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The 3 Most Important Climate Laws You’ve Never Heard Of

Hello. It’s Friday. Today we are going to look at several discrete but important pieces of information climate laws that Governor Kathy Hochul signed into law this week. And we’ll hear about a sense of deja vu as monkeypox sweeps through the city, as well as confusion over how to get the hitherto rare vaccine.

New York has the most ambitious legally enshrined climate goals in the nation, but its Democratic leaders are under increasing pressure from a highly committed segment of the party to act faster to make them happen.

You’ll be sure to hear more in the coming weeks about calls for a special session to vote to allow the state’s electricity authority to build state-owned renewable energy projects. — a measure that advocates say got the votes but never made it to the Assembly floor.

Climate activists are pushing Governor Kathy Hochul to sign a two-year moratorium on some cryptocurrency mining facilities burning energy-hungry fossil fuels. They are also frustrated that a bill to limit the installation of gas hookups in newly constructed buildings across the state did not pass this year.

But some climate bills, so nebulous they received little coverage, have passed. And while they may not seem so juicy, they are essential building blocks, experts say, for achieving the state’s goals: essentially, by 2050, prevent New York’s entire economy to emit the gases that are warming the planet and causing the climate crisis.

Here is what these laws do:

Without the Codes and Standards Act, agencies could not fully enforce global climate law.

The new law allows them to establish rules that govern greenhouse gas emissions from buildings and activities inside them, which had never been part of these codes before.

This one is important because it gives gas utilities something to do as gas use is phased out – hopefully, advocates say, reducing their intense lobbying efforts against other bills and actions that would limit its use.

It allows the pilot development of large-scale projects to heat and cool buildings by pumping air, much like heat pumps do, but on a scale that could work for entire blocks or large building complexes. . Ground-source heat pumps and other systems can heat and cool without burning fossil fuels, but require large investments to test and build.

Governor Hochul also signed a bill requiring the use of unionized workers in more jobs such as installing solar panels and building renewable energy infrastructure.

Like the thermal utility bill, this legislation, supporters say, helps broaden the political coalition for climate action by rallying more of the state’s powerful unions.

Ms. Hochul, at the signing on Wednesday, said New York would stand firm on climate, such as abortion rights and gun regulations, despite recent Supreme Court rulings like one eviscerating the ability of the Environmental Protection Agency to regulate emissions from power plants.

“Do what you want, we will do everything we can to protect our lives, our families, our bodies and the future of our planet,” she said.


Expect a risk of showers and thunderstorms beginning in the late afternoon. Temperatures will peak during the day in the mid 80s before cooling to the low 70s in the evening.


Effective until tomorrow through Monday (Eid al-Adha).

An unknown virus is spreading in the city. Communities are afraid. It takes time to find the best prevention methods. Some groups are stigmatized. The treatment varies for the rich and the poor.

It’s a scenario New York City knows well. There was, of course, the start of the coronavirus pandemic in 2020, when the city bore the brunt of the first wave at its peak in the United States, echoing a deadly flu plague a century earlier. There was also, seared in the memory of many New Yorkers, the AIDS crisis, which ravaged the city’s gay community in the 1980s and 1990s – which raged for years before scientists found life-saving treatments.

Today, reminders of those scourges abound as thousands of New Yorkers scramble to get vaccinated against monkeypox, a disease manifesting its first major outbreak in the United States in the city, with 141 recorded cases, and spreading mainly among men who have sex with men.

Although it can be painful, monkeypox is not usually fatal, a risk not comparable to AIDS, which was almost always fatal in the 1980s when it first struck, or Covid-19, which killed over a million Americans.

But that, reports my colleague Sharon Otterman, is not entirely reassuring for gay people in the city. Many find the public health response to seem retrograde and disorganized, and fear that the fact that the virus is spread through sex between men is causing AIDS-era homophobia.

“It’s not fair. I feel like we’ve gone back to the stigma of HIV,” said Irving Ruiz, who lives in Queens. He said he was in line for a vaccine because he had recently seen someone with a severe case of monkeypox, with rashes along the arms and legs.

Even more frustrating for vaccine seekers, the rollout so far has echoed the early days of the Covid-19 vaccine, when finding an appointment could feel like winning a radio contest. The city decided to assign appointments for the first doses of the highly sought-after monkeypox vaccine via an online system, using Twitter – a relatively boutique social media app – as its primary means of notifying people. On Wednesday, 2,500 appointments took place in a matter of minutes.

“Following the instructions from the Ministry of Health, we had no chance of getting the vaccine,” said Nicholas Diamondwho spent hours refreshing the city’s website looking for a photo. I’m really concerned that the city, state, and federal government haven’t learned anything from the Covid response.

Dr. Ashwin Vasan, the city’s health commissioner, apologized for the issues and said they were being worked out as the effort grew.

“Equity is an incredibly difficult thing to preserve in a scarce supply environment,” he said.

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