More work needed on the climate


To the editor:

Recently, I’ve noticed several of my neighbors have begun installing solar panels on their roofs, no doubt as a result of the rebates made newly available by the Inflation Reduction Act.

As someone who cares deeply about climate action, I was heartened to see federal action manifest at the level of my neighborhood and community.

I was equally overjoyed to hear that the Build Public Renewables Act was included in the latest version of Gov. Kathy Hochul’s state budget. The act is a historic victory that will ramp up the production of renewable energy in New York state, and provide thousands of green jobs to workers who will enjoy union protections.

Still, much remains to be done, and we must quickly move to pass the raft of other environmental bills that are currently being discussed, the NY HEAT Act among them.

NY HEAT will enable the Public Service Commission to transition New York communities toward affordable zero-emissions heating and cooling. Essentially, the act will end ratepayer subsidies for new gas hookups and empower utilities to provide the most cost-effective energy sources.

In practical terms, this will deliver cleaner indoor and outdoor air for communities, create more green jobs, and cap the cost of energy bills at 6 percent of a household’s income.

This last issue will have especial implications for senior citizens and others living on fixed incomes in our community, given that inflation has resulted in a massive uptick in energy bills. A cap on energy bills would provide much-needed succor.

Our lawmakers must act on the scale that is needed to meet the demands of the climate crisis. NY HEAT is one critical piece in the raft of legislation that promises to do exactly this.

Gov. Hochul must work to do what’s right for New York, as indeed she was elected to. She did this by passing the BPRA — but she must do it again to pass NY HEAT.

Li Sian Goh

Li Sian Goh, climate change, Gov. Kathy Hochul, NY HEAT Act, zero emissions