STRATCO's Thought Leadership Series

Pioneering Climate Justice Initiatives: A Closer Look at New York's Progressive Approach

Building a competitive advantage in today’s market requires intimate knowledge of legislation, this article outlines how nearly 1/3 of all incentives are aimed at certain communities.

In the ever-evolving landscape of climate action, New York stands out as a trailblazer with its Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act. This legislation not only mandates a prioritization of disadvantaged communities (DACs) in climate initiatives but also sets ambitious targets for directing state investments—35%, with a goal of 40%—to benefit these communities.

In this edition of our thought leadership newsletter, we delve into the key components of this Act and the innovative strategies employed by the Climate Justice Working Group (CJWG). This thought leadership newsletter has taken information from the New York State Climate Act.

The information from this newsletter was taken directly from the Disadvantaged Communities Criteria Fact Sheet[1]

Empowering DACs: The Core of the Climate Act

At the heart of New York's Climate Act is a commitment to ensuring that DACs directly benefit from the state's transition to cleaner energy, reduced pollution, and newfound economic opportunities. The CJWG, a collaboration between state representatives and environmental justice groups, plays a pivotal role in overseeing the fulfillment of this commitment.

Identifying DACs: A Comprehensive Approach

The meticulous process of identifying DACs involves the use of 45 indicators by the CJWG. These indicators, outlined in the table below, encompass environmental burdens, climate risks, population characteristics, and health vulnerabilities. The scoring system, based on relative burden, risk, vulnerability, or sensitivity, culminates in a combined value that measures each census tract's level of "Environmental Burdens and Climate Change Risks" and "Population Characteristics and Health Vulnerabilities." Tracts with higher scores, whether compared statewide or within their region, are designated as DACs. This data-driven approach ensures a targeted focus on communities that need it most.

Inclusive Criteria: Low-Income Households and Geographic DACs

Acknowledging the intricate relationship between poverty and geography, New York's approach extends beyond the geographic DAC criteria. Low-income households—earning ≤60% of the State Median Income or categorically eligible for low-income programs—are factored into the equation. This consideration, spanning the entire state, specifically addresses rural poverty and enhances access to the state's energy affordability investments.

New York's journey towards climate justice is not just a legislative mandate; it's a thoughtful and holistic strategy that puts communities first. As we navigate the complexities of climate action, it is key to draw inspiration from the Empire State's commitment to inclusivity and sustainable progress.

STRATCO specializes in creating unique business plans for developers in the real estate industry. Being able to adopt and identify unique underserved needs in the marketplace may help a developer create a competitive advantage with advancing their project. Using incentives to reduce their carbon footprints, comply with ESG regulations, and enhance their capital stack a few benefits that clients have identified by engaging STRATCO.

Should you seek to learn more about such incentives and LMI areas, please reach out to the undersigned.

Caoimhe Banahan

929 353 2768

[1]New York State’s Draft Disadvantaged Communities Criteria.