legal

    The current crisis reminds us of the past and warns us about the future (photo: Kevin P. Coughlin/Governor's Office)


    Everyone on Long Island remembers how it felt during Hurricane Sandy. We were paralyzed, waiting for the storm to pass, fearing for our families, homes, and basic needs. When the skies finally cleared, and we saw the scale of the destruction, it was clear that no individual one of us was strong enough, connected enough, or resourced enough to recover alone. We needed each other, we needed our community, we needed to come

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  • plans signi expand

    Is the post-coronavirus future renewable? (photo: Ed Reed/Mayor's Office)


    There have been many hard-learned lessons from COVID-19, but by far the most tragic – paid for with the lives of tens of thousands of people – is that when it comes to dealing with a public health crisis, preparation and proactive planning is the only approach that can keep our worst nightmares from becoming a reality. While New York is still far from reaching the light at the end of the tunnel, many inside and outside of government have rightly begun to envision what a restart to our economy

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  • divest ny fos

    A protest to push for New York pension system divestment from fossil fuel stocks (photo: @350)


    The oil and gas industries are experiencing significant upheaval as the coronavirus pandemic decimates economies across the globe. The price of crude oil in the United States temporarily fell below $0 per barrel for the first time ever last month, prompting renewed energy among activists and elected officials in New York who want to rid the state pension fund of all investments in the fossil fuel industry.

    But the one person they must convince, State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli,

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  • reynoso celebrate renovate

    City Council Member Antonio Reynoso, the author (photo: Emil Cohen/City Council)


    These months will go down as one of the most trying periods in our city’s history. We are consumed by the grief of lost loved ones, colleagues, and neighbors, while facing a level of economic uncertainty not seen in generations. In this moment of crisis, many of us feel compelled to put on blinders and focus solely on addressing the present situation, and there is no doubt that efforts to combat COVID-19 will require vast resources and attention from our best

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  • joint ind board

    The future is renewable, the author writes (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayor's Office)


    On this 50th anniversary of Earth Day—Wednesday, April 22, 2020—, the world is in crisis. An unbearable number of lives lost each day. Livelihoods disappearing or threatened. And the uncertainty of what might come next is disrupting communities. Our infrastructure is strained to the brink and our most marginalized communities are bearing a disproportionate brunt of the pain. I’m of course talking about the ongoing devastation of the COVID-19 pandemic.

    The tragedy is that these

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  • gov statewide research

    Key themes of the first Earth Day remain on the 50th (photo: governor's office)


    A half-century ago, the United States celebrated the first Earth Day. In New York City, Fifth Avenue connected Union Square Park and Central Park with tens of thousands of New Yorkers celebrating the environment and urging their government to take swift and decisive action to protect their air and water. Today, 50 years later, the world has been put on pause to combat a health crisis unseen in generations. But while we are unable to again take to the streets to mark

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  • mayor exec reliiance

    Coronavirus presents an additional challenge & opportunity (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayor's Office)


    Our atmosphere is getting a breath of fresh air, but it’s not because of the Paris Agreement or any political awakening to the climate crisis. It’s because of the new coronavirus, COVID-19. Yet even as emissions fall and we put our highly-carbonized business-as-usual on pause (from fewer people and planes flying to less driving and overall

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  • built fresh park

    renewable energy and the future of New York power (photo: Mayor's Office)


    In a recent Gotham Gazette column, Richard Webster, legal director for Riverkeeper, writes that “New York Has Already Moved Beyond Indian Point Nuclear Power; Here’s Where We’re Headed.” While Riverkeeper, the Westchester-based environmental group that has spearheaded the decades-long push to close Indian Point, may have moved on, the rest of us will be dealing with

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  • cuomo indian point

    Gov. Cuomo outside Indian Point power plant (photo: Governor's Office)


    Richard Webster, attorney for Riverkeeper, a principal advocate for closure of Indian Point power plant, has written a deeply misleading response to an opinion piece in which Herschel Specter and I urged that

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  • cuomo tours mariobridge

    (photo: Kevin P. Coughlin/Office of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo)


    Despite the last-minute denials in an op-ed column recently published in these pages, there’s actually good news regarding replacement energy for Indian Point’s 2,060 megawatts once it goes offline in April. The New York Independent System Operator — which coordinates the distribution of our electricity supply — ...

  • cuomo recieves briefing

    Indian Point power plant (photo: Governor's Office)


    In an opinion piece by Leonard Rodberg and Herschel Specter, “Is Governor Cuomo Serious About Climate Change? Indian Point Decision Says No,” published March 2, the authors argue that the climate plan for New York is not serious because it cannot accomplish the desired reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. However, they claim, it is easy to make the plan serious by cancelling the

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  • Gotham Gazette:

    Indian Point (photo: the governor's office)


    Governor Andrew Cuomo claims that New York is a leader in addressing the dangers of climate change. So far, the facts fail to support this.

