People’s Climate Movement NY
March 18, 2016
Mayor Bill de Blasio
New York, NY 10007
Dear Mayor de Blasio,
The People’s Climate Movement of New York, which originally functioned as the Host Committee for the massive People’s Climate March of September 21, 2014, applauds your recent leadership on climate, including your commitment to procuring 100% of the city government’s electricity from renewable sources and your call for a study of potential divestment of the city’s pension funds from coal. It is clear you understand the grave threat that climate change poses both globally and to our great city—to its people, its economy, and its critical infrastructure. We urge you to do more.
The People’s Climate Movement of NY urges you to make a number of major commitments to accelerate our city’s efforts to curb climate change. We hope that they can be included in your upcoming Earth Day announcements, and that they will be integrated into OneNYC.
We would like the opportunity to meet with you as soon as possible to discuss our suggestions and the importance of engaging the city’s residents in developing and implementing an agenda to eliminate our carbon emissions, move the city to 100% clean renewable energy, and ending all fossil fuel use, including natural gas.
The agreement that world leaders made in Paris to limit the increase in global average temperature to 1.5 degrees Celsius (a reduction from 2 degrees that will greatly increase the chances that New York City itself will remain above water) means we need to double the speed at which we reduce greenhouse gas emissions to between 6 to 9% annually.
Unfortunately the news about how fast climate change is already occurring continues to get worse. A recent report found that we have to reduce the world’s estimated “carbon budget” by 50%. NASA recently reported that last month’s average temperatures were than 1.5 degrees Celsius above normal, a development it termed shocking. A recent study of ice shelf melting by scientists concluded that sea levels will rise far faster than earlier estimates, a major threat to our city and region.
We urge you to provide renewed leadership in committing our city to move to 100% clean energy as soon as possible—we advocate a goal of 2030. We know this is ambitious, but the climate crisis demands bold action. We hope you will agree to develop a detailed, comprehensive plan with benchmarks and specific timelines to make this occur, and to provide mechanisms for meaningful input and direction for all city residents, especially those most vulnerable to climate change.
Among the issues we would like to discuss with you are:
- A large scale commitment and timeline to develop offshore wind.
We appreciate that you want offshore wind to be part of our climate change solution. To make this affordable will require a willingness by the city and state to make a firm commitment to purchase a large amount of electricity, starting with 5,000 MW by 2025 statewide. We believe New York City should start this process by committing on Earth Day to purchasing at least 200 MW. With an ideal site, a robust market, and vigorous political will, New York can become a national and international leader on offshore wind. The City should be willing to invest additional dollars upfront to make this happen beyond the $650 million the city already spends to purchase electricity.
- Implementation of recent NY City Council legislation to solarize city buildings.
We urge you to sign the legislation and to commit to implement it as rapidly as possible. The City should also increase efforts to solarize or otherwise install renewable energy on private buildings as well. This includes reforms to the city’s building rules, community shared renewables and the possible implementation of a Community Choice Aggregation program.
- Mandate energy retrofits for buildings in NYC.
Buildings make up 75% of the City’s carbon footprint. The voluntary approach to making our buildings energy efficient has not worked. It is time to move to a mandatory plan, as outlined by the Climate Works for All coalition.
On November 29, thousands of New Yorkers (the Daily News said 5,000) joined us at City Hall to urge your administration to commit to make NYC 100% clean energy by 2030. In addition to the issues below, the letter we delivered to your office addressed sustainable local foods, divesting the public pension funds for all fossil fuels (not just coal), and expansion of mass transit. All these issues and many more could – and should – be incorporated into a city Climate Action Plan.
We applaud the city for reflecting the need for climate justice, equity and a just transition in your launch of OneNYC. We should also build upon the skills of our existing city work force. We know that acting aggressively on climate now will create thousands of jobs, greatly improve city air quality, and help us lead the world into the vibrant and viable low-carbon future that international leaders acknowledged in Paris we need.
Thank you for serious consideration of our request to meet with you and of the issues and policy goals we have raised. We look forward to hearing from you.
PCM-NY Coordinating Committee