Subscribe to our Policy NewsletterNY for the latest coverage and to stay informed about the 2021 elections in your district and across New York
This summer, New York City has experienced severe flooding, devastating and endangering communities, compromising our infrastructure and increasing the severity of the climate crisis. Flooding from Tropical Storm Elsa swept away several local subway stations and freeways, stopping New Yorkers in their tracks. And we are not alone. Across the country, wildfires were so severe that the ashes caused the sun and moon to appear red here in New York City.
These major floods and severe weather events are not only reinforcing the growing intensity of climate change, but also the way our aging infrastructure is unprepared to deal with these disasters. As global temperatures continue to rise at an alarming rate, this warming is making weather events more frequent and intense, which has devastating effects on our obsolete infrastructure. To effectively tackle the growing climate crisis and start the transition to a clean energy economy, we need to implement ambitious policies to tackle climate change and create union jobs.
We have a unique opportunity to invest in our future. Congress is working on both a bipartisan $ 1,000 billion infrastructure package and an even more daring and historic investment of $ 3.5 trillion, in accordance with President Biden’s Build Back Better program.
The $ 3.5 trillion climate infrastructure package will build more climate resilient infrastructure, support the green economy, and create well-paying union jobs right here in New York City. It does this by setting a clean energy standard to bring us to 100% clean electricity by 2035, investing in our ports to revive offshore wind development, developing clean transportation and supporting manufacturing jobs. that support these green technologies, while prioritizing climate justice. .
The billions proposed to repair transportation infrastructure, including funding for the Gateway program and public transit, can create local jobs and help our state’s economy grow. Investments in manufacturing and clean energy can help revitalize New York’s manufacturing sector, which employs about 4.5% of the state’s workforce, and create good union jobs in the industry. New York’s clean energy, a growing industry for our state.
Investments in climate infrastructure can achieve more than one goal at the same time. For example, by renovating school buildings, which must remain a priority in federal infrastructure investments, we can have a real impact on emissions, make schools healthier and safer, create good union jobs and save millions. of schools. In New York alone, where we advocate for Healthy and carbon-free schools, we can have an impact equivalent to planting 400,000 trees, solving long-standing school building installation issues, creating thousands of union jobs and saving schools $ 70 million annually in costs energetic.
Critically, climate justice must remain at the heart of the plan, including investments to improve housing and climate-related health outcomes for low-income and vulnerable populations, such as improved access to water. drinking water, sanitation of lead in housing, reduction of pollution and modernization of public services. housing to make it energy efficient. To build a clean energy future that works for all New Yorkers, we must prioritize communities that have historically been left behind and overburdened by pollution.
We thank Rep. Jeffries for being a climate champion and for advancing these essential elements of the Build Back Better program. Now is the time to make sure these critical infrastructure investments cross the finish line. Now is the time to rebuild our economy and create a clean energy future. We can’t wait for the next Superstorm to devastate our communities. We must act now to fight climate change, invest in resilient communities, and create well-paying jobs for New Yorkers.
Julie Tighe is the president of the New York League of Conservation Voters. Jeff Vockrodt is executive director of Climate Jobs NY.