As part of New York’s plan to reduce its impact on climate change and its attendant health and environmental issues, the state has set out to identify “disadvantaged communities” that could use an additional financial push to make it happen. Officials announced this week that more than a third of the state’s communities will qualify.
The Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (Climate Act), passed in July 2019, has been described as “ The most aggressive climate and clean energy initiative in the nation.” It mandates that the country reduce greenhouse gas emissions — the main driver of global warming — by 40% by 2030 and at least 85% by 2050, compared to 1990 levels.
A key component of these plans is to emphasize and achieve climate justice – by identifying a group of “disadvantaged communities” who will receive at least 35% of the benefits of spending on clean energy and energy efficiency projects. The plan also requires that the state prioritize these areasand reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Since the passage of the climate law, representations from the state’s environmental sanitation communities have worked to determine how those communities will be determined. They finally decided on 45 indicators that include sociodemographic factors, climate change risks, and health vulnerabilities.
After nearly a dozen public hearings and thousands of public comments, the CJWG approved those standards on Monday — and ended up finding more than a third of the New York standards. 4,919 census areas Fit the description.
CJWG decided so 1,736 census areas In the state – 35% of the total number – they are entitled to the status of a “disadvantaged community”. These areas are spread across the entirety of New York, from Long Island to New York City to Buffalo.
New York City It has the largest concentration of designated communities, with approximately 1,000 areas across the five boroughs marked with status. Kings County, home to Brooklyn, has the most designated boroughs, followed by the Bronx.
The state said the rating criteria will be reviewed each year to ensure the state continues to “accurately target emissions reductions and investments.”
Elisabeth Yimpier, CJWG member and executive director of UPROSE, said in a statement press release The Climate Group has worked “relentlessly and diligently to ensure that priority is given to our aunts, our children and those most vulnerable to frequent severe weather events”.
“We were blown away by the recent report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change when they said we had seven years to get it right by people and the planet,” said Yempere. Fortunately, VThe historic CLCPA has given us the opportunity to do just that.”
California has had a similar program in the works since 2012. That year, Senate Bill 535 It required that certain disadvantaged communities receive minimum levels of funding from the state to help improve public health and reduce pollution, climate change, and their impacts. These particular communities were last updated in May 2022.
The Biden administration has also adopted a similar policy, firing Justice40 initiative Just days after Mr. Biden was elected. Under this program, the government has set a goal that 40% of benefits from certain federal investments, including clean energy, clean transportation, housing and workforce development, will go to communities that are “marginalized, underserved, and burdened by . ”
Similar to New York and California, the department uses a Climate and Economic Justice Screening Tool that looks at census tracts to determine who would be considered disadvantaged communities in all 50 states and US territories.