Shouldn’t the New York mayoral candidates be speaking out about our city’s climate change policy? Members of the OFA-NYC Climate Team think so.
Please join us by signing this open letter to the mayoral candidates calling on them to tell us, specifically, what they would do as mayor to combat climate change.
Once you’ve signed the letter online, be sure to share it on Facebook and to tweet about it, so that the candidates know how important this issue is to New Yorkers.
(Mark your tweets with #nycClimate.)
Dear NYC Mayoral Candidates,
You’ve been discussing many important issues such as jobs, economic justice, education, and healthcare. But we’ve heard little from you on another critical issue: climate change. The Bloomberg administration has made climate change a high profile issue and has scored significant policy achievements. What will you do?
Reversing Climate Change and its effects is a top priority for members of the Organizing for Action NYC Climate Team and many other New Yorkers. That’s why we want each of you (meaning mayoral candidates in both parties) to spell out your climate change action plans in detail and tell us how you will ensure that New York City will be a world leader on the issue of climate change.
Urban areas are the most vulnerable to the worst effects of climate change and, at the same time, are the innovation hubs that will generate the technologies and policies that will solve climate change. If you are the next mayor of New York City, it is imperative that you build upon President Obama’s efforts to reduce carbon pollution, deal with aspects of climate change that can’t be reversed (mitigation/resiliency), and lead global efforts to address climate change. Since you have not yet offered meaningful policy proposals to address climate change, we have spelled out some questions that you should answer if you want to be taken seriously on this critical issue.
REDUCING CARBON POLLUTION:
The news on carbon emissions in New York City has generally been positive: We are on track to meet PlaNYC’s (Mayor Bloomberg’s 2007 plan to, among other things, combat climate change) goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 30% by 2030. The problem is, the rest of the world is going in the opposite direction, and dramatically so. Atmospheric CO2 emissions reached 400 parts per million in June 2013, the first time those levels have been seen in 50,000,000 years. And the emissions trajectory is moving towards 450, not 350. Which means we in New York City have to be even more aggressive than PlaNYC’s targets if we are really serious about reversing the global carbon emissions train, by ramping up our carbon emissions reduction goals beyond PlaNYC’s 30% target. With that in mind our two questions for you are simple:
1. What greenhouse gas emission reduction target would you set for 2030 and how will you ensure NYC achieves this reduction?
2. To help achieve this target, how specifically do you plan to achieve President Obama’s target of doubling renewable energy production by 2020?
In June, Mayor Bloomberg released “A Stronger, More Resilient New York”, a plan that proposes adaptation strategies to protect our city from the worst ravages of climate change. The proposal, which includes the installation of adaptable floodwalls, a storm surge barrier in Newtown Creek, and the expansion of natural areas for wave protection, among many others, is a significant step forward. But, as with carbon emissions, New York City’s best mitigation/resiliency plans today likely will not be good enough, with data from the New York City Panel on Climate Change suggesting that, by the 2050s:
1. Sea levels could rise at a significantly faster rate than forecasted just four years ago — by more than 2.5 feet, potentially.
2. There could be three times as many days at or above 90 degrees, leading to heat waves that threaten public health and the power system, among other infrastructure systems.
3. The number of days with more than two inches of rainfall will grow from three in the last century to five in the 2050s.
On this front, our question for you is: How precisely will you implement and go beyond the “A Stronger, More Resilient New York” plan so that New York City remains livable and continues to be a pioneer in urban environmental planning?
New York City has not only led through the policies of PlaNYC and “A Stronger, More Resilient New York”, it has also taken a leadership role in C40, a network of the world’s megacities taking action to address seriously climate change. Mayor Bloomberg is the current chairperson of the C40, and it’s fair to say that New York City is also seen as a leader of that impressive group. The next chairperson will most certainly not be the mayor of New York, and the other cities will be looking to out-invest and out-innovate New York. The competition will be fierce (a good thing, to be sure) and to the winner goes the jobs and economic development that goes with being the Clean Tech capital of the world. What specific policies will you pursue to ensure that New York City wins that battle?
Climate Change poses nothing less than the greatest of challenge of our lifetimes. President Obama and Mayor Bloomberg have stepped up to make significant strides in fighting Climate Change. The challenge for the next mayor of New York is to do even more. We, the undersigned New Yorkers need to hear more than vague promises to move things in the right direction – we need to hear real policy proposals to tackle climate change.
New Yorkers Concerned About Climate
The Open Letter To NYC Mayoral Candidates On Climate Change petition to NYC For Action Mailing List was written by NYC For Action and is in the category Environment at GoPetition.