Cuomo Urged to Be Climate Leader

Cuomo Urged to be National Climate Leader in 2016
Groups Urge Him to Support Off-shore Wind, 100% Renewables in State of the State

Climate change activists are urging Governor Cuomo to announce the end of the fossil fuel era in his State of the State speech on Wednesday January 13. This would include halting the expansion of natural gas in the state which presently includes a slew of proposed pipelines, compressor stations, power plants and storage facilities.

The groups hope Cuomo will announce plans to a rapid transition to 100% renewables following the agreement in Paris to reduce the goal for capping global warming from 2 degrees centigrade to 1.5 degrees. The lower goal requires an annual reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by 7% rather than the 3.5% needed for the goal of 2 degrees.

“We want New York to replace California as a world leader on climate change. The City of San Diego recently announced a goal of going to 100% renewable energy by 2035. We would like New York to match if not better that goal. While we need to more aggressively expand solar, geothermal and energy efficiency, what is really missing in New York is a commitment to offshore wind,” noted Mark Dunlea of the 100% Renewables Now NY campaign.

Climate change groups will hold a State of the Climate rally and march at the Capitol right before e Governor’s State of the State address. Advocates are urging the Governor to support a Power Purchase Agreement for 5,000 MW of offshore wind (OSW) by 2025 and 10,000 megawatts by 2030. The federal government says its top priority for OSW development is off of Long Island.

While the Governor has won praise for supporting expanding renewable energy, his energy plan promotes a major expansion of “cheap” natural gas in the state. Methane however is 87 times more potent short term as a greenhouse gas that carbon dioxide. Groups also oppose his bail out of coal and nuclear plants.

“Moving to 100% clean energy will put hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers to work while making our communities healthier and lowering electric bills compared to using fossil fuels. We need an across the board mobilization of resources to make this happen, rather than primarily relying upon market forces to solve climate change,” noted Lyna Hinkel of 350NYC.

“We want it to be a Just Transition, protecting the workers and the communities most impacted by the change,” added Sue Hughes Smith of the Rochester People’s Climate Coalition.

There are dozens of proposed gas and oil pipelines that are generating opposition (e.g., NED, Pilgrim, AIM). Many groups are calling the Constitution Pipeline Cuomo’s Keystone moment. The 121 mile pipeline to move fracked gas from Pennsylvania to Schoharie County needs a water permit from DEC. Activists are also opposing the oil bomb trains and barges carrying Bakken Crude Oil across the state, with the Port of Albany a major center. Groups are drafting state legislation to halt the expansion of fossil fuel infrastructure.

The themes of the rally are: Rapid action on climate change; support 100% Renewables Now; Climate Justice; Living Wage Jobs, and a Just Transition.

Speakers will include Mark Dunlea, 100% Renewables Now NY, GELF; Kim Fraczek, Sane Energy Project – AIM pipeline and offshore wind; Becky Meier, Stop NY Frack Gas Pipeline; Suzy Winkler, People, Not Pipelines, Constitution Pipeline; Oil Bomb Trains – PAUSE; Jobs / Just Transition – Matt Ryan, ALIGN; Citizen Action – Julia Caro; Sandra Steingraber, We Are Seneca Lake; NYS Sustainable Business Council, Sarah Hunt; Divestment – 350NYC, Lyna Hinkel; State Carbon tax – Prof. Sara Hsu; Green Party – Green New Deal; and, James Cromwell and Pramilla Malick, STOPMCS Stop CPV Power Plant.

The rally and march are sponsored by: 100% Renewables Now NY, 350NYC, The Solutions Project, Peoples Climate Movement NY, PAUSE, Sane Energy Project, Bronx Climate Justice North, Green Education and Legal Fund, NYS Sustainable Business Council, Green Party, Rochester People’s Climate Coalition, Grassroots Environmental Education, Stop NY Gas Fracked Pipeline, Food and Water Watch, United for Action, NYC Friends of Clearwater, Citizen Action of NY, Binghamton Regional Sustainability Coalition, WESPAC, We Are Seneca Lake, Gas Free Seneca, New Paltz Climate Action Coalition, Fossil Free Tompkins, (list in formation).

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