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climate


the climate crisis is here.

The climate crisis is here, and our working class and immigrant neighborhoods are being disproportionately harmed.  Here in Lower Manhattan, all of us can see that each passing season brings more extreme weather and more devastating floods . The safety of our homes and the usability of our infrastructure are under threat.

Immigrant neighborhoods and NYCHA communities are frequent targets for power shut-offs and at higher risk of heat-related illness. Skyrocketing utility bills destabilize households. Fossil fuel and fracked gas infrastructure harm our neighborhoods.

We must act now. I will fight to:

end our dependence on fossil fuels and fracked gas

protect our communities from the effects of climate change

reduce and stabilize our utility bills

create quality, well-paying green jobs

A PUBLIC ENERGY SYSTEM

Our utility system should exist to serve New Yorkers, not shareholders. But our current energy system values profit over people and the environment. These private companies prioritize their bottom lines over the public good.

I support making utilities like Con Ed public. Public ownership of our energy system would remove the profit motive. It would also discourage expensive new infrastructure. Both would reduce utility rates.

Private control of public utilities means unpredictable energy bills. It also means power shut-offs that harm low-income communities, and dependency on oil and fossil fuels. 

A public utility controlled by the people can lower rates and reduce power shutoffs. We will also be able to more quickly transition to renewable energy.

RENEWABLE ENERGY INFRASTRUCTURE

I champion the NY Build Public Renewables Act (BPRA), which would enable the New York Power Authority to build enough 100% renewable energy infrastructure to fulfill at least 75% of the state’s energy needs, all while creating 51,000 new jobs. 

This legislation will enable utilities to sell low-cost renewable energy directly to all customer classes at wholesale rates. Disadvantaged communities and low-income customers will be prioritized and automatically enrolled to receive the lowest-cost NYPA power on an opt-out basis.

BPRA would lower rates, reduce power shutoffs, and reduce our dependence on fossil fuels and fracked gas. It would also create 51,000 new jobs and provide hiring and training paths for current fossil fuel workers.

I know how important this bill would be for working-class New Yorkers – last summer I was arrested for an act of civil disobedience in support of this bill, and I will continue to fight for its passage in Albany.

END FOSSIL FUELS

In 2019 New York State set ambitious goals to transition to renewable energy, but has not followed through with any new climate legislation in the three years since. I support several bills that would meaningfully advance this transition.

The Freedom from Fossil Fuels Act would require that New York create a plan to reduce emissions by 85% compared to 1990 levels and meet 100% of electricity needs without fossil fuel sources by 2050. 

The Clean Futures Act will place a moratorium on all new fossil fuel infrastructure. Fossil fuel infrastructure is harmful to the communities it’s in, and continuing to build more is incompatible with achieving a decarbonized economy. I organized against the North Brooklyn Pipeline and against the proposed fracked gas plant in Astoria, and will continue the fight in Albany.

The All-Electric Buildings Act Building Act will end gas hookups in new buildings beginning in 2024. Buildings are the largest source of greenhouse emissions in New York, which makes them an important front for decarbonizing. But gas usage also produces toxic indoor pollution that harms residents, making it even more important to move to all-electric buildings.

GREEN NEW DEAL FOR NY

GOOD JOBS AND IMPROVED INFRASTRUCTURE

I support a Green New Deal for NY because the path to a decarbonized future also ensures that the needs of working-class and immigrant communities are met. 

Our communities rely on infrastructure like public transit and the electrical grid to maintain safe, healthy homes and get to school and work. We need to make investments now to ensure that these essential infrastructure elements don’t break down in the face of increasingly intense storms or fail during heat waves. 

This means building energy-efficient buildings and public housing, investing in quality public transportation and bike lanes, and other climate adaptation and resilience measures. We must prepare our essential infrastructure to handle increasingly-common extreme weather events.

A Green New Deal for NY would create millions of new jobs, and also wind down jobs in the fossil fuel industry. We must offer robust job training pathways with good salaries so that workers are incentivized to make the shift. 

We must also support an expansion of work in low-carbon jobs that traditionally have been undervalued in our society including teaching, long-term care, nursing, and home health care. As a social worker myself, I understand both how vital and undervalued these types of work are.

CLIMATE RESILIENCY

From Hurricane Sandy to Hurricane Ida, Lower Manhattanites know that we’re already living through climate change.

Climate resiliency is a way to take care of our neighbors and our neighborhood. With proper community involvement, we can fund projects that create local jobs, beautify our neighborhoods, and mitigate the effects of increasingly extreme weather. 

Expanding community green spaces and permeable surfaces will both increase our ability to absorb rainfall and runoff and make our communities more liveable. We can plant trees while reducing asphalt and concrete surfaces, creating natural shading and cooling for our hottest days.

Climate resiliency also  includes upgrading our energy grid to make it less susceptible to blackouts during heatwaves and storms and properly funding the MTA to reduce dependency on cars and ensure mass transit can handle severe weather and flooding.