Advocates say oil companies should pay costs of climate change

ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) –  A coalition advocated for the state to create a new revenue source that will cover the costs of adapting to climate change. They said the costs currently fall on New York State taxpayers and should fall on the fossil fuel industry. 

“The climate crisis costs are in the tens of billions of dollars and the taxpayer should not be burdened with these climate crisis costs. Big oil companies are making huge profits, they should pay their fair share,” said Anne Rabe, the environmental policy director for the New York Public Interest Research Group (NYPIRG). 

On Friday more than 200 environmental, religious and labor groups sent a letter to Governor Kathy Hochul that asked her to include the Climate Change Superfund Act in the upcoming budget. Rabe said they want the public to be aware of the bills they’re footing.

“They’re unknowingly paying for the climate crisis costs.They are paying for the damages like the flash floods in NYC. The taxpayers are paying for those climate damage repairs and it really should be big oil companies that cause the climate crisis,” said Rabe.

Advocates campaigning for those changes gathered outside of the capitol to share information on the economic impacts of climate change. NYPIRG looked at 13-months of press releases from the governor’s office and calculated New York taxpayers spent $2.7 billion on the impacts of climate change.

That total includes pledges and money spent on climate damage repair, climate resilience projects and for community protection programs, like cooling centers during extreme heat. NYPIRG estimates oil companies generated $750 billion in profits.

“We are trying to pass this on a state level and eventually take it to the federal government to have the federal government establish a climate superfund,” said Rabe.

Labor leader Fred Kowal agrees the economic impacts of climate change should fall on the oil companies.

“It’s imperative that we take the step and make sure that those who cause the greatest harm pay for what they are doing,” said Kowal.

He said it’s important to adopt the leadership wisdom of the Haudenosaunee, the Indigenous people of New York State. Their seven generations principle holds that today’s decisions should result in a sustainable world for the generations to come.

“This kind of legislation is about that principle. The decisions that are being made today will impact people living generations in the future, and they have to do the right thing by passing this bill,” said Kowal.

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