FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Wednesday, September 23, 2020
Nick Sifuentes, Executive Director, Tri-State Transportation Campaign
Lauren Bailey, Director of Climate Policy, Tri-State Transportation Campaign
Kathleen Gasperini, Director, Communications and Marketing, The Alliance for Clean Energy New York
‘NY for TCI’ includes leading voices in health, transportation, environment, business, and clean energy working together to achieve an equitable and sustainable Transportation and Climate Initiative (TCI) program.
New York, NY – Today, a coalition of New York State transportation, business, health, clean energy, and environmental advocates launched ‘NY for TCI’ — a campaign focused on achieving equitable, sustainable, and accessible transportation options through the multistate Transportation and Climate Initiative (TCI). TCI is a regional collaboration of 12 Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states, including New York and the District of Columbia that seeks to transform transportation, supercharge the clean energy economy, and curb emissions from the transportation sector–a major source of harmful local air pollution and New York’s largest source of carbon pollution. New York’s outdated networks of roads, bridges, sidewalks, transit systems, and other modes of travel are plagued by problems decades in the making such as congestion, delays, underfunding, inaccessibility, high costs, and pollution. These issues make getting to work, school, doctors’ offices, recreation, stores, and back home stressful and unsafe for all New Yorkers.
Communities of color and low-resourced communities are disproportionately harmed by inequitable pollution burdens exacerbated by vehicle traffic, particularly from diesel-burning vehicles as transit depots and freight hubs tend to be sited in these communities. Many of these same communities as well as people with disabilities, veterans, older residents, rural residents, and others too often face transportation barriers to healthcare, social services, and jobs.
Through an equitable and sustainable TCI program, New York has a once in a generation opportunity to tackle these challenges and transform the state’s transportation to make it healthier, more equitable, sustainable, affordable, and accessible. The proposed TCI “cap-and- invest” program would limit and reduce carbon pollution from transportation fuels and, by requiring oil companies to pay for the pollution they cause, provide up to $1.4 billion per year to invest in New York’s communities to provide better, cleaner, and safer transportation options.
To achieve this progress, it is essential that New York lead the regional TCI negotiations. The program’s pollution cap must be consistent with achieving New York’s nation-leading climate commitments to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 and invest in mass transit and other clean transportation solutions that provide health, economic, and jobs benefits in historically underrepresented communities. By leading on TCI, New York can transform the state’s transportation towards a more equitable, affordable, and accessible future. New York can reduce air pollution, invest in environmental justice initiatives, create good well-paying green jobs, protect the long-term health and well-being of our communities, and accelerate the state’s economic recovery following the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Transportation is the leading source of carbon emissions for New York State and for the country as a whole,” said Nick Sifuentes, Executive Director of Tri-State Transportation Campaign. “New York’s position as a regional leader in the Transportation and Climate Initiative will be essential to reduce harmful tailpipe emissions, address our climate crisis, and drive investments towards cleaner, accessible, and affordable transportation options. With TCI, New Yorkers will see investments return to our communities, creating clean energy jobs, growing our economy, and, most importantly, investing in our environmental justice communities as mandated by the CLCPA. TCI is a road to a greener future for New York as well as our region and we are proud to join NY for TCI to make this future a reality.”
“By participating in a multistate Transportation and Climate Initiative and reducing carbon emissions together with our neighbors, New York stands to save hundreds of lives, prevent thousands of asthma attacks, and generate billions of dollars in public health benefits, according to the Lung Association’s recently released report on ‘The Road to Clean Air,'” said Michael Seilback, a National Assistant Vice President for state public policy for the American Lung Association. “The combination of effective pollution reduction policies, and the investment opportunities made possible through TCI, furthers New York’s role as a leader on health, climate and equity for burdened communities across the region and beyond.”
Anne Reynolds of the Alliance for Clean Energy New York stated, “Embracing TCI is a great choice for New York, because it sets a cap on carbon from the transportation sector; it allows States to work together on solutions; and it can generate the revenue we will need to improve transit and gradually electrify vehicles. It can be the foundation on which clean transportation and climate justice is built in NY. ACE NY is proud to be part of NY for TCI.”
