Appointment Will Provide Labor Representation in Work of the Council

May 3, 2022

Governor Kathy Hochul announced the appointment of Mario Cilento, President of the NYS AFL-CIO, as the newest member of the State's Climate Action Council, which is tasked with finalizing a Scoping Plan with recommended policies and actions to help New York meet its ambitious climate directives as part of the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act. This announcement comes after Governor Hochul committed Link opens in new window - close new window to return to this page. to appointing a representative of organized labor to the Climate Action Council.

"I am proud to announce that Mario Cilento's extraordinary record of service to working New Yorkers will continue with his appointment to the Climate Action Council," Governor Hochul said. "Confronting the existential threat of climate change will require the contribution of New Yorkers from all walks of life. Organized labor has been a steadfast partner for the State in this fight and Mario will be an exemplary representative for the community."

New York State AFL-CIO President Mario Cilento said, "I am honored to serve on the State's Climate Action Council. I look forward to being part of a team committed to addressing climate change in a way that will result in the creation of good, family-sustaining jobs utilizing a highly skilled workforce. We have already set a high bar by securing historic labor standards that include prevailing rate, labor peace, Buy American, and Buy New York when renewable energy credits are awarded on large scale projects. As a member of the council, I will ensure that the voices of all working people are fairly represented."

Mario Cilento has a long history of fighting for working New Yorkers. His work at the New York State AFL-CIO began in 1992, and he was elected president in 2011. As president, Cilento has focused on transforming the way people see the labor movement, ensuring that they understand that unions are made up of people who work, and that we are all connected by that work.

In 2018, Cilento launched the Federation's "Union Strong" campaign. The campaign builds off the success of the constitutional convention victory and serves as a reminder of what working people can accomplish when we all work together. This approach has resulted in protections for workers across New York State and has made a real impact on the lives of working families. Cilento graduated from Fordham University in 1990 with a Bachelor of Science Degree.

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner and Climate Action Council Co-Chair Basil Seggos said, "Meeting the threat of climate change requires an all-hands-on-deck approach that leverages the insights and expertise of every sector to advance the State's transition to the clean energy economy of the future. The Climate Action Council will be richer thanks to Mario Cilento's decades in the labor movement, and I welcome him to join this critical work helping to chart the course of New York's future."

New York State Energy Research and Development Authority President and CEO and Climate Action Council Co-Chair Doreen M. Harris said, "I warmly welcome Mario Cilento to the Climate Action Council and look forward to expanding an already robust partnership with labor in advancing the state's climate work, and further strengthening the Council's work in developing a plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions throughout all sectors of our economy. Mario brings extensive expertise and unique insights that will help guide the Council's work, reflect a strong labor voice, and capitalize on the varied perspectives of the unions as we look to ensure high-quality jobs and lasting careers for workers in the state's clean energy economy."

New York State Department of Labor Commissioner and Climate Action Council Member Roberta Reardon said, "As someone who has worked alongside Mario Cilento for many years, I am thrilled to welcome him to the Climate Action Council (CAC). Mario's leadership and expertise will be critical as we work to address climate change. Our unions will be at the forefront of that transition. Having Mario's voice on the CAC will help ensure that jobs created through green infrastructure lead to quality careers for union members and for all New Yorkers, especially our disadvantaged and underrepresented populations."

The 22-member Climate Action Council released a Draft Scoping Plan Link opens in new window - close new window to return to this page. to implement New York's nation-leading Climate Law last year for public review and comment beginning Jan. 1, 2022.

The Council is currently holding 11 public hearings, including nine in-person across the State, as well as two virtual hearings. All persons, organizations, corporations, and government agencies are encouraged to attend the public hearings and to submit oral or written comments. Equal weight will be given to oral and written statements. The public hearing schedule and pre-registration for in-person or virtual hearings can be found on the Climate Act website Link opens in new window - close new window to return to this page.. Written comments can be submitted through June 10, 2022, via the online public comment form Link opens in new window - close new window to return to this page., via email to scopingplan@nyserda.ny.gov, or via U.S. Mail to Attention: Draft Scoping Plan Comments, NYSERDA, 17 Columbia Circle, Albany, NY 12203-6399.

Public input received in response to the issuance of the Draft Scoping Plan will be used by the Climate Action Council to help develop the Final Scoping Plan, which will be posted online and delivered to the Governor and the Legislature by Jan.1, 2023, as required under the Climate Act. DEC will release legally binding regulations to ensure the realization of the Climate Act's required emissions reductions by Jan.1, 2024, as set forth in the Climate Act, informed by the Scoping Plan's recommended strategies.

For more information about the New York State Climate Action Council, visit the Climate Act website Link opens in new window - close new window to return to this page..

New York State's Nation-Leading Climate Act

New York State's nation-leading climate agenda is the most aggressive climate and clean energy initiative in the nation, calling for an orderly and just transition to clean energy that creates jobs and continues fostering a green economy as New York State recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic. Enshrined into law through the CLCPA, New York is on a path to achieve its mandate of a zero-emission electricity sector by 2040, including 70 percent renewable energy generation by 2030, and to reach economy-wide carbon neutrality. It builds on New York's unprecedented investments to ramp-up clean energy including over $33 billion in 102 large-scale renewable and transmission projects across the state, $6.8 billion to reduce buildings emissions, $1.8 billion to scale up solar, more than $1 billion for clean transportation initiatives, and over $1.6 billion in NY Green Bank commitments. Combined, these investments are supporting nearly 158,000 jobs in New York's clean energy sector in 2020, a 2,100 percent growth in the distributed solar sector since 2011 and a commitment to develop 9,000 megawatts of offshore wind by 2035. Under the Climate Act, New York will build on this progress and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 85 percent from 1990 levels by 2050, while ensuring that at least 35 percent with a goal of 40 percent of the benefits of clean energy investments are directed to disadvantaged communities, and advance progress towards the state's 2025 energy efficiency target of reducing on-site energy consumption by 185 trillion BTUs of end-use energy savings.