Climate and Community Investment Act
NYS should hold polluters accountable for their actions by passing the Climate and Community Investment Act. This legislation would impose a steadily rising fee on carbon emissions, making polluters pay for the damage they cause to our communities, in public health, wildlife, and climate. This fee acts as a clear market signal, leading New Yorkers to shift away from the increasingly costly fossil fuels in favor of cheaper, cleaner sources of energy.
Moreover, the money generated by this tax would be used to fund the state’s sustainability programs. Studies show that over the first decade of implementation, the fee would generate $15 billion of tax revenue annually. This revenue would be dedicated to four buckets: the Green Jobs and Infrastructure Fund, the Community Just Transition Fund, the NY Energy Rebate Fund, and the Impacted Worker Fund.
The Climate Jobs and Infrastructure Fund would be used to build large scale solar and wind farms, expand our public transit system, improve energy efficiency, and update our electricity grid.
The Community Just Transition Fund would provide grant money to local organizations supporting the transition to a green economy. 75% of grant money would be awarded to disadvantaged communities.
The NY Energy Rebate Fund would give money back to low and moderate income residents to offset the increased cost of energy.
The Impacted Worker Fund would ease fossil fuel workers and impacted communities into a sustainable future by funding job retraining programs and replacing lost tax revenue.
The Climate and Community Investment Act also imposes a fee on co-pollutants: chemicals released in fossil fuel combustion that cause chronic health issues but do not directly contribute to climate change. In this manner, the legislation not only combats climate change, but also protects New Yorkers from asthma, lung cancer, and heart disease.
In addition to catalyzing the transition to a clean energy economy, providing funding to disadvantaged communities, and protecting public health, the carbon price would also stimulate our local economy. A price on carbon acts as a clear market signal, unleashing investment and innovation in the renewable energy sector as people realize that the future is sustainability. In fact, research shows that this legislation would bolster our clean energy economy, creating and sustaining over 150,000 high quality jobs in one decade right here in NYS.
The Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act was a step in the right direction, but we need to do much more to prevent climate change and protect frontline communities. The Climate and Community Investment Act allows us to do just that while improving public health and creating hundreds of thousands of jobs.