Just days after a historic global climate agreement was reached by world leaders in Paris, a powerful and diverse new coalition is launching with the aim of pushing New York state to lead and show the nation and the world how to follow up the Paris Agreement with action.
NY Renews — a campaign backed by a broad coalition of community-based organizations, environmental justice groups, labor unions, faith groups, business leaders, and other advocates — launches today with simultaneous rallies in New York City and Buffalo. (More information about coalition members below). The campaign is calling on Albany to make New York State’s climate commitments legally enforceable and ensure accountability. It seeks to establish a just energy policy, pursue environmental justice for affected communities, and create clean energy jobs throughout New York State.
Special guest speakers at the NYC kickoff event include Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, May Boeve (Executive Director, 350.org), and Aaron Mair (President, Sierra Club). Comptroller Tom DiNapoli will be a special guest speaker at the Buffalo kickoff event. A website allowing New Yorkers to join the campaign also launched today at: http://www.nyrenews.org
National environmental leaders said New York has a unique opportunity to become the next national leader on climate.
"New York, led by a diverse coalition of unions, environmental justice groups, and community organizers from every corner of the Empire State, has a chance to be the true pioneer of a renewable future,” said Bill McKibben, founder of 350.org. “From Niagara in the west and the St. Lawrence in the north, all the way to the mouth of the mighty Hudson, New York is a treasure trove of wind, sun, and waterpower. It's also a hotbed of the creative thinking exemplified by NY
Renews. If anyplace can do it, it's New York."
“The historic, universal Paris agreement puts the world on course for a 100% clean energy economy,” said Aaron Mair, President of Sierra Club. “To get there, however, we need even further action from leaders at every level of government. With NY Renews pushing for bold solutions, New York state now has an opportunity to lead the nation and the world.”
Statewide elected officials noted that the Paris agreement combined with the growing movements in the state have given new energy to the push for environmental justice and clean energy laws in New York State.
"Saving our planet is not a zero-sum game," said New York State Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman. "We can stop climate change while also creating good jobs and keeping our families healthy. Real progress is possible. Since Congress has consistently failed to act, New York must lead. The diverse coalition leading NY Renews will help bring the energy of the Paris climate talks and the People's Climate March to the corridors of power in Albany."
“New York can take a leading role in making the goals of the Paris Climate Accord a reality,” New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli said. “We have the opportunity to build a low carbon future and create clean energy jobs at home. Turning the tide of climate change requires all of us, from all walks of life, to work together. The NY Renews campaign should inspire New Yorkers to pitch in and help ensure we deliver on the promises made in Paris.”
Leaders and members of labor, community, and environmental justice groups also announced their support for the campaign and called on Albany to act.
“With Congress refusing to act -- and the Paris Agreement failing to protect the world's most vulnerable communities -- it’s up to local state and city governments to take more aggressive climate action,” said Eddie Bautista, Executive Director of the NYC Environmental Justice Alliance. “It is time for climate justice now - and we call on Governor Cuomo and the NYS Legislature to work with NY Renews to protect our future.”
"If we're going to turn the promises made in Paris into actual progress, those most affected by climate change will need to keep pushing,” said Javier Valdés, Co-Executive Director of Make the Road NY. “What's exciting about this campaign is that it is already bringing together communities and sectors across the state who want to see New York lead on climate."
“During Superstorm Sandy, my roof fell and I had to rush with my children to a shelter. three years later, my daughter still cries when it rains,” said Rachel Rivera, member of New York Communities for Change. “I lost everything during Sandy and I cannot afford to lose it again, nor can thousands of working families who are just starting to recover. If we do not want another Sandy, New York needs to commit reducing emissions and set a path to clean energy.”
“We have to reverse decades-old rigged energy policies that boost the profits of big oil companies at the expense of working families and future generations,” said Karen Scharff, Executive Director of Citizen Action of New York. “We can do that in New York, but only if our state government invests in a clean energy plan that puts communities first. New York can be a leader in creating thousands of good, economy-boosting jobs, while acting on climate.”
"As a planet and as a country, we want to invest in sources of energy that are sustainable and can provide for generations to come,” said Hector Figueroa, president of 32BJ SEIU. “We need a new era of good, clean energy jobs across the state. Working families are ready to stand up and fight to renew New York.”
"New York's workers need a safe environment and a safe climate as much as anyone,” said George Miranda, President of Teamsters Joint Council 16. “Our members work in transportation, energy, waste, and other sectors that are central to solving the climate crisis. We are working with NY Renews and environmental justice communities to make New York's climate commitments a reality and to begin the just transition to a clean energy economy that creates good jobs for all communities."
“NYSNA members share the sentiment that action to control climate change must be an imperative,” said Marva Wade, RN, First Vice President of NYSNA. “On behalf of the 37,000 registered nurses in the New York State Nurses Association, we stand together with our elected and community leaders and our brothers and sisters in the labor and environmental justice movement to demand action on climate change, reduce fossil fuel emissions, and improve infrastructure resiliency.”
