Remarks on behalf of the Green Party of Nassau County at the February 15, 2019 Climate Hearing in Mineola
Hello, my name is Jim Brown. I live in Island Park, NY and I am the Secretary of the Green Party of Nassau County. I offer my thanks to the Environmental Conservation Committee of the New York State Senate for holding this important hearing on Long Island, and the Green Party appreciates the opportunity to offer the Committee comments on the climate crisis we are facing and possible legislation being considered by the State Legislature.
In October of last year the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) issued a report stating that the planet will likely have warmed 1.5 degrees Centigrade (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) by 2030 unless extreme measures to lower carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions are rapidly taken. At temperatures 1.5 degrees Centigrade above pre-Industrial levels we will still experience the increased ravages of climate disruption, but at levels of global warming beyond that we will truly experience climate chaos. To preserve the planet-- habitat, wildlife diversity and our human civilization as we now know it—will require unprecedented, concerted social and political action to fight climate change over the next decade.
Limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Centigrade by 2030 is possible according to the IPCC. The “Jacobson” study by Stanford and Cornell professors has shown that it is scientifically possible to move states such as New York to 100% clean, renewable energy by 2030. This goal could be accomplished by New York State using a mix of offshore wind, onshore wind, hydroelectric, tidal, geothermal and solar power. Dirty fuels such as nuclear power and biofuels, along with fossil fuels would be abandoned. (In this regard, the Green Party requests that a promised NYSERDA draft study with its own views on a possible timeline to 100% renewable energy be released. It is now a year late, and should be given to the Legislature as soon as possible).
Worldwide efforts to fight climate change are currently falling far short. Emissions worldwide are actually increasing, not declining. The Trump administration is withdrawing the U.S. from the Paris Climate Accords, a record number of fossil fuel leases are being considered from the Atlantic to Alaska, and fossil fuel infrastructure construction continues throughout the country. Ecological destruction is occurring throughout the planet, from the peat marshes of Indonesia, to the Amazon rainforest of Brazil to the parched lands of our own Southwest. And as we are all too well aware—to the coastal areas of our own State. Climate change deniers and fossil fuel companies should no longer be permitted to set basic energy policy, a policy that will only result in more tragedy and ultimate catastrophe.
New York must step up where others have not and set a clear example to follow. Important strides can be made if there is the political will to do so. We urge the Legislature to craft an approach to climate legislation that takes the best from the Governor’s initiatives, the CCPA and the New York State Off Fossil Fuels by 2030 Act. The Green Party of Nassau County seeks a true, authentic Green New Deal for our State. To solve the crisis of climate change requires that we take strong actions—a rapid transition to 100% clean, renewable energy by 2030 and the halting of all fossil fuel infrastructure projects such as the downstate Williams pipeline and the Hudson Valley Danskammer fracked gas plant. At the same time that we make this critical transition we must make it a just transition, fair to workers in the fossil fuels, biofuels and nuclear industries who will suffer displacement, and fair to those communities that have been most harmed by dirty fuels’ pollution impacts over many years.
Green Party of Nassau County