'Great Example' of Local Organizing as Maine AFL-CIO Signs Onto #GreenNewDeal
"The work of moving towards a renewable economy must be rooted in workers's rights and economic and social justice."
Maine's Green New Deal legislation is the first to be backed by labor unions.
The Maine AFL-CIO made its support for the state-level bill public on Tuesday.
The union delivered a strong statement allying the organization with the environmentally friendly policy from executive director Matt Schlobohm.
Schlobohm said that the Green New Deal could answer the "twin crises" of climate change and inequality.
"Climate change and inequality pose dire threats to working people, to all that we love about Maine, and to our democracy," said Schlobohm. "The work of moving towards a renewable economy must be rooted in workers's rights and economic and social justice."
The announcement of the union support came from freshman Democratic state Rep. Chloe Maxmin, who introduced the bill last month.
22 posts • Page 1 of 1
New York City Passes Historic Climate Legislation
The Climate Mobilization Act lays the groundwork for New York City’s own Green New Deal.
The nation’s largest and most economically influential city passed a historic bill Thursday capping climate-changing pollution from big buildings and mandating unprecedented cuts to greenhouse gases.
The City Council approved the legislation in a 45-to-2 vote Thursday afternoon, all but ensuring its passage by a mayor eager to burnish his climate bona fides ahead of a potential run for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2020.
“We are on the precipice of climate disaster, and New York City is acting,” Corey Johnson, the council speaker, said in a statement. “I hope other cities follow suit.”
The effort demonstrates one of the clearest examples yet of what a municipal version of the Green New Deal, the national movement for a multi-trillion dollar climate-friendly industrial plan, might look like. The legislation is forecast to spur thousands of blue-collar jobs and make it easier for the city to take advantage of future state and federal funding for clean energy projects and climate change-ready infrastructure.
The measure, introduced by Councilman Costa Constantinides, a Democrat from Queens, is the centerpiece of a suite of six climate bills packaged together as the Climate Mobilization Act.
Puerto Rico Is The Best Argument For The Green New Deal
The island, still struggling under the 2017 hurricane damage, shows why half-measure climate change policies won’t work. ...
When the skies open up ― as they often do ― the Caño Martín Peña, a nearly four-mile canal that connects San Juan Bay to two lagoons in the middle of Puerto Rico’s sprawling capital city, floods into her neighborhood. And with the floodwaters come rats, trash and human feces, flowing through the winding streets. Cruz is one of 26,000 people who live in the communities ― some of the city’s poorest ― that nestle along the channel.
The canal is a literal cesspool. The Environmental Protection Agency found fecal bacteria there in concentrations of 1.5 million colonies per 100 milliliters of water, which is 7,500 times the level considered safe. Asthma rates for children under 5 living near the canal are twice the average for the rest of Puerto Rico. The National Institutes of Health found that the likelihood of suffering diarrheal diseases and mosquito-borne dengue infections surges the closer someone lives to the channel.
The risk of floods increases as climate change raises sea levels and exacerbates storms, and it threatens the nearby Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport, a vital hub for people and goods on an island dependent almost entirely on imports from the mainland.
The solution to the problem is straightforward: The canal needs to be dredged.
Yet Senate Republicans nixed money earmarked for the canal during the latest row over relief funding as President Donald Trump launched new attacks on Puerto Rico, accusing the debt-strangled territorial government of abusing disaster aid. The canal had issues before hurricanes Irma and Maria made landfall in September 2017, but the Federal Emergency Management Administration’s rules limit disaster funds to rebuilding what was destroyed, not making improvements. And as it is, that funding is just trickling in a year and a half after the storms, and the channel waits in a long line of infrastructure in need of upgrades.
The fate of the canal, say advocates and policymakers, shows exactly why the United States needs a Green New Deal. Puerto Rico’s high unemployment rate and natural affinity for renewable energy already match up with the idea of a national plan to ramp up clean energy manufacturing and provide millions of good-paying jobs. But the Green New Deal’s promise of salvation for impoverished communities at risk from extreme weather and sea level rise is what fits so well with this trash-strewn channel.
Trump’s notoriously wasteful real estate properties will be forced to go green under new bill
President's hometown of New York city passed one of most sweeping climate change bills worldwide
Donald Trump’s hometown is going green — and forcing the president’s real estate properties to take part in the venture.
The New York city council passed a sweeping measure to address global warming last week called the Climate Mobilisation Act. The bill creates strict environmental regulations for many of the Big Apple’s largest buildings in an effort to reduce carbon emissions.