“It is time for New York to set into law its aspirational clean energy and climate goals,” said Peter Iwanowicz, Executive Director, Environmental Advocates of NY. “There is no time to waste to take the aggressive steps needed to lower carbon pollution, to increase clean energy, and to create a more just future. Environmental Advocates of New York is proud to be a part of NY Renews and all that it will do to move the state away from dirty energy and towards a healthier future.”
“It’s rare that a campaign like this unites so many groups,” said Bill Lipton, State Director of NY Working Families. “From upstate fracktivists to downstate environmental justice organizations, from community groups to labor groups to environmental and faith groups, New Yorkers are coming together to say that it is time for Albany to lead on climate.”
"ALIGN is excited to join NY Renews and echo the call for state government to work with us for solutions that will reduce dangerous emissions, create clean energy, and put thousands to work in good local jobs,” said Matt Ryan, Executive Director of ALIGN. “Post-Paris, this is our moment to demonstrate New York's leadership. New Yorkers rise to meet a challenge and there is no greater challenge than the climate crisis."
"It's time for New York to lead on climate and community,” said Aaron Bartley, Executive Director of PUSH Buffalo. “By investing in the future, we could create thousands of new jobs in the solar and energy efficiency sectors while drastically reducing the cost that hard-working families pay to heat their homes."
“The Open Buffalo movement is about the difficult work of opening pathways to a clean and inclusive economy,” said Franchelle Hart, Executive Director, Open Buffalo. “Our network of partners is devoted to replacing a historically extractive and oppressive ‘rust belt’ economy with sustainable neighborhood development, just food systems, and healthy business practices. We are proud to support the NY Renews reform agenda.”
“Meeting the climate challenge also means investing billions of dollars and creating thousands of new jobs to transition New York to renewables and efficiency,” said Adam Flint, Southern Tier Solar Works Program Manager for the Binghamton Regional Sustainability Coalition. “We urge Governor Cuomo and the Legislature to work with NY Renews to create a clean and just energy system that is inclusive of all New Yorkers and that will help spur the economic revival of our communities.”
“The Long Island Progressive Coalition is proud to join NY Renews,” said Lisa Tyson, Director of the Long Island Progressive Coalition. “We need good jobs, health, and justice through 100% clean energy.”
“It is time to ensure that large cities and states take decisive action to move to renewable energy,” said McGregor Smyth, Executive Director of New York Lawyers for the Public Interest. “Our state has an opportunity to take leadership on climate change mitigation while addressing the public health problems caused by fossil fuel-based energy in our most vulnerable communities.”
"Action on climate change can't just happen in Paris — here in Harlem, and in low-income communities of color across New York, our health, our lives, and our futures are at stake," said Reverend Michael Walrond, Senior Pastor at First Corinthian Baptist Church. "Our communities can no longer suffer the consequences of inaction on climate change. We must be part of the solution. I am proud to stand with leaders from across the state to ensure that Albany takes action on environmental justice this session.”
The rapidly expanding NY Renews coalition currently includes:
1199 SEIU, 32BJ SEIU, 350 NYC, ALIGN, Alliance for a Green Economy, Binghamton Regional Sustainability Council, Buffalo Coalition for Economic Justice, Campaign for Renewable Energy, Catskill Mountain Keeper, Center for Popular Democracy, Center for Social Inclusion, Center for Working Families, Citizen Action of New York, Communications Workers of America District 1, Community Voices Heard, El Puente, Environmental Advocates of NY, GOLES, Long Island Progressive Coalition, Make the Road New York, Massachusetts Avenue Project, New York Communities for Change, New York Lawyers for the Public Interest, New York Working Families, NYC Environmental Justice Alliance, NYSNA, Open Buffalo, Partnership for the Public Good, People’s Climate Movement NY, PUSH Buffalo, Rochester People's Climate Coalition, Sane Energy Project, Sierra Club, Solutions Project, Southern Tier Solar Works, Sustainable Tompkins, The Morningside Heights / W. Harlem Sanitation Coalition, Inc, The POINT CDC, UAW Region 9, Ujima Company, Inc, UPROSE, WASH Project, Inc, WE ACT for Environmental Justice.
Organizational leaders and members are available for interviews.
For more information about tonight’s launch events:
WHEN: December 16th, 2015, 6pm to 8pm
WHERE: First Corinthian Baptist Church
1912 Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Blvd., New York, NY 10026
WHO: Community, environmental, and labor leaders
Special guests include:
Attorney General Eric Schneiderman
May Boeve (Executive Director, 350.org)
Aaron Mair (President, Sierra Club)
CONTACT: Charles Monaco, 718-222-3796 x256, firstname.lastname@example.org
WHEN: December 16th, 2015, 6pm to 9pm
WHERE: Tralf Music Hall, 622 Main St., Buffalo, NY
WHO: Community, environmental, and labor leaders
Special guests include:
Comptroller Tom DiNapoli
CONTACT: Clarke Gocker, PUSH Buffalo, 716-884-0356, email@example.com