New York youth organization urges state assembly and Governor Cuomo to eliminate fossil fuel subsidies

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FILE – In this Saturday, July 22, 2017, file photo, a polar bear stands on the ice in the Franklin Strait in the Canadian Arctic Archipelago. In a year of cataclysm, some world leaders at September 2020’s annual United Nations meeting are taking the long view, warning: If COVID-19 doesn’t kill us, climate change will. With Siberia seeing its warmest temperature on record this year and enormous chunks of ice caps in Greenland and Canada sliding into the sea, countries are acutely aware there’s no vaccine for global warming. (AP Photo/David Goldman, File)

ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10)-New York has been moving towards more green energy policies, aimed at combating the climate crisis. Tuesday a youth climate group and other environmental conservation groups in the state took part in a web conference in support of a bill that would eliminate state subsidies for fossil fuel companies.

New York Youth Climate Leaders, Divest New York, New York Public Interest Research Group (NYPIRG), and Senator Liz Krueger all said it’s time for New York to stop funding fossil fuel companies with $1.5 billion in subsidies.

“As a freshman in college I’m concerned about climate change, quite frankly, because I’m concerned about my future. As the average global temperature increases over time the issues associated with climate change will increase in severity,” said New York Youth Climate Leaders Co-Director of Governmental Affairs, Liam Smith.

“It will take time for our climate to heat up, so much time that our current politicians will probably not be alive to witness the worse ramifications. However, my generation and future generations will be alive. We will endure the effects of a chaotic and rapidly changing climate,” Smith said.

Environmental Policy Director at NYPIRG, Liz Moran, said getting rid of subsidies for fossil fuel companies furthers the state’s mission to become a leader in environmental policy. Some of the goals set by the state include zero-carbon emissions electricity by 2040, 1,700 megawatts of offshore wind energy by 2024, and reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by 85 percent from 1990 levels by 2050, according to Governor Andrew Cuomo’s office.

“Thankfully, New York state has taken some very important steps to fight climate change by adopting these ambitious climate goals but in order to meet those climate goals. We have to make sure that we are funding to fight the climate crisis to fight a just transition off of fossil fuels and to make sure that we restore the environment to what it once was,” said Moran.

New York Youth Climate Leaders plans to deliver a letter to the state’s Assembly and Governor Cuomo on October 13 with the support of 180 organizations in New York, urging the state assembly to pass Bill A257C. The bill would require public disclosure of tax expenditures related to fossil fuel and would eliminate subsidies within five years, with case-by-case legislative exemptions.

“We’re talking about $1.5 billion of expenditures in our tax policies that we have written into law over decades with no one ever looking at them again twice, where we are actually saying we want to incentivize certain activities so we’re going to give you tax deductions,” said Senator Krueger.

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