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Hoylman calls for action on climate change
By Joy Garland
On September 9, the NYC Sierra Club that meets monthly at the Seafarers and International House on East 15th Street, hosted “The Waters are Rising: How will NYC and NYS Respond?” Members in the packed room listened to Cynthia Rosenzweig, NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies; Dan Zarilli, Director, Mayor’s Office of Recovery and Resiliency for the City of NY; and NY State Senator Brad Hoylman, Ranking Member of the Environmental Conservation Committee.
Hoylman told the audience that one of his primary goals was to call the legislature’s attention to the threat of human-made climate change, but felt his message met a seemingly anti-science undercurrent from some of his colleagues.
Hoylman submitted an Earth Day resolution calling for action to fight climate change, but the Chair of the Senate Finance Committee told Hoylman that it was omitted because a recent cold winter in Syracuse appeared to debunk climate change.
In addition, this year’s enacted state budget “raided $41 million from NY’s Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative funds,” considered one of the most successful tools for fighting climate change and often cited as what other states could follow in implementing the Obama Administration’s recently enacted Clean Power Plan.
Sen. Hoylman laments that there has been a lack of a concerted effort to implement a Climate Action Plan, though a draft plan since the Paterson Administration “has been sitting on the shelf” with a goal of reducing 80 percent of carbon emissions by 2050, but without a plan to reach that goal.
He wants every state and local agency to work on a plan that would get to 80 percent and eventually to 100 percent reduction levels by setting benchmark dates for positive actions and no more embracing dirty coal plants.
As part of Hoylman’s remarks, on the positive side, he said that the Manhattan East Side community’s experience of Hurricane Sandy highlighted the weaknesses in our transit system and “has precipitated a shift toward resiliency planning, including among many of my Republican colleagues.”
It was also announced this summer that “the capacity for solar energy has grown by more than 300 percent since 2011” partly due to the $1 billion NY-SUN initiative which aims to increase the number of solar electric systems statewide through market-based strategies while considering affordability for ratepayers.
The next meeting of the Sierra Club takes place on October 14 with Annie Wilson, NY Environmental Law and Justice Project plus George Potanovic and Susan Filgueras of the Stony Point Committee for the Environment.