Gotham Gazette

The Place for New York Policy and politics

Climate Change

Climate Change

  • The Coronavirus is Contributing to Environmental Unconsciousness, But Could Set the Stage for a Just Transition

    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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  • Environmental Justice, Clean Energy, and the Truth about Indian Point

    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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  • Renewable Delusion: Let's be Real About Power Production in New York

    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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  • New York Has Already Moved Beyond Indian Point Nuclear Power; Here’s Where We’re Headed

    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 — ...

  • Letter to the Editor: Cuomo’s Climate Plan Isn’t Serious, But Nuclear Still Isn’t the Answer

    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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  • Is Cuomo Serious About Addressing Climate Change? Indian Point Decision Says No

    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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  • Time for Public Power for New York

    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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  • Max & Murphy Podcast: The Top 10 Stories of 2019 in New York Politics

    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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  • New York's Ambitious Climate Law Hangs in the Balance

    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 “...

  • National Grid Saga Highlights Need for Public Power

    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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  • Local City Council Members Must Head Back to Drawing Board on East River Park Plan

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    (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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  • City Council Must Act Now to Protect the Lower East Side

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    (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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  • Letter to the Editor: Nuclear Is Not The Answer

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    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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  • 7 Years After Sandy - Part I: Pieces In Place That Worked, Rebuilding Efforts That Failed

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    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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  • Protecting Aging New Yorkers Amid Growing Threats Posed by Extreme Heat

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    (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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  • As New York’s Ambitious Energy Plan Breaks Offshore Wind Records, Report Identifies Challenges and Opportunities

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    (photo: Energy.gov/NREL.gov)


    The offshore wind energy revolution has arrived on American shores. In a relatively short period of time, East Coast states are breaking offshore wind records as they compete with each other over wind power. A recent report, though, by the Business Network for Offshore Wind finds that industry challenges will slow growth unless offshore wind states work together to find

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  • Leaving the REBNY vs NIMBY Doom Loop

    city planning manhattan brooklyn waterfront

    (photo: NYC Planning)


    This past week, amidst flooded streets, blackouts, overheated jails, and subway failures, New Yorkers saw the consequences that result from a failure to engage in strategic long-term planning for the future of our city. In the final decisions of the 2019 Charter Revision Commission, we also missed a big chance to do something about it.

    The dangers of failing to invest strategically in the infrastructure that sustains our city will grow in coming decades, as temperatures

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  • Getting New York City Ready for the Next Big Storm - & the Next Heat Wave, Flash Floods & Other Climate Emergencies

    cm carlos m cm dan gardonick marine

     (photo: William Alatriste New York City Council)


    Billy Joel’s dystopian vision for New York City, laid out in the very upbeat but equally terrifying “Miami 2017,” is coming true. The lights have indeed gone out on Broadway. Perhaps the only difference is that Queens won’t stay. 

    This is New York City in 2019: a near 100-degree heat wave shut down power for hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers, who then trudged through flooded streets once the high temperatures gave way to torrential

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  • New York Builds on Its Extensive Climate Leadership

    offshore wind gov

    (photo: offshore-wind-govMike Groll/Office of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo)


    New York Already has the Lowest Greenhouse Gas Emissions Per Capita of Any State in the Nation and is Moving Forward

    New York State has just enacted a plan to bring its planet-warming greenhouse gas emissions to 15% of its 1990 levels by 2050 and provide enough “carbon-emission offsets“ like forestation and wetlands reclamation to bring total carbon-emissions to “net-zero“ by that same year. These goals put New York at the forefront of the United States in

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  • After Rightly Declaring Climate Crisis, the Next Important Step for the City Council

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    Council Member Reynoso (photo: John McCarten/City Council)


    It is heartening that the New York City Council recently voted unanimously to declare a state of climate crisis. 2019 has already brought a string of droughts, record-breaking heat waves, crop failures, and storms, and it is obvious that this is the challenge of our lifetimes.

    Having declared an emergency, now comes the time for swift additional action.

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  • New State Climate Law: ‘Compromise Bill’ Nevertheless ‘Historic’

    gov cuomo roberto clemente waterfront

    (photo: the Governor's office)


    Governor Andrew Cuomo signed the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA) into law last week, finalizing legislation that has been labeled “the most aggressive climate change legislation in the nation,” “comprehensive,” and a “historic compromise.”

    With its aggressive carbon emission reduction mandates and push toward renewable energy and a green economy, the CLCPA has been heralded by lawmakers and supporters as the most comprehensive and ambitious climate change

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  • Calling for 'Climate Emergency' Declaration, Council Members Examine City's Progress in Renewable Energy

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    Climate emergency rally (photo: @BenKallos)


    The likely future of devastation caused by climate change is one of several reasons activist Becca Trabin said New York City needs to declare a climate emergency.

    “You look out at this beautiful cityscape. You don’t just see these tall buildings that are standing here today, you see what this space will look like if we continue on our current trajectory,” Trabin said. “I see devastation all around, I see death. And I see that there is still time to avert that trajectory.”

    Trabin was

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  • Max & Murphy Podcast: Landmark Climate Legislation in Albany

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    Ord Falls Rapids upper Hudson River (photo: NYS DEC)


    June 19, 2019 - Max & Murphy Podcast: Landmark Climate Legislation in Albany

    priya mulgaonkarAfter the passage of the landmark Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act in Albany, Priya Mulgaonkar from the NYC-Environmental Justice Alliance and NY Renews coalition joined the show to discuss the legislation, what it does and

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  • De Blasio Administration Doesn't Support Council Bill to Create Department of Sustainability & Climate Change

    Costa Constantinides City Council

    Council Member Constantinides (photo: Jeff Reed/City Council)


    At a recent hearing of the City Council Committee on Environmental Protection, the de Blasio administration expressed its opposition to a bill that would establish a New York City Department of Sustainability and Climate Change.

    The bill, Intro. 1399, was introduced in February by Council Member Costa Constantinides, a Queens Democrat and chair of the environmental protection committee.

    It would make New York City among the first in the nation to implement a municipal-level

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  • Cuomo, Legislative Majorities Reach Deal on 'History-Making' Climate Bill

    Cuomo climate

    (photo: Kevin P. Coughlin/Governor's Office)


    The state Senate, Assembly, and Governor Cuomo have reached an agreement on a version of the Climate and Community Protection Act (CCPA), setting the stage for passage of a bill to significantly reduce New York’s greenhouse gas emissions and transition the state toward a green economy. The bill has previously passed three times in the Democratic-led Assembly, but stalled in the Senate, which was controlled by Republicans for virtually all of the past several decades until this year.

    As support for the CCPA

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