One of the most aggressive plans to tackle climate change in the nation is moving quickly through state government. The “Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act” bill would force New York State to be carbon neutral in just over 30 years.  

The electric grid in New York State will soon look a lot different; getting power all from non-carbon sources. Abby McHugh-Grifa is the executive director for Rochester People’s Climate Coalition and says this is a necessary challenge. “Although it’s not going to be easy, we’re in a better position to do this than many other places,” said McHugh-Grifa. 

New York State already sources 60 percent of energy from other sources, like hydroelectric dams and nuclear power plants. Rochester is closer to 90 percent.  

This bill means 100 percent. Factories, homes, offices, and every other building across New York State will need to be retrofitted. No more coal, no more natural gas, and no more gasoline. There are about 10 million cars, trucks, and buses on the road, many of which emit greenhouse gases. 

Senator Joe Robach says this will raise prices across the board. “This legislation gives non-elected agencies and bureaucrats the ability to unilaterally raise taxes and fees on gas, home heating fuels, and other items without offering a real solution toward helping the climate.” 

McHugh-Grifa says this is a false narrative and making these changes can boost business in the state. “This is an economic opportunity for New York State, we can put people to work.” 

A climate action council with top state officials will come up with recommendations to meet the goals in the bill. The council will have two years to come up with a plan.  

New York would join five other states (California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, and Washington) that have passed bills to be carbon-free by 2050.

 The bill can be found here.