New York Mayor Bill de Blasio has expressed his support for the legislation and is expected to sign it in the coming days.
The act requires buildings larger than 25,000 square feet to instal insulation and new windows, while cutting carbon emissions by 40 per cent in 2030.
While some of New York’s skyscrapers and well-known building have taken steps to meet the challenges of climate change, Mr Trump’s properties have routinely been cited as some of the city’s biggest polluters.
- Posts: 22098
- Joined: Sat Mar 02, 2013 4:44 pm
- Location: Texas Gulf Coast and North Fork of Long Island
- Occupation: Retired Mechanical Engineer
And on the greater North Fork-
Suffolk bills banning polystyrene foam products, plastic straws and stirrers are signed into law on Earth Day
https://riverheadlocal.com/2019/04/22/s ... earth-day/
Suffolk bills banning polystyrene foam products, plastic straws and stirrers are signed into law on Earth Day
https://riverheadlocal.com/2019/04/22/s ... earth-day/
Previous county legislation that imposed a 5-cent fee on single-use plastic bags dramatically reduced their use in Suffolk and resulted in “removing more than a billion plastic bags in the first year,” Hahn said.
The new law is expected to remove more than a million plastic straws in the its first year, she said.
Hahn encouraged residents to look for restaurants that have already taken a straw-less pledge in advance of the law’s effective date.
“They are committting to protecting our environment and protecting our wildlife,” she said.
Environmental advocates have urged government to adopt bans on single-use plastic bags, plastic straws and utensils, citing disposal costs as well as impacts on wildlife — marine life in particular.
“If everyone fought for their own convictions there would be no war.”
― Leo Tolstoy, War and Peace
― Leo Tolstoy, War and Peace
NYC mayor wants to ban new glass skyscrapers to cut emissions
NEW YORK (AP) — New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio plans to introduce a bill banning new construction of glass skyscrapers as part of his efforts to reduce citywide greenhouse emissions by 30 percent.
In announcing his Green New Deal on Monday, the democratic mayor says all-glass facade skyscrapers are “incredibly inefficient” because so much energy escapes through the glass. He says buildings are the No. 1 cause of greenhouse emissions in New York.
De Blasio says the bill would require existing glass buildings to be retrofitted to meet new stricter carbon-emissions guidelines.
The mayor’s Green New Deal effort also includes plans to power all of the city’s operations with clean electricity sources like Canadian hydropower, mandatory organics recycling, and the phasing-out of city purchases of single-use plastic food ware and processed meat.
It's my understanding that glas houses are not per se energie hogs. Properly designed with dual glas fronts and the intermediate air flow passed thru energy pumps they can capture sufficient energy during sun shine to reuse for heating and cooling. But building codes will need to force that upon the architects and owners.
Cuomo signs plastic bag ban on Earth Day
Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D-N.Y.) signed legislation on Earth Day Monday banning single-use plastic bags in New York, making the Empire State the third in the nation to pass such a law.
“Just stop. Stop using the bags,” Cuomo said at a signing ceremony. “It's a plastic bag. Looks harmless enough. You can roll it up, put it into a little ball, almost make it disappear. But it is a major, major threat to the environment and it's long been getting worse.”
Cuomo recognized that the law, which will go into effect in March, may inconvenience New Yorkers, but claimed the impact on the environment would more than make up for any of the legislation’s downsides.
“Now that is a change and change is hard. Right?” Cuomo said. “That means I am going to have to remember to bring reusable bags when I go to the store. Yes, it does. The way you remember to put on a shirt, put on pants, bring the list, bring the keys, and bring the cellphones - God forbid you forget that. Yes, you will have to remember to bring the reusable bag to the store. In the scope of things, it is a trivial and insignificant act when you consider the damage.”
Besides banning single-use plastic bags, the law will also impose a five-cent fee on paper bags, three cents of which will go to the Environmental Protection Fund and two cents of which will help fund the distribution of reusable bags.
Democrat-controlled statehouses endorsing clean energy ...
“There’s definitely a lot of push following the elections of folks wanting to really pursue renewable portfolio standards as a way to expand renewable energy and reduce carbon emissions,” said Michael Bueno, energy and climate coordinator at the National Caucus of Environmental Legislators, a non-partisan network of over 1,000 state legislators nationwide.
Maine’s new governor, for example, has vowed to get 100% of the state’s energy from renewables by 2050 and has announced subsidies to put 1,000 more electric vehicles on Maine roads.
In New Mexico, Democratic Gov. Lujan Grisham signed legislation requiring the state to get all of its electricity from carbon-free sources by 2045. California and Hawaii were the first states to commit to such carbon-free goals.
