A very spirited rally, this past Wednesday, May 29th, outside the Long Island office of NYS Senator Todd Kaminsky! Following are the remarks of the Nassau County Green Party Secretary at the event in Rockville Centre:
Welcome Climate Activists! I am Jim Brown and I’m the Secretary of the Green Party of Nassau County. I’m happy to be here with members of Food and Water Watch, New York Communities for Change, local chapters of 350.og and others, to urge Senator Todd Kaminsky, in his capacity as the Chairperson of the New York Senate’s Environmental Conservation Committee, to produce strong, direly necessary climate change legislation this session. Time is running out in the Legislature as time is running out for the planet to tackle the climate chaos we are facing. Bold action is required, and that action is required NOW!
The U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) issued a report just last fall, before the beginning of this NYS Legislative Session, that to halt global warming to the Paris Accord goal of 1.5 degrees Centigrade (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) would require “deep emissions” reductions by 2030. Also needed by 2030, according to the report, are “far-reaching” changes in society. The IPCC’s estimates of needed responses, if anything, tend to be conservative, as fossil fuel producing nations, e.g. Saudi Arabia, have to sign on to any reports. Examples are constantly arising—melting ice caps and glaciers, stronger hurricanes, longer and more intense droughts—that demonstrate the rapidity of the global warming and the intensity of the climate crisis we are facing.
Many young people know this. Across the globe many of them are taking actions in the streets and leaving classrooms to strike for climate action. This took off with the actions of the young Swedish schoolgirl Greta Thunberg. There are now many Greta Thunbergs speaking out for a rapid transition to clean, renewable energy. They realize they will be the ones ultimately bearing the brunt of the climate emergency and they demand action now. 2050 is just too late—strong action is needed by 2030—the IPCC, the Greta Thunbergs of the world—and the science—attest to it! As do we!
Todd Kaminsky, I am sure, is aware of the impacts of climate change—his district was stricken by Hurricane Sandy in 2012 and is constantly threatened with climate chaos even today. The Senator can walk around communities such as Long Beach and Island Park and still see the results—homes being raised, others still left derelict and unoccupied—after almost seven full years! His office here in Rockville Centre—where we’re now standing—is luckily out of the major storm zone. Residents fleeing a severe hurricane are advised to go north of Sunrise Highway—just about a block to our south—to be relatively certain of safety. From here the boardwalk at Long Beach is about 6 miles away. It includes a big chunk of Senate District 9. Sea level rise is threatening this district, among others on Long Island. Maps of Long Island in the future, based on changes in sea level, show that a lot of District 9 will no longer be here. Long Beach and Island Park, for example, will look like Southern Florida on those same maps—gone—sunk beneath the Atlantic Ocean. Action to prevent this, as I’ve said, is needed now rather than later.
To finish up: We urge Todd Kaminsky, as the Chair of the Environmental Conservation Committee of the State Senate, and as a Long Islander, and as a citizen of a climate-threatened world, to support strong climate action in the Senate ASAP, in particular: 1) A climate bill with a goal of justly transitioning to clean, renewable energy by 2030—2050 is too late! We can’t afford to hide from the science! The Jacobson study shows that 2030 is a realistic goal and provides a blueprint for rapid change to renewables in New York State. 2) A ban on new fossil fuel infrastructure—Let the Williams pipeline be just the first one in a long list of misguided projects to be banned! 3) Divestment from fossil fuels from the NY Pension Funds—if Ireland and NYC can do it, so can New York State!
For the Green Party it makes no difference what the bill is called at the end of the day. Whether it is called the “CCPA” or the “Off Fossil Fuels Act” is not important. What we need, whatever the name, is the passage of a strong, bold climate bill!
Our Demands: 1. Move NY to 100% renewable by 2030 2. Oppose and work to stop fossil fuel pipelines and power plants 3. Cosponsor legislation to divest NY States’s pension funds from fossil fuels