    Since 2010, New York’s gas-fired and dual-use (gas & oil) electric capacity has increased over four times as fast as wind plus other sources of renewable power. Fossil fuels today produce eight times as much electricity as all our renewables, exclusive of hydropower. This movement towards greater fossil fuel use is about to get far worse if the carbon-free Indian Point nuclear plant is shut

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  • crowds gather witness

    (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayor's Office)


    New York’s Public Service Commission recently approved another rate hike for Con Edison, as it does every three years. This hike will increase electric rates by 13% and gas rates by 22% over the next three years.

    Con Edison won. Like always, it requested and was granted its rate hike. It doesn't matter that New Yorkers already pay the second highest municipal rates in the country. Nor the $200 million for new fossil-fuel infrastructure baked into Con Ed's request. Despite this, state regulators are once

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  • hud nycha announcement

    (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office)


    December 25, 2019 - Max & Murphy Podcast: The Top 10 Stories of 2019 in New York Politics

    PodcastThe hosts break down the 10 biggest stories of 2019 in New York politics, from all-Democratic control in Albany to Mayor de Blasio's short-lived presidential campaign, from a federal monitor for NYCHA to a 'transformative' year at the MTA, Corey Johnson's quest to 'break

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  • cuomo gov e14

    (photo: governor's office)


    This spring, thanks to the tireless work of grassroots organizers, New York State took the first step towards tackling the climate crisis. The Legislature passed, and the governor signed the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act, which sets binding mandates to get New York off of fossil fuels and directs much-needed support to communities hit first and worst by the climate crisis. 

    The CLCPA is a landmark piece of legislation. It’s been called “...

  • joint industry board elect industry

    (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayor's Office)


    For six months, National Grid has held New Yorkers’ gas hostage in an attempt to force through an environmentally-disastrous pipeline that those same New Yorkers fiercely oppose. Last week, Governor Cuomo finally pushed back against National Grid, in a letter threatening to revoke the company’s license to operate downstate. Considering that National Grid has stranded 1,100

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  • efmfnl2xsaezfd7

    (photo: @ERPAction)


    An Open Letter

    Dear City Council Members Carlina Rivera, Margaret Chin, and Keith Powers:

    You have indicated that on Thursday you will vote for the flood control plan that will demolish East River Park and rebuild it 8-10 feet higher over five years. This is a $1.45 billion, five-year project that will destroy more than a mile of coastline park that is vital to our neighborhood, the un-wealthy end of the Lower East Side and East Village. I urge you to change your vote to “no” on Nov. 14. Here’s why: 

    Once this plan

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  • escr rendering

    (rendering: City of New York)


    It has been seven years since Superstorm Sandy made landfall on our city, causing billions of dollars in damage and ravaging some of our city’s most critical infrastructure, including our parks. It took years for the famous boardwalks in Coney Island and the Rockaways to re-open. Trees across our coastlines died and continue to be at risk from exposure to salt water. And many of our coastal parks are no less protected from the next big storm today than they were in 2012.

    As a steward and advocate for our city’s parks, I know that we can’t

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  • pripyatvisitchernobyl3

    from Chernobyl (photo: Where Can I Fly?)


    To the Editor:

    I respectfully but fundamentally disagree with the op-ed column by Leonard Rodberg and Herschel Specter, “Keeping the Lights On, and Saving Billions, While Addressing Climate Change” (Oct. 24, 2019), about keeping open the nuclear reactors in New York state.

    The column does not mention the greatest dangers nuclear reactors present: those from nuclear waste. This waste has been

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  • aerial view bridge

    Brooklyn Bridge Park (photo: mayor's office)


    This is part one of a three-part series on '7 Years After Sandy.' Part two -- on the city’s stalled and advancing resiliency measures -- can be found hereThis series is part of Gotham Gazette's work in participation with the Covering Climate Now project, which includes over 250 media outlets focusing on

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  • mansion tax

    (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office)


    In a city where flooding is the face of climate change, extreme heat is a silent but growing threat. Every year, extreme heat in New York City causes, on average, more than 450 emergency room visits and 150 hospital admissions, and results in the deaths of 115 New Yorkers from heat stroke and heat-related exacerbation of chronic health conditions. Older people are at the most risk.

    For the first time in human history, our planet has more people over 65 than children under five, and the world’s global population is

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