In Illinois, one of the nation’s top producers of emissions , lawmakers are considering a bill to bring the state to 100% renewable energy by 2050 — a target Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker endorsed on the campaign trail.
The Democrat-controlled House and Senate in New Hampshire passed bills allowing towns and other entities to build larger solar projects and shifting more than $12 million from a regional cap-and-trade program into energy efficiency programs. A separate bill requiring utilities to procure 60% of their power from renewables by 2040 passed the Senate.
New York, where Democrats now wield large legislative majorities for the first time in a decade, is considering several initiatives to reduce climate-changing carbon emissions, including Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s proposal to move to 100% renewables by 2040.
Renewable consumption nationwide reached nearly 11.5% in 2018, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, and is projected to grow slightly over the next two years.
Solar and wind energy advocates may hold swing vote in Pennsylvania’s divisive nuclear rescue debate
The debate over Pennsylvania’s proposed $500 million nuclear rescue package pits the natural gas and nuclear industries in an epic struggle between the state’s two energy giants. But renewable power advocates believe they hold the swing vote in a tight battle, and they want a seat at the table.
Several Philadelphia area legislators were set to introduce bills that will dramatically increase the share of solar and wind power included in any electricity sold in the state, which they say would strengthen support for green energy in the current Alternative Energy Portfolio Standards law (AEPS).
“The time is now, while you’re talking about the nuclear bill, to start talking about where do we want to be by 2030 and 2050 in terms of solar and wind in Pennsylvania, because otherwise, we’re going to be left behind,” said State Rep. Steve McCarter, (D., Montgomery), who is sponsoring a house version of the legislation.
The green-power bills would require renewable energy to make up 30 percent of all power sold in the state by 2030, up from the current law that sets a target of 8 percent by 2021. That would put Pennsylvania’s ambitions closer in line with other states that are leading the charge to reduce carbon emissions.
Solar energy would get a carve-out of 10 percent, an ambitious goal that would require a dramatic ramp-up from the current mandate, which sets a target of 0.5 percent by 2021. Three-quarters of the solar energy would come from large grid-connected solar systems, rather than residential rooftop systems.
VI Free Press
Bill Introduced in Congress Would Fund Renewables, Microgrids in U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico
WASHINGTON — Legislation recently introduced in Congress would establish a grant program for the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico to fund development of renewable energy resources, microgrids and energy storage.
The bill aims to improve the electric system on the two island territories. the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico which are still struggling to recover from Hurricane Maria. Maria hit the islands in September 2017 and caused the largest blackout in U.S. history. It killed at least 3,000 people in Puerto Rico alone.
The legislation calls for the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture to establish a grant to fund the development and construction of new renewable energy projects, energy storage systems, smart grid or microgrid projects, and energy efficiency programs. The funds could not be used for fossil fuel or nuclear power projects.
In addition, under the legislation the energy secretary would ensure that the Department of Energy’s national laboratories provide technical assistance to entities carrying out projects under the grant program.
Pennsylvania joins U.S. Climate Alliance efforts to reduce greenhouse gas
Pennsylvania is now the 23rd state to sign on with the U.S. Climate Alliance, as Gov. Tom Wolf on Monday announced the release of the new Pennsylvania Climate Action Plan.
Calling for a renewed commitment to uphold the tenants of the 2015 international Paris Climate Accord that President Trump eschewed, Wolf said Pennsylvania will join 22 other states and Puerto Rico in a bipartisan coalition to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
“With the federal government turning its back on science and the environment, I am proud to join with states that are leading the way towards new climate solutions, and taking concrete actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. States like Pennsylvania must take action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and protect our communities, economies, infrastructures, and environments from the risks of a warming climate,” said Wolf, a second-term Democrat.
The announcement followed an executive order Wolf issued in January to set Pennsylvania’s first statewide climate goals. The order calls reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 26 percent by 2025 and 80 percent by 2050, compared with 2005 levels. It also established a Green Government Council to ensure that state government offices work to achieve those goals.
The 231-page, 10-year Pennsylvania Climate Action Plan 2018 developed by the state Department of Environmental Protection and state officials lists more than 100 actions that could help reduce greenhouse gas emissions, including boosting renewable energy production , promoting energy efficient buildings and increasing the use of electric vehicles. It estimated that just 15 of those steps could reduce emissions 21 percent by 2025.
New York State Reaches Landmark Deal On Green New Deal-Style Climate Bill
If enacted, the bill would make New York the second big state — after California — to go for 100 percent carbon neutrality by midcentury.
