Climate Works for All, a coalition of environmental Justice, community advocacy and labor groups, has called on the City Council to ask for new climate investments.

Some of the priorities flagged include funding to electrify schools, implement Local Law 97, and fund new positions at the Department of Buildings and the Department of Housing Preservation and Development to help with enforcement as the deadline for emissions reduction draws near.

Among the more than 35 signatories to the letter are labor groups such as District Council 37, the New York State Nurses Association, community and climate advocacy organizations like the New York Public Interest Group (NYPIRG), the New York City Environmental Justice Alliance and ALIGN.

ALIGN’s climate director Jenille Scott said that for ALIGN, the focus is on reducing carbon emissions in the long term. “Our Green Healthy Schools campaign, it’s a long-term campaign,” Scott said. “So that $600 million that we’re looking to be invested right now is not just for our schools this year, but it’s money that we want to be contributed to schools for upcoming fiscal years.”

Investments into the electrification of New York City public schools is essential to keeping residents living near safe from toxic pollutants, the letter argues. According to the letter, the additional investment in electrifying schools would put the city on track to upgrade 500 school buildings by 2030 and have a net-zero emissions school district by 2040. New York City’s school system is the largest in the nation, serving more than one million students every day.

The letter also asks the City government to advocate for more federal funding to implement building upgrades and decarbonization in order to meet Local Law 97’s emissions goals by 2030. Local Law 97, the city’s forward-looking climate law that went into effect in 2019, needs an enhanced workforce to make sure buildings are meeting compliance deadlines and that small landlords have the resources they need to make changes like swapping out boilers, increasing energy efficiency standards and electrifying appliances.

You can read the letter, which was shared exclusively with City and State, on their website here.