Legislator Lafazan, Citizens Campaign for the Environment: Help fight climate change by making Nassau County carbon neutral by 2035

Legislator Lafazan, Citizens Campaign for the Environment: Help fight climate change by making Nassau County carbon neutral by 2035
Legislator Lafazan and Adrienne Esposito, Executive Director of Citizens Campaign for the Environment, pictured at the Theodore Roosevelt Executive & Legislative Building on Tuesday, March 28. (Photo provided by the Office of Legislator Joshua A. Lafazan)

Nassau County Legislator Joshua A. Lafazan (D – Woodbury) joined with members of the Legislature’s Minority Caucus and advocates from the Citizens Campaign for the Environment to unveil legislation that would require Nassau County to become carbon neutrality in its municipal operations by Jan. 1, 2035.

Legislator Lafazan’s proposal, which was filed on Feb. 15, would require the county to create and deliver a carbon neutrality action plan to the legislature no later than Dec. 1, 2024 and provide triennial updates to the legislature, starting on Dec. 31, 2024, outlining the county’s progress toward achieving carbon neutrality. The county executive would be further empowered to seek state and federal grants and to create a local carbon neutrality advisory panel to aid in this effort.

Because Legislator Lafazan’s proposal is strictly focused upon municipal operations, there will be no new mandates for individual Nassau County homeowners, but they will reap the rewards of cleaner air, water and green spaces. Passing Lafazan’s proposal will also make Nassau County a Climate Smart Community and open the door to state and federal grants to pay for the carbon-fighting upgrades.

“Our exposure to climate change is a constant threat to our homes, our communities, our infrastructure, our drinking water and our collective safety,” Lafazan said. “Local governments are on the front lines of this crisis, and we have an opportunity to transform our community – making it healthier, more prosperous and more equitable through our carbon neutrality plan. The actions that we take now will protect Long Island for generation after generation to come, and I call upon County Executive Blakeman and my colleagues in the legislature to pass this bill and make Nassau County the cleanest and greenest municipality in the state of New York.”

While New York state has already passed laws to mandate the elimination of greenhouse gas emissions by the year 2050, Legislator Lafazan is seeking to implement a more aggressive timetable for Nassau County to address the heightened future risk of negative climate impacts upon our region.

According to a recent Moody’s report, Long Island ranks fourth among major American population centers for its exposure to the physical and economic risks of climate change. The report states that Long Island is especially vulnerable to warming temperatures, extreme weather, sea level rise and “water stress,” which is based upon an elevated risk of droughts stemming from the Long Island region’s reliance upon a sole-source aquifer for potable water.

Specific to New York, statistics indicate that New York’s average temperature has increased by 3 degrees since 1970 and is projected to increase by another 3 degrees in the decades ahead. Winters in New York are warming at a rate three times faster than summers; and sea levels in the Long Island Sound are raising at a rate three to four times greater than the global average. Amidst these alarming developments, hundred-year storms such as Superstorm Sandy have been devastating communities with much greater frequency.

“Last week, the United Nations released their sixth report on climate change, and the news wasn’t good. In fact, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) said we need to act in this decade and take bold action to reduce carbon emissions to just try to stem the tide of climate change impacts,” said Adrienne Esposito, executive director of the Citizens Campaign for the Environment. “When local government leads the way, it acts as a beacon and a pathway for others to follow. That’s why this bill is important, and we are thankful that there are leaders in county government that understand the impact of climate change and the need to act.”

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