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Articles by Lee Harris

Lee Harris is a reporter with New York Focus, an investigative publication on politics and policy in the Empire State.

Featured Article

This article was published in partnership with New York Focus.

Earlier this month, New York passed a $212 billion budget loaded with progressive spending wins, including billions in new school funding, relief for undocumented workers, and rental assistance. But one spending area was conspicuously absent: The state’s climate goals, passed with fanfare in 2019, still lack a payment plan.

When New York enacted those nation-leading emissions targets, it pledged to reach economy-wide net-zero carbon emissions by midcentury. But two years out from the passage of the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act, or CLCPA, state legislators have again approved a budget with virtually no new funding to support those targets.

Without designated spending, several legislators and climate experts said, the state is not on track to meet its statutory mandates for decarbonization.

“New York State climate politics look like a backyard with a firepit, some wood, a couple matches — but there’s no kindling. Investment just hasn’t really taken off,” said Daniel Aldana Cohen, a sociologist of climate change at the University of Pennsyl... Read more