“The New York region is currently challenged by a series of simultaneous crises: of environmental injustice, with its lingering legacy of underinvestment in communities and compromised public health; of COVID-impacted public budgets that leave us woefully short of revenue to invest in critical infrastructure; and a climate crisis, that threatens our very existence,” said Tom Wright, President and CEO of Regional Plan Association. “While there are no silver bullets, the Transportation and Climate Initiative gives us a tool to alleviate each of these crises. Implementing TCI along with other climate justice policies gives us the best opportunity to advance a healthier, more sustainable and equitable region with greater prosperity for all.”
“Regional policy eliminates many of the border issues created when laws differ among neighboring states,” said Lynn Meyer, State-level Organizer, Citizens’ Climate Lobby NY.
“Transportation is one of the biggest contributors to our carbon footprint in New York State. Stronger policies to make electric and solar-powered transportation more widespread will make a clean energy future possible,” said Jeff Irish, Executive Vice President of SunCommon.
Julie Tighe, President of the New York League of Conservation Voters, said, “We are proud to join the NY for TCI coalition. Transportation doesn’t start and stop at New York’s borders. We must take a leadership role in our region to reduce transportation emissions as part of our participation in the Transportation and Climate Initiative. We must commit to a bold emission-reduction plan for the transportation sector that holds polluters accountable, invests in cleaner transportation options, prioritizes environmental justice communities, and is ambitious enough to slash pollution at the scale needed to avert the climate crisis.”
“New York has made ambitious commitments to create a carbon free economy and moved forward with innovative transportation policies to reduce congestion,” said Alli Gold Roberts, Director of State Policy at Ceres. “The Transportation & Climate Initiative is an incredible opportunity to build on the state’s leadership and partner with neighbors to decarbonize the entire transportation sector. TCI will provide opportunities to invest in a cleaner, more sustainable and equitable transportation system for all.”
“New York is not immune to the effects of the climate crisis, and as we watch the fires rage in the west and experience tropical storms firsthand, we feel the urgency to transition off fossil fuels as quickly as possible,” said Betta Broad, Director of New Yorkers for Clean Power. “We’re excited that NY for TCI is calling for New York to lead on the Transportation and Climate Initiative so that the program is as ambitious and equitable as this moment calls for.”
To learn more about NY for TCI and show your support visit www.nyfortci.org where you can partner with NY for TCI and sign on to this letter to Governor Cuomo.
3rd Annual Summit Featured Student Organizing and How to Reach New York’s Groundbreaking Climate Goals
After holding events in Rochester in 2017 and Syracuse in 2018, the grassroots Climate Solutions Summit hosted its 3rd event in New Paltz on September 21st. This year’s event, co-sponsored by dozens of organizations and hosted by SUNY New Paltz, brought record breaking turnout with more than 300 attendees. The summit took place during a week of global climate strikes and actions in solidarity with youth school strikes known as “Fridays for our Future” and “School Strike for the Climate.” The summit attracted a large number of students with its special student track of workshops.
The summit aims to build a larger movement across the northeast that is prepared to take action to implement effective climate solutions. The annual event provides an opportunity for organizers and people from communities across the region to come together to share projects, case studies, resources, experiences and skills to tackle climate change and implement solutions.
The summit’s opening panel, entitled, “How to Accomplish New York’s Clean Energy and Climate Goals,” featured State Senator Jen Metzger, First Assistant Secretary for Energy and the Environment to the Governor Amanda Lefton, Executive Director of Alliance for Clean Energy New York (ACE NY) Anne Reynolds, Ulster County Legislator and Clearwater Environmental Director Manna Jo Greene and Environmental and Advocacy Coordinator at WE ACT for Environmental Justice Stephan Roundtree. See the live streamed opening panel video here.
Ulster County Executive Pat Ryan said, “We must do everything we can to combat the existential threat climate change poses to our communities. Discussions, like those held at the Climate Solutions Summit, are essential in gaining support and finding real solutions to address our climate emergency. Defending and protecting our climate and introducing innovative ways to address the climate crisis is one of my top priorities, and I am eager to continue fighting for a greener future here in Ulster County and beyond.”
