Gotham Gazette

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environment

environment

  • The Coronavirus Crisis Reinforces the Climate Emergency, Our City Budget Must Recognize That

    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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  • On #EarthDay50, The Answer to Two Existential Crises is Staring Us in the Face

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    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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  • Persistent Themes and New Projects as Earth Day Hits 50 in New York

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

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    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

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    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

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    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

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    (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 — ...

  • 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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  • New York Needs to Invest in the Catskills for the Good of the Whole State

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    The Catskills from above (photo: @CatskillCenter)


    Albany’s budget is tough this year, with an unprecedented $6.1 billion gap to close. New York State has adopted the nation’s most ambitious climate change agenda, which will cost $33 billion over five years, and Governor Cuomo proposes keeping the State’s Environmental Protection Fund (EPF) at a record $300 million.

    Environmental spending may seem like a luxury when budgets are tight, let alone unprecedented environmental spending. But doubling down on the state’s environmental agenda is the

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  • Empowering Communities to Investigate Potentially Toxic Development

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    (photo: Edwin J. Torres/Mayoral Photo Office)


    Without the network of parents that I have met at my daughter’s school in the historic South Street Seaport, I might never have heard about a real estate developer’s purchase of a parking lot directly across the street that was once the site of the largest thermometer factory complex in the country.

    This parking lot is located at 250 Water Street and sits adjacent to the entrances of PS 343 Peck Slip and the Blue School, which is another school that serves pre-kindergarten through fifth-grade children.

    I

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  • Reactions Roundup: Elected Officials, Advocates & Others on Cuomo's 2020 State of the State Speech

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    (photo: Darren McGee/Office of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo)


    On Wednesday, Governor Andrew Cuomo presented his annual State of the Stateaddress from Albany. He opened by highlighting the challenges faced by Americans, and New Yorkers, over recent weeks and years, including earthquakes in Puerto Rico, escalating tensions with Iran, and the surge in hate crimes against Jewish New Yorkers.

    Cuomo gave highlights of New York

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  • National Grid Saga Highlights Need for Public Power

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    (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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  • Keeping the Lights On, and Saving Billions, While Addressing Climate Change

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    Indian Point (photo: the governor's office)


    New York’s recently-passed Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act has been described as the boldest climate legislation in the nation. It sets demanding milestones for reducing carbon emissions, starting with the 2030 goal that New York state should, by then, derive 70% of its electricity from renewable sources (solar, wind, and waterpower). By 2040, it should derive all of its electricity from “clean” sources, and it should be carbon-neutral in all its uses of energy by 2050. 

    These goals

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

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     (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

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    (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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  • The Williams Pipeline Came Back from the Dead - But the Shellfish Won’t

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    (photo: the governor's office)


    Maybe you’ve heard: the Williams Northeast Supply Enhancement Pipeline, proposed to carry fracked gas through New York Harbor yet temporarily stopped by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation due to water-quality concerns, is already back from the dead. Because the needed permit was denied by the DEC “without prejudice,” Williams was allowed to reapply, and—putting quickness above caution—it already has.

    About 99% of the new application is what you might expect: if we slow this and

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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

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    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

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    (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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  • For the Earth's Sake, Enforce Bus Lanes with Cameras

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    (photo: MTA/Patrick Cashin)


    Transit policy is climate policy. In New York, transportation emits 30% of the city’s carbon pollution and 34% of the state’s. Since it’s easier to drive less in a city than in suburban and rural areas, much of that is carbon we can easily spare. When shrinking New York’s carbon footprint, transportation emissions are low-hanging fruit.

    Granted, the challenge is stiff. Car registrations in the city are rising, up 9% in the past four years. The city’s own government vehicle fleet has grown 19% in size and 25% in miles traveled in the past five

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  • Pushed on Climate Legislation, Cuomo Tries to Set Himself Apart

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    Cuomo, middle, with Jerry Brown, left, & John Kerry (photo: Kevin P. Coughlin/Governor's Office)


    Gov. Andrew Cuomo doubled down on his plan to fight climate change and his opposition to the  Climate and Community Protection Act on Friday amid increased pressure to pass the legislation.

    The bill ­– which intends to move the state’s economy to 100 percent renewable energy by 2050, invest clean energy funds in

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  • Pass the Off Fossil Fuels Act, New York’s Strongest Climate Change Bill

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    (photo: Emil Cohen/City Council)


    Grassroots climate activists hope that before state lawmakers adjourn for the summer they will strike a deal with Governor Cuomo to adopt the strongest climate legislation possible.

    And let’s be clear: the strongest climate bill is the NYS OFF Act (A3565/S5526), not the more publicized Climate and Community Protection Act (CCPA).

    The Off Fossil Fuels Act, for 100% renewable energy by 2030, grew out of the successful grassroots campaign to ban fracking in New York. It seeks to implement the study

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