New York lawmakers reached a deal late Sunday night to pass one of the most ambitious climate bills in the nation, setting the Empire State on a course to shape what the Green New Deal could look like at a state level.
The agreement to pass the so-called Climate & Communities Protection Act calls for New York to eliminate 85% of its overall planet-warming emissions by 2050, while offsetting or capturing the other 15%. The deal mandates 35% of state energy funding go to low-income, polluted communities, but sets a goal of investing 40%. The final legislation requires all state-financed energy projects to pay union wages.
I believe we have an agreement on the climate change bill,” New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D), who initially opposed the bill, said on WAMC radio on Monday morning. ...
Now lawmakers are expected to pass the bill, known by its acronym CCPA, in a vote Wednesday, when the three-day aging period between when legislators in Albany complete a deal and hold a formal vote ends. Once passed, the legislation would make New York the sixth state to adopt a 100% clean electricity target after Hawaii, California, New Mexico, Nevada and Washington. Puerto Rico and Washington, D.C., set similar targets.
New York Times
Blue States Roll Out Aggressive Climate Strategies. Red States Keep to the Sidelines.
WASHINGTON — At a time when the country is already deeply fractured along partisan lines, individual states are starting to pursue vastly different policies on climate change with the potential to cement an economic and social divide for years to come.
A growing number of blue states are adopting sweeping new climate laws — such as New York’s bill, passed this week, to zero out net greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 — that aim to reorient their entire economies around clean energy, transforming the way people get their electricity, heat their homes and commute to work.
But these laws are passing almost exclusively in states controlled by Democrats, while Republican-led states have largely resisted enacting aggressive new climate policies in recent years. At the same time, the Trump administration is rolling back federal climate regulations, which means many red states now face even less pressure to shift away from coal power or gas-guzzling vehicles.
“What we’re seeing is a tale of two climate nations,” said Barry Rabe, a professor of public policy at the University of Michigan. “The split has become much more pronounced in recent years.”
New York Daily News
Police searching for Oregon Republicans who skipped town to dodge vote on climate change bill
Oregon lawmakers are running from the law.
Republican state senators fled from the state Capitol Thursday in a bid to prevent a vote on major climate change legislation, leaving chambers notably quiet and without a necessary quorum. Democratic Gov. Kate Brown, however, showed little patience for the ploy and authorized State Police to find the missing politicians and bring them back to Salem.
Brown additionally called for a $500 fine for the 12 fleeing Oregon Senators for every day they remain missing. She vowed to collect the fees starting Friday if lawmakers don’t return to cast their vote on the cap-and-trade bill.
They’ve reportedly left the state, making their escape into Idaho. KOIN reported troopers have been given authority to arrest those who refuse to willingly return to work, though officers have said they will go to great lengths to avoid such confrontations.
“The Senate Republicans have decided to abandon their duty to serve their constituents and walk out. The Senate Democrats have requested the assistance of the Oregon State Police to bring back their colleagues to finish the work they committed to push forward,” Brown said in a statement.
“As the executive of this agency, I am authorizing the State Police to fulfill the Senate Democrats’ request.”
Behind Oregon’s GOP Walkout Is a Sordid Story of Corporate Cash
Industry and belligerence won out over climate legislation.
For a brief moment, the standoff in Oregon over climate change legislation seemed like an amusing bit of Wild West political theater. Last week, rather than stomach a losing vote on the bill, Republicans in the state Senate escaped—scattering to Idaho, according to rumors, maybe Montana—to deny Democrats a quorum, which is required to pass any legislation. When the governor threatened to send state troopers to bring them back to work, one of the “Absent Eleven” threatened violent resistance: “Send bachelors and come heavily armed,” blustered Brian Boquist.
It’s clear now that the situation in Oregon is a deeply unfunny story about the power of corporate interests and a small group of ideologues to squash legislation more than a decade in the making. On Tuesday morning, with the Republican members still in hiding, Democratic Senate President Peter Courtney announced that the bill was as good as dead. “House Bill 2020 does not have the votes on the Senate floor. That will not change,” he said.
How did this happen? Let’s start with the legislation, which shares a foundational principle with the Green New Deal: that corporate polluters should help pay for the transition to a clean economy. Referred to as a “cap and invest” policy, the measure would have put a statewide limit on carbon emissions, forcing Oregon’s largest polluters to pay for emissions allowances. As the statewide ceiling gradually lowers, corporations would have to cut their own emissions or buy more credits on a regional carbon market known as the Western Climate Initiative, which includes California and Quebec. The revenue raised from this pricing scheme would be directed to clean-energy infrastructure and jobs programs. Advocates hoped Oregon would set an example for other smaller states—that it would prove the viability of cap-and-trade outside California, which has the advantage of having the world’s fifth-largest economy.