Anne Reynolds of the Alliance for Clean Energy stated, “To show leadership on climate change, New York needs to get renewable energy projects built. And the imperative to build wind and solar projects depends on communities welcoming these projects into their towns. It was great to take part in discussions at the Climate Solutions Summit about community support and real solutions for New York.”
“This excellent and timely Climate Solutions Summit demonstrated unequivocally that the transition to a Renewable Energy Economy with storage and efficiency is not only possible, it is both necessary and powerfully in progress as we speak,” said Manna Jo Greene, Ulster County Legislator and Environmental Director for Hudson River Sloop Clearwater. “That said,” she continued, “renowned climate scientist, Dr. Michael Mann, cautions that we must stop burning fossil fuel now to be sure that climate solutions can and will be effective. Let’s join together to create a Regional Renewable Energy Implementation Plan as a roadmap to ensure the goals of New York’s ambitious Climate Leadership and Community Protect Plan (CLCPA) are actually attained by 2030.”
The panel’s moderator, Betta Broad, director of New Yorkers for Clean Power that led the Summit organizing said, “We are thrilled to bring together so many people who are committed to climate action and implementing solutions in their own communities. New York State has the opportunity to lead the nation in climate action but it’s going to take all of us to make our goals a reality on the ground. Working together we can do it and it’s not too late.”
The workshops and panels focused on renewable energy technologies like solar and heat pumps, energy efficiency, clean transportation, climate justice, clean energy careers, and organizing in our schools and communities for climate solutions from renewable energy planning to transit-oriented development.
“It was fantastic that the location for the Climate Solutions Summit was held in New Paltz this year because we are making huge strides in our community to become Climate Smart and I found that the summit panels and workshops gave us inspiration for new solutions,” said Janelle Peotter, the Coordinator for New Paltz Climate Smart. “It was great to be able to cap the end of the summit with our second annual Zero Emissions Parade showcasing electric vehicles, bicycles and pedestrians only two days before our community leaders do an intensive all day workshop on Complete Streets.”
“Housing is the predominant land use in most urbanized areas and also a major contributor to greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.There is a continued need for affordable environmentally friendly housing. Highlighting sustainable strategies to achieve zero-net energy housing will showcase two projects currently under construction in Ulster County to provide needed housing for residents and reduce harm to the environment,” said Guy Kempe, VP for Community Development at RUPCO, Inc.
“As the climate crisis has advanced, so has climate action as an arena of expertise and creativity. Whether you are a scientist modeling the impact of solutions or an entrepreneur designing battery production facilities, there is a dynamic world of work to be done and it’s growing,” said Melissa Everett, Executive Director of Sustainable Hudson Valley and moderator of the Climate Careers panel.
“By focusing on solutions,” said Dr. Kathleen Nolan, Research Director at Catskill Mountainkeeper, who attended the conference, “we shift our narratives from grappling with problems to shaping and enlivening our future.” She continued: “As we adopt new behaviors and think more creatively about how to live well in homes, and cars, and businesses powered by renewables like solar and wind and while also generating less waste, we are finding ourselves in closer touch with our families and communities, as well as with our earth itself.”
“To meet the ambitious mandates set forth in New York’s new climate legislation, we need an all hands on deck multi-sector approach to move New York communities, buildings, cities, and businesses towards the future we all want: a decarbonized society that puts people over fossil fuel profits. Governor Cuomo would do well to show up at the Climate Solutions Summit and learn from an amazing list of speakers working on the frontlines of our green energy economy!” Andrew Pezzullo, Hudson Valley organizer at Food and Water Action and Food and Water Watch.
“2019 is a critical time for climate action, and an exciting time to be doing that work in New York state. Ulster County is a leader in climate policy statewide, and New York is pushing some of the most ambitious action on climate change in the country. Figuring out what works right here in New Paltz and the surrounding area can inform the climate agenda of the whole country, so it’s pretty powerful that this forward-thinking little town is hosting the summit this year.” Cal Trumann, Solar Community Organizer for SunCommon, Hudson Valley-based renewable energy B Corp.
The summit included a green vendor fair, a waste-free and vegan breakfast and lunch, and the second annual Zero Emissions Parade organized by New Paltz Climate Action Coalition, featuring marchers, bikers, and electric vehicles.
