Senator George Latimer and Assembly Member Linda Rosenthal Announce New Science-Based Climate Bill for NYS

Advocates for Responsible Climate Action (ARCA)


June 15, 2017

Contacts: Bob Eklund,, 607-263-2375;  Dennis Higgins,, 607-988-9647

Science-Based State Climate Responsibility Act Unveiled

Albany, NY — Today State Senator George Latimer and Assembly Member Linda B. Rosenthal announced the introduction of a comprehensive bill to tackle the climate crisis. The science-based New York State Climate Responsibility Act (NYSCRA, A8299/S5557) is designed to ensure that New York meets its greenhouse gas reduction goals.

“Despite advances in renewables, New York is still heavily dependent on fossil fuels,” said Senator Latimer. “Altering that requires changing virtually every aspect of how we produce and consume energy. Any legislation seeking to facilitate that change must also acknowledge the technical challenges involved. Our bill does.”

Developed with the support of individuals with expertise in engineering, economics, public health and social science, the NYSCRA identifies key actions that must occur and critical issues that must be addressed to slash greenhouse gas emissions and make the necessary transition to renewables.

“Preserving our planet for future generations demands nothing less than immediate action, and the Climate Responsibility Act is the vehicle to get the job done,” said Assemblywoman  Rosenthal. “With Trump withdrawing the U.S. from the Paris Climate Accord, it is more vital than ever that states take the lead on climate change. This bill charts a path forward that is both realistic and aggressive, and ensures that New York will lead on climate. I’m proud to sponsor this bill with Senator Latimer.”

Advocates of the bill point out that it is not enough to eliminate power plant emissions, which account for about a quarter of the state’s carbon footprint. New York will also have to phase out the use of fossil fuels for transportation, heating and other purposes. Bold action is needed in every arena. Simultaneous with this, the state must dramatically ramp up renewables as New Yorkers replace vehicles, equipment and appliances with technology that does not run on fossil fuels.

“These complex processes must be carefully synchronized so that the lights stay on and people can still get to work,” explained Keith Schue, an engineer who helped prepare the bill. “Implementation must also occur at scale and on time to meet climate goals. That requires a robust plan.”

The NYSCRA ensures success by requiring all state agencies to work together in the development of rules, regulations, programs and policies to bring about the widespread transformation required. And it measures success with an unimpeachable statewide inventory of greenhouse gas emissions—something the state has long needed but does not have.

Among other contributors to the bill is renowned scientist Anthony R. Ingraffea, Ph.D., the Dwight C. Baum Professor of Engineering Emeritus and Weiss Presidential Teaching Fellow at Cornell University.

“This bill would give legal authority to the most important management plan in New York history,” said Ingraffea. “Our state must meet its obligation of substantially reducing greenhouse gas emissions to address the clear and present threat of climate change, while at the same time providing for an orderly and just transition to a renewable energy economy. This bill defines responsibilities and provides legal powers for managing and synchronizing this dual challenge.”

Importantly, implementation of the NYSCRA will benefit all New Yorkers, including environmental justice communities who currently suffer most from the negative impacts of fossil fuel use.

“Increasing renewables as we wean off of fossil fuels will save New York billions in healthcare costs and protect the most vulnerable,” added Larysa Dyrszka, M.D., a pediatrician, cofounder of Concerned Health Professionals of New York and executive board member of Physicians for Social Responsibility.

The bill also has significant economic benefits. Investments in renewable energy have been shown to generate three times as many jobs as investments in fossil fuels. Economist Jannette Barth, managing director of the Pepacton Institute LLC, also contributed to the bill. She said, “The Climate Responsibility Act will help to make New York a leader in transitioning to renewables, creating many jobs and strengthening the state’s economy.”

Read a brief synopsis of the bill’s key features here.

Read the Senate NYSCRA bill (S5557) here.

Read the Assembly NYSCRA bill (A8299) here.  


Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal and Senator George Latimer with their comprehensive climate bill

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