For Immediate Release: December 8, 2016
Trump Presidency Raises Stakes for Cuomo Climate Leadership
NYers Call for Cuomo to Include Climate Promises in 2017 Budget Proposal
New York – On January 20, 2017, the United States will become one of the few countries in the world led by someone who denies climate change, and the responsibility for protecting our communities falls to state officials like Governor Andrew Cuomo. Today, residents and a coalition of 100 organizations rallied for Governor Cuomo to turn his rhetoric – “anyone who feels that they are under attack…. the state of New York is their refuge” – into action by making the state a true climate leader with his 2017 Executive Budget proposal. This means incorporating the New York State Climate and Community Protection Act, the most aggressive climate legislation in the country, into his broader economic development, public health, and environmental agenda.
The state Budget is the most significant work that the Executive and Legislature complete annually. It is Governor Cuomo’s best opportunity to prove he will take on President-elect Trump, who has called global warming science a “Chinese hoax,” and has threatened to renege on the Paris Climate Agreement. Trump has also told supporters he intends to abolish life-saving clean air protections, further harming frontline communities bearing the brunt of climate change.
Lorraine Pierre-Destine, Resident Nurse (Lincoln Hospital) and member of the New York State Nurses Association said, “Just imagine a 6-year-old girl wheezing so loudly there’s no need for a stethoscope. Donald Trump refuses to believe in climate science and its detrimental impacts. I would like to invite Mr. Trump to join me at work one day so that he can see firsthand the impacts that dirty air has on the children and families who live here. Air that isn’t safe to breathe makes kids feel like they are being suffocated. Air filled with toxic pathogens causing a lifetime of chronic illness and premature death. Governor Cuomo can be a hero for the families I help to take care of. Trump may have won the White House, but Governor Cuomo can win the fight against climate change.”
Reverend Lennox Yearwood, Jr., President of the Hip Hop Caucus said, “We cannot afford further damage to our health or our planet. The climate movement is defining what climate leadership is by raising the bar for our politicians. They are not fragile children in need of constant reassurance. They are decision-makers who, by and large, are failing to move fast enough when it comes to doing what’s necessary to leave fossil fuels in the ground and facilitate a justice-based transition to 100 percent clean energy. Governor Cuomo can seize this opportunity and send a message to the millions concerned about the future of our climate and air that he is ready to be the leader we need.”
Eddie Bautista, Executive Director of the New York City Environmental Justice Alliance said, “Our coalition puts equity at the center of climate policy, because to fight climate change we need transformative ideas that address environmental justice and create new jobs. One hundred organizations are committed to the NY Renews vision – and we are building on our collective advocacy and powerful partnerships to push New York State to be a national leader when we need it most.”
By incorporating the New York State Climate and Community Protection Act into the SFY2017-18 Budget, Governor Cuomo will:
- Solidify his climate and clean energy goals by placing the State Energy Plan into law, creating the pathway to a future powered 100% by clean, renewable energy.
- Prioritize frontline, environmental justice, and Disadvantaged Communities statewide, by dedicating at least 40% of revenue generated by the Clean Energy Fund and the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) to projects and programs that benefit these communities.
- Create community-driven Just Transition processes for workers and whole communities as they transition away from a fossil fuel-based economy, ensuring avenues to good-paying jobs with fair labor standards.