The 2019 Climate Solutions Summit was Co-Sponsored by SUNY New Paltz, New Yorkers for Clean Power, ACE NY, Sustainable Hudson Valley, The Climate Reality Project, New Paltz Climate Action Coalition, AGREE NY, New Paltz Climate Smart, Hudson River Sloop Clearwater, Hudson Valley Regional Council, Food & Water Watch, Catskill Mountainkeeper, SunCommon, RUPCO, Scenic Hudson, Marbletown Environmental Conservation Commission, NYPIRG, Environmental Advocates of NY, and Protecting Our Waters.
More info at www.ClimateSolutionsSummit.org
The Student Climate Coalition was initiated by the regional high school interns of New Yorkers for Clean Power and an expanding network of students and young people from around the Northeast. The Coalition works to connect, educate and empower students on sustainable practices and renewable energy projects; and establish common goals based on climate solutions and sustainability for local schools and communities.
Currently the Coalition is planning it’s participation and official launch at the Climate Solutions Summit at SUNY New Paltz on Saturday, September 21st. The coalition’s membership ranges from high school and college students with some middle school and graduate student partners.
Members of the Student Climate Coalition will be presenting their experience with environmental and sustainability projects and their plans for the future at the Climate Solution Summit.
If you are interested in participating in the Student Climate Coalition or want more information, reach out at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
Happy Earth Day! Today we celebrate our planet and all that it provides for us by considering how we can give back. At NYCP, we are focused on preserving our natural environment by expanding and utilizing renewable energy, efficiency and EVs, but there are many ways we can contribute to a healthier, more sustainable world. Take this Earth Day to make some eco-friendly changes in your life.
First Steps to Energy Efficiency
A strong start to reducing your carbon footprint is by making sure the energy you already use in your life is being used efficiently, and not going to waste.
1. Conserve Energy: Turn lights, TVs and other electronics off when not in use. Reduce “phantom” power by plugging in your appliance to a power strip and switching it off when not in use. Get a programmable thermostat!
3. Do an Energy Retrofit: Add air sealing & insulation to your building & switch to LED lighting.
4. Go Renewable! Sign up for community renewables like community solar. If you get a Con Edison bill check out Power Market community solar, or if you get a National Grid bill check out Common Energy community solar! You can also find a renewable installer near you by visiting our Solar, Wind & Clean Heating and Cooling pages.
5. Choose Clean Transportation
Make your next car electric, take public transportation, ride a bike, walk, or carpool with a friend! And if you have to fly, “offset” the carbon emissions with Green-e® certified renewable energy & carbon offsets.
6. Eat Clean: Whether it’s Plant-based, vegan, vegetarian or meatless Mondays, decreasing your meat consumption & incorporating more plants into your diet is the biggest way to immediately reduce your carbon footprint. And it’s healthier! It is also important to eat organic, locally grown foods as often as you can. Support your local farmers market or join a Community Support Agriculture!
Reduce, Repair, Reuse & Recycle! Saves money and reduces waste
8. Reuse: buy second hand, donate your old stuff, and consider hosting a clothing swap in your community.
9. Repair: instead of throwing it away, try to fix it. Utilize your local repair cafe or start your own!
10. Use alternatives to single use plastic and styrofoam: like reusable water bottles, bags, utensils, to go containers etc.
11. Recycle: in addition to paper, plastic & glass, learn how to recycle your electronics, refrigerator & AC units
12. Get involved! Take action with New Yorkers for Clean Power and other green organizations. You can subscribe to our email list for resources & info about upcoming events. Another great way to take action is by contacting your local elected officials about clean energy & climate action. Your voice and vote matters!
This list was made in collaboration with the dedicated NYCP interns of Suffern High School Environmental Activism Club! You can download this list as a brochure here.
Please support our work by donating to NYCP. Without your support and enthusiasm for a cleaner New York our work would not be possible.
Saturday, September 21st 9AM
Student Union, SUNY New Paltz
1 Hawk Drive, New Paltz, NY
Communities across the northeast are facing the reality of today’s climate challenges and are implementing solutions. The Climate Solutions Summit, on September 21st, provides an opportunity for organizers, students and people from all communities to actively collaborate on the climate solutions needed to protect our society and transition to a sustainable world. Starting at 9:00 AM, the Summit will provide a space to share projects, artwork, case studies, resources, experiences and skills to tackle climate change and implement solutions.
