Long Island is on the frontline of climate change. Our coastal communities are threatened by sea-level rise causing flooding and home damage; families are still recovering from the devastation of Superstorm Sandy; and our neighborhoods are overburdened with air pollution from fossil fuels, causing cancers and heart disease.
We need a mass movement of everyday people working together to combat the crisis. In NYS we have the opportunity to lead a transition to a 100% renewable energy economy that invests in communities and workers most impacted by climate change. We at the Long Island Progressive Coalition are fighting for this just transition.
Our work to tackle the climate crisis is two-pronged: pass ambitious legislation to impact larger political systems while working within existing frameworks to expand renewable energy solutions on the ground.
Check out this video to see how we do our work:
New York State just passed the boldest climate law in the country, the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA), which states that:
- New York must reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 85%, and be completely carbon-neutral, by 2050
- 35% of the benefits of clean energy and energy efficiency funding must go to “disadvantaged” communities: typically low-income communities and communities of color hit first and worst by the climate crisis
- 70% of our electricity must come from renewable sources by 2030. By 2025, we must increase our solar capacity by 250%, and by 2035, we must build enough offshore wind to power 6 million homes
This bill passed because of 4 years of organizing, lobbying, and advocacy by NY Renews, an unprecedented statewide coalition of 200+ organizations fighting for climate policies grounded in equity and justice for communities and working people. But we’re not done. We need to make sure the CLCPA is implemented in line with our vision of climate justice and a 100% renewable New York. We must also work to ensure that we rapidly increase investment in this transition by making polluters pay for their damage to our health and society. The Long Island Progressive Coalition is a leading member of NY Renews and we’ll be working to implement this bill locally to empower communities across Long Island.
Community solar can refer to both community-owned projects as well as third party-owned systems whose electricity is shared by a community. The purpose of community solar is to provide members of a community access to the benefits of solar power even if they cannot install solar panels on their own property. Community solar projects can take several forms, from community group purchasing, off-site shared solar, or on-site shared arrays. The graphic below illustrates the various ways community solar can be implemented:
Our work in community solar currently focuses on community group purchasing with houses of worship and other nonprofit organizations on Long Island through our PowerUp Solar campaign, which was recently recognized with the “Faith-Based Communities” Award from the Department of Energy’s Solar In Your Community Challenge. Check out our testimonial video with the First Baptist Church of Riverhead to see how we’re bringing communities together around solar:
This work is part of a larger movement to democratize our energy systems. Energy democracy means centering community ownership, decision-making, and equity at the heart of a renewable energy economy.
“Energy democracy presents a response to the global energy war and joins the environmental and climate movements with broader movements for social and economic change. Energy democracy is a way to frame the international struggle of working people, low income communities, and communities of color to take control of energy resources from the energy establishment and use those resources to empower their communities — literally providing energy, economically, and politically.” – Energy Democracy: Advancing Equity In Clean Energy Solutions, Edited by Denise Fairchild and Al Weinrub
Transportation accounts for 40% of the greenhouse gas emissions in NYS and Long Island has the highest concentration of cars in the entire State. We must address both energy and transportation to meaningfully combat the climate crisis. That is why we are members of ElectrifyNY, a statewide coalition of advocates for environmental justice, public transportation, social justice, and good jobs fighting for a clean, equitable electric transportation future for New York.
On Long Island, we are advocating for electric vehicle charging stations and the purchasing of electric vehicles in town municipalities, understanding the crucial role that local governments have in leading the transition to a renewable energy economy. We are working with counties, towns, and cities to transition their public fleets from fossil fueled vehicles to electric vehicles and to invest in charging infrastructure. Our EV Municipal Toolkit presents new policies that empower localities to lead.
Contact our Sustainability Organizer at Rmadden@lipc.org or 516-541-1006 x 13 to learn more about these campaigns & get involved! You can also fill out our NY Renews Campaign Pledge to sign up for volunteer opportunities.