It’s not surprising that Big Business would fight this proposal. Corporations are used to being able to pollute for free, and they’d like to keep doing so (though it’s worth noting that many of the state’s businesses, including Nike and Adidas, do support the legislation, as do some of the state’s largest timber owners). Fossil fuel interests in particular view state-level climate initiatives as a serious threat; last fall they spent a record $30 million to defeat a carbon tax in Washington state.
In Oregon, these corporate interests have a cozy relationship with lawmakers. The state has some of the weakest campaign-finance laws in the country, imposing no limits on what corporations and individuals can contribute to candidates. (Only four other states are so permissive.) Between 2008 and 2016, corporations and industry groups accounted for almost half of all money raised by state legislators, dwarfing contributions from unions and individual donors; Oregon now ranks sixth for the total amount of corporate money given per lawmaker and first in per-capita corporate giving. According to an 18-month investigation by The Oregonian’s Rob Davis, industry has leveraged these donations to gut or block a number of environmental regulations. As a result, the state’s environmental protections are now far weaker than those of neighbors Washington and California.
The Latest: Gov. Bullock says Montana to join climate group
HELENA, Mont. (AP) — The Latest on Montana Gov. Steve Bullock’s executive order on climate change (all times local):
Gov. Steve Bullock says Montana will be the 25th state to join the U.S. Climate Alliance, a group created in response to President Donald Trump’s withdrawal from the 2015 Paris agreement on climate change.
The Democratic governor made the announcement Monday as part of an executive order that also creates a 30-person council that will recommend how the state should deal with climate change.
Bullock says joining the alliance will give Montana a chance to learn from other states that are crafting their own climate change policies.
The Hill OpEd - David Coursen
Trump's not-so-secret war on state environmental protection
Trump’s EPA claims to support “cooperative federalism,” as a way to “rebalance the power between Washington and the states.” But its actual agenda appears to be halting the wave of bold environmental protections emerging from American cities and states. To that end, the EPA now seeks to limit states’ authority to protect our climate, while threatening budget cuts of nearly $1.4 billion in state environmental funding.
If this effort succeeds, our towns and cities will face dirtier air, hotter summers and more extreme weather — and there will be less we can do about it.
A centerpiece of EPA’s attack on climate protection is its proposal to freeze car emission standards at 2020 levels, which would increase greenhouse gas emissions by 1.7 billion metric tons. EPA also seeks to limit state power by revoking a waiver under the Clean Air Act that allows California and a dozen states that follow its lead to set their own more stringent standards.
State authority to protect air quality has existed in one form or another for half a century. EPA has granted 50 waivers, but has never revoked one. So, it is hard to imagine a more brazen attack on state authority than rescinding this waiver, which was granted five years ago. In effect, Trump’s EPA is forcibly enlisting states in the administration’s war on climate protection.
Another recent salvo in that war is new guidance that would limit state authority over energy pipelines. Under the Clean Water Act, a pipeline cannot be constructed unless the state certifies that it will not cause violations of any “appropriate requirement of state law.” But the new guidance would let the federal government and energy companies run roughshod over state laws aimed at reducing air emissions and addressing climate change.
New York takes lead in climate change fight
ALBANY — Move over California and Massachusetts, New York has emerged as a national leader in battling climate change.
With the Trump administration shelving Obama-era climate plans and embracing the expansion of fossil fuel infrastructure, efforts to cut carbon emissions are now pushed almost entirely at the state level, especially in statehouses controlled by Democrats. And while Gov. Andrew Cuomo has long touted his green credentials, the 2018 election put Albany under full Democratic control for only the second time since the 1930s. The power shift has pulled the Empire state to the left on a range of policy areas — including climate change.
The result: The sweeping emissions reduction and renewable energy measure Cuomo signed into law Thursday is the most ambitious legal mandate for cutting greenhouse gases in the nation, requiring an 85 percent reduction from 1990 levels over the next three decades and a carbon-free electric system by 2040.
“Cries for a new green movement are hollow political rhetoric if not combined with specific aggressive goals and a realistic plan on how to achieve them,” Cuomo said at the signing of the measure at Fordham Law School in Manhattan. “And that is much easier said than done — but that, my friends, is the challenge for our great state of New York. To lead not just with rhetoric but with results.”