Pass these climate bills right now


To the editor:

As the legislative session in Albany approaches its final day on June 19, there are disquieting signs that the legislature may fail, once again, to pass a comprehensive measure to address the climate crisis.

In recent pronouncements, Gov. Cuomo has repeatedly left the climate off of his to-do list for the end of the session. I sat in a meeting with a member of Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie’s staff not long ago in which the staffer revealed a disturbing lack of knowledge of basic climate issues, as well as a cavalier attitude about the emergency we are in, and told us not to bother lobbying Speaker Heastie because he “just follows whatever Englebright tells him to do on the environment.”

Not a shining example of leadership.

Sen. Alessandra Biaggi and all Bronx state legislators: The people of New York urgently need your leadership on climate change now. For those of you who have co-sponsored the Off Fossil Fuels Act or the Climate and Community Protection Act, thank you.

However, Sen. Biaggi, as many climate movement activists have explained to your staff in meetings in Albany and the district this spring, the CCPA, if passed as is, falls woefully short of achieving urgent goals. It must include a ban on all new fossil fuel infrastructure in New York, and it must transition New York to 100 percent renewable energy across all sectors by 2030, not 2050.

Please show us real climate leadership by fighting for a strengthened CCPA and by co-sponsoring the OFF Act. We have been told you value being “realistic” as a legislator. There is nothing more real than the global scientific consensus that there are just a few years left to reverse global warming before it reaches uncontrollable levels.

Though politicians are trained to bargain and negotiate, this modus operandi will be fatal where climate change is concerned. Physics and chemistry cannot be bargained with.

Please, Bronx legislators, show us that you are capable of more than “politics as usual.” Make New York a true climate leader by passing legislation as strong as necessary to prevent catastrophe.

Everything is at stake.

Jennifer Scarlott

The author is the coordinator of Bronx Climate Justice North.

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Jennifer Scarlott,