NY State Budget Negotiations Are Heating Up (the Planet)
And more burning hot links for your Monday.
9:45 AM EDT on April 3, 2023
Over the weekend, as budget negotiations stretched past their April 1 deadline, New York state lawmakers and Governor Kathy Hochul reportedly brokered an agreement that would almost certainly put more people in jail before they've been convicted of a crime. What other parts of our social compact might our fearless leaders water down to make life easier for rich and powerful interests? How about one of the most vital components of the state's climate law?
Politico reports that Hochul and some state lawmakers want to change how methane gas is accounted for in 2019's landmark Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act, the law that requires New York to cut its emissions by 40 percent by 2030 and 85 percent by 2050, hitting net zero with offsets by that same year.
Currently, the law states that methane's warming effects should be assessed over a 20-year period rather than a 100-year period. This is because methane, which is the main component in natural gas, is fucking bad—methane is responsible for a third of the planet's warming, and methane is about a third of New York state's carbon emissions.
But this translates into higher costs for energy producers, which in turn may create higher costs for consumers. Instead of finding that money elsewhere in one of the richest states in the country, some politicians would rather move the goal posts and doom their grandchildren. From Politico:
"We're getting closer to the time when these costs would begin to show up for New Yorkers," said a person in the governor's office who requested anonymity to candidly discuss negotiations. "New York has an outlier greenhouse gas emissions accounting methodology, and that emissions accounting methodology will drive additional costs to consumers as compared to the accounting methodology utilized by the rest of the world."
Brooklyn State Senator Kevin Parker has also proposed legislation that would cut methane some slack. "At the end of the day, we just have to get to net zero, not absolute zero, and we have until 2050," Parker said. "Part of what we have from the ecoterrorists is an attempt to move the goal posts." (Parker, the chair of the energy and telecommunications committee, has taken tens of thousands of dollars from energy interests since 2019.)
Other lawmakers are not persuaded. "The 20-year methane accounting reflects the reality of the climate impact of burning natural gas," Manhattan State Senator Liz Krueger told the outlet in a statement. "It is one of the strongest parts of the [state's climate law]. Giving in to the polluter lobby by weakening our methane accounting will kneecap all our efforts going forward."
If 2050 sounds like a long time away, that's just 27 years. So just think, between now and the same chunk of time that "Independence Day" came out, New York has to create an entirely new energy grid based on renewables—"has to," because to do otherwise will accelerate the destruction of the planet, not just the Empire State.
Here are some more links to burn:
- Trump is going to be arraigned downtown on Tuesday afternoon and it's going to be a massive shitshow (no handcuffs???), and the New York Times wanted Bruce Springsteen to do something about it?
- The police have arrested a man they say is responsible for a series of killings and thefts at Manhattan's gay bars.
- If you've been seeing cars sporting paper license plates from "Georgia" or "New Jersey," Streetsblog can tell you why: Today, the outlet has published the first part of an investigation into the illicit market for bogus plates.
- The Brooklyn-born record executive responsible for the Material Girl has left the Material World. RIP.
- GO AWAY ANDREW.
- Another day, another Starbucks worker involved in labor organizing fired, this time in Buffalo.
- While we are excited that Superiority Burger is now open, we recognize that no restaurant can live up to this years-long buildup of hype.
- The head of internal investigations on Rikers has resigned, reportedly because they closed cases of serious misconduct without doing anything.
And finally, the New York Botanical Garden's corpse flower livestream is LIVE (no smell-o-vision though, cmon Zuckerburg):
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