NY Renews, a climate advocacy movement, will call on New York State lawmakers to lead the fight for environmental protections under the Trump presidency at a meeting on Thursday night in Manhattan.
The movement, made up of one hundred community groups, climate justice organizations, and unions from across the state, will host a town hall meeting in Gramercy Park to encourage New Yorkers and elected officials to back the New York Climate and Community Protection Act (CCPA) – legislation that would commit the state to transition to 100% clean energy by 2050.
Bronx-based Daniel Sherrell (pictured), 25 year old campaign coordinator at NY Renews, says State Democrats need to take action now to get the Act approved after it stumbled at the final hurdle in the 2016 legislative session.
“[Governor] Cuomo is setting himself up as a progressive lodestar and a foil to Trump. We are saying ‘put your money where your mouth is’ and step up as a national leader on climate in this moment of crisis,” he says.
The CCPA passed the New York State Assembly on June 2, but ran aground in the State Senate, where Republican majority leader John Flanagan, a climate change sceptic, refused to hold a vote on the bill – despite it winning 32 co-sponsors across party lines.
NY Renews is committed to getting the act passed in the 2017 legislative session. Flanagan is still a roadblock, which is why Sherrell is supportive of action to unite State Senate Democrats, who make up a numerical majority in the chamber but do not control the leadership as eight members regularly caucus with the GOP.
“The crucial question I would put to those supposed Democrats is what does it mean to caucus with the party of Trump? We have to call people out on that,” he says.
The group is also appealing to Governor Cuomo to enact certain provisions of the CCPA through the budget process, which his office oversees.
With President Elect Trump tapping climate change denier Scott Pruitt as chief of the Environmental Protection Agency, it is unlikely the efforts to combat climate change spearheaded by President Obama will be continued into 2017. Sherrell says this puts the onus on the states to take up “the burden of leadership” on environmental justice.
“If we are to see any progress in the fight against climate change over the next four years it is up to New York and California, two of the world’s biggest economies, to step up,”
“It’s a fight to stop my future being foreclosed on, and a fight in solidarity with people around the world and in New York who are already living with and dying from the disastrous consequences of climate change,” he adds.
NY Renews developed in the wake of the New York People’s Climate March in 2014, the largest climate action in history with an estimated 311,000 participants. Following the march organizers sought for a means to sustain the energy and activism of the event which resulted in the founding of the NY Renews coalition in late 2015.
Readers can learn more about Thursday’s meeting here.
Photo via Dan Sherrell