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35+ Climate, Labor, Environmental Justice, Youth, and Parent Orgs Release Sign-on Letter Pushing City To Deliver on Promises and Make Climate A Budget Priority

Climate Works for All coalition calls for Green, Healthy Schools and Clean Buildings

New York, NY (April 15, 2024) – Today, the Climate Works for All coalition released a letter with 35+ climate, labor, environmental justice, youth, and parent organizations, calling on Mayor Adams and the City Council to deliver on previous promises and prioritize climate in the FY2025 budget. 

The climate crisis is among the biggest threats to New Yorkers’ safety, as extreme weather events become increasingly frequent and the City fails to divest from fossil fuels at the scale necessary to address the crisis. In response to the City Council’s preliminary budget response and the Department of Citywide Administrative Services’ (DCAS) recently announced budget cuts, the letter highlights key investments in clean buildings, green schools, and good, union jobs that can save the city money long-term and build a clean, sustainable, and resilient future for NYC. 

To implement landmark climate legislation apace and address the interrelated crises of climate change, public health, and social inequality, the coalition identified the following FY2025 budget priorities:

  • Invest in Green, Healthy Schools Dedicate $600M in the FY2025 budget to electrify and upgrade NYC Public Schools — the lowest hanging fruit on the city’s path to decarbonization — and put the school district on a path to reach net zero emissions by 2040. 
  • Fund Local Law 97 Implementation Prioritize proper evaluation, compliance, and enforcement of Local Law 97 (LL97, 2019), NYC’s Dirty Buildings Law, by funding additional staffing in the Office of Building Energy Emissions Performance (OBEEP) and the Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) and redirecting $5M funding from the NYC Accelerator to local NYC-based organizations that can provide education, outreach, and technical assistance services on LL97 compliance for the first compliance period (2024-2029). The City must also pursue state and federal funding for building upgrades and retrofits. 

NYC public schools’ aging infrastructure runs on fossil fuels and contributes to poor air quality, which not only impacts student and staff health but can also undermine learning by negatively affecting student attendance, comfort, and performance. Additionally, schools are vulnerable to ever-worsening climate disasters, felt first and worst by Black and brown students in Environmental Justice communities. The City has already identified school buildings as a great place to start to meet NYC’s climate goals, because 70% of NYC emissions come from buildings. But Mayor Adams’ Leading the Charge initiative has to date only allocated funding to electrify 33 schools out of 100 schools by 2030. Investing in Green, Healthy Schools will save the city millions on utilities; create green, union jobs and improve working conditions for school workers, and help meet the mandates of Local Law 97, where the City should lead the way.

But LL97 is woefully behind schedule, especially given that the City recently testified that the public sector would not be meeting the 2025 mandates. Climate Works for All is calling for decarbonization-related budget cuts to be restored, greater transparency, increased staffing, and urgent funding and climate action in order to achieve a just transition to a decarbonized and renewable energy economy. 

The coalition lobbied council members last week to support these priorities as well as Int. 0353, legislation that would ensure 100 megawatts of solar energy systems are installed across public buildings by 2025, paving a path for solar energy and green, family-sustaining careers for New Yorkers while decarbonizing buildings.

The following organizations have signed on to the budget letter:

ALIGN: The Alliance for a Greater New York
Association for Energy Affordability
Beyond Plastics Queens
Center for Independence of the Disabled, New York (CIDNY)
Citizens Climate Lobby, Brooklyn
Climate Families NYC
District Council 9 Painters and Allied Trades (IUPAT)
District Council 37 AFSCME
El Puente
Fridays For Future NYC
Ideatek Design
Indivisible Harlem
Jewish Climate Action Network NYC
Kinetic Communities
Long Island Progressive Coalition
Mothers Out Front
New York City Environmental Justice Alliance
Network for a Sustainable Tomorrow
New York Lawyers for the Public Interest
New York Progressive Action Network (NYPAN Greene)
New York Public Interest Research Group (NYPIRG)
New York State Nurses Association (NYSNA)
NY Clinicians for Climate Action
NY Renews coalition (370+ member organizations)
People’s Climate Movement NY
Sunrise Movement NYC
The People’s Plan & People’s Budget Campaign
Urban Homesteading Assistance Board (UHAB)
Urbecon LLC
WE ACT for Environmental Justice
We Stay/Nos Quedemos
Wyckoff Hospital Pediatrics Department

Climate Works for All is a citywide coalition of labor, community, faith, environmental justice, and climate organizations, co-coordinated by ALIGN and NYC Environmental Justice Alliance, that have come together to fight climate change and inequality in NYC by demanding a Just Transition for workers and environmental justice communities. CW4A campaigns aim to move us towards an equitable economy,  a resilient, livable and healthy climate, and prioritize justice for low income Black and Brown communities across New York City.