The transition to renewable energy and sustainability from a fossil fuel economy requires a solutions-focused movement. The Climate Solutions Summit fortifies existing momentum while inspiring new advocates to take action and lift up their communities. By inviting young people across New York State to participate in the Summit’s planning and organizing, we are ensuring that workshops and activities engage and empower youth attendees. This Summit’s intergenerational approach will expand the success of today’s environmental leaders while passing on experience to prepare the leaders of tomorrow.
Past Summits featured powerful keynotes, panels and workshops on renewable energy, energy efficiency, clean transportation, movement building and environmental justice. Like the first two, this year’s Summit will be inclusive and intersectional, inviting organizers, students and advocates from different backgrounds and regions of New York. The Climate Solutions Summit is working its way across the state, with the first summit in Western NY, the second in Central NY and the next in the Hudson Valley at SUNY New Paltz.
You can check out last year’s program here
If you are interested in participating in a workshop or event planning please contact us! We especially welcome and encourage students and youth to join the Summit planning.
Some of the organizing groups include: New Yorkers for Clean Power, Alliance for Clean Energy New York, SUNY New Paltz, Environmental Advocates of New York, New Paltz Climate Action Coalition, Hudson Valley Regional Council, Sustainable Hudson Valley, Scenic Hudson, NYPIRG, Clearwater, and the Alliance for a Green Economy.
By Michaela Ciovacco, NYCP Organizer
Solar power has become a lot more popular and affordable, however, renters and those who live in apartment buildings may have been feeling a bit left out. Until now, that is! Community solar projects are a new way for New Yorkers to buy renewable electricity — to choose energy that’s clean, plus save some green! Whether installing solar panels on one’s home or signing up for a community solar project, solar saves money! Instead of relying on dirty energy, residents can sign up for free to acquire the electrical output from a local solar project that is fed into the local power grid and credited directly to their monthly utility bill. It’s easy, saves money, and supports local clean energy development.
New Yorkers for Clean Power (NYCP) recently partnered with PowerMarket to help Central Hudson customers choose from a variety of renewable energy projects. In Westchester, PowerMarket launched ConEd’s first Community Solar Project: the Hawthorne Solar Warehouse. 25 households receive 100% of their electricity from clean solar power and the average household saved $255 in the first year, or about 10% on their electricity bills. Founded in 2016 and based out of Brooklyn, PowerMarket makes a wonderful point — “Communities are becoming increasingly focused on local products. We now get our food, and beer locally. Why not electricity?” Sign up here if you’re a Central Hudson customer and here if you’re a National Grid customer and start saving money while supporting local, clean energy! If you live in another region of NYS, check out NYSERDA’s new tool to find a community solar project near you.
Something important to keep in mind with community solar projects is that they are not the same as Energy Service Companies/Suppliers (ESCOs) out there in the market. ESCOs can cost more than standard electric rates and are typically the go-between for residents and renewable energy projects in other states, whereas community renewable projects allow you to subscribe to local clean energy providers for a discount on your current electricity rate.
As we turn our back on fossil fuels in the vital shift to a renewable energy economy, it’s important that the transition is inclusive. NYCP is excited for the launch of a new state initiative to make community solar accessible to more New Yorkers. “Solar for All” is a NYSERDA program that’s specifically geared towards eligible low-income customers; the income limits for participants is $27,816 for a household of 1 person, $36,372 for 2 people, $53,484 for 4 people, and so on. With Solar for All, there’s no cost at all for participation (there are no subscription fees or additional bills- a feature which can be appealing for those overwhelmed in the juggling act to pay bills on time). According to NYSERDA’s Elizabeth Tremblay, “customers will receive a no-cost subscription that will provide them approximately $5-$15 of savings off their monthly electric bill.” This program is a great step in the right direction, towards a clean energy economy that benefits everyone. Here’s to all New Yorkers having the chance to think globally, act locally, decrease their carbon footprint & save some dough in the process!
For more information and resources, visit our Solar Power page.