When it comes to climate change and the environment, President Donald Trump is plain wrong.
Human induced climate change is real, and the evidence is right in front of us. It threatens our shores. It promises to bring intense heat waves and powerful storms. It has the power to disrupt our economy, endanger our food supply, and imperil global stability. We must take action to stop it. This Earth Day, hundreds of thousands are taking to the streets to March for Science. This is an important show of solidarity, and as local elected officials, we must follow through with action.
Before leaving office, President Obama laid out a road map to cut greenhouse gas emissions and stop the warming of our planet. The goal was to avoid the tipping point that would alter our climate to the point of catastrophe. President Obama set rules that in the coming decades would increase the fuel efficiency of our cars and move the country to cleaner sources of electricity.
Now President Trump wants to review these rules with the goal of rolling them back. He says that he wants to help our economy, but his actions are wrong-headed and short-sighted. His vision for our country relies on pipelines and coal mines. I say that our economic future is in the new technology that will lead to more fuel efficient cars and cleaner energy.
As Public Advocate for the City of New York, I have a duty to speak truth to power and do what is best for our City and its residents. This is why I am calling on all cities and states to partner with us as we litigate, regulate, and use our combined purchasing power to cut greenhouse gases and other harmful pollutants.
New York City has made a pledge to cut greenhouse gas emissions 80 percent by 2050. We are not alone. We are among eight other cities and ten states in the U.S. to make this promise and to set out a plan to achieve it. This effort reaches across the globe to cities, regions, and countries on every continent.
In New York, we are increasing our investment in renewable energy, making our buildings more energy efficient, and reducing our reliance on automobiles. We will leverage our purchasing power to only use clean and renewable energy sources for the electricity we use at city facilities, or to purchase electric vehicles.
Much of the city’s plan to combat climate change depends on its residents. We will all have to work towards reducing waste from food, paper, and plastics. We are going to have to switch to more energy efficient appliances and light bulbs, or unplug chargers and electronics when we are not using them. The city can lead the way, but it takes all of us to make an impact.
We will not allow President Trump to undo the progress we’ve made. His efforts will be met with stiff resistance.
Like his Muslim travel ban, President Trump’s recent orders are on shaky legal ground, and key battles will be decided in court. The unfortunate result will be years of delay that we can ill-afford.
The fight will not be easy. Trump is backed by powerful interests who think they have more to gain by rolling back rules to cut greenhouse gases.
But we cannot slide backwards, and we must use join together to fight for our planet. Rising sea levels and larger, more powerful storms like Superstorm Sandy threaten our shores. Scientists predict sea levels could rise up to six feet by the end of the century, which would put Wall Street under water, inundate New York’s subway system, and regularly flood the homes of millions of New Yorkers. The time to act on climate change is now.