DeBlasio's “One NYC” Falls Short of Needed Climate Justice
James Lane, the Green Party candidate for Congress in the 11th CD, called today for this year's Earth Day to mark the end of the fossil fuel era.
A Green New Deal would provide for full employment and meet other basic human rights by making a large-scale investment in the transition to renewable energy, mass transit, energy conservation and sustainable agriculture.
"It is time for the federal government to say NO to any more fossil fuels and instead usher in the era of clean energy. Both corporate parties promote an all-of-the-above approach that promotes extreme extraction of fossil fuels threatening our environment and public health. We need to start building offshore wind projects in the Rockaways and Port Ambrose rather than more gas pipelines and liquefied natural gas facilities. A clean energy future is also a full employment, health future," said candidate Lane.
He noted that studies such as the Jacobson plan show that 4.5 million jobs (more than a quarter million 40-year jobs) would be created in New York State by transitioning to clean energy by 2015. Electric rates would be lowered by half compared to continued reliance upon fossil fuels.
Lane said that, while Mayor de Blasio's "One NYC" program has several good reforms, "it falls far short of the New Deal-scale investment and overhaul that is necessary. Climate Change is not a mayoral vanity project. We need hundreds of billions of dollars annually in Green New Deal funds to 'actually' build back houses and fortify against storms. Fighting climate change is necessary to the survival of neighborhoods on or near the water."
Lane called for a just, democratic transition to a clean energy future, targeting those most vulnerable to climate change (low-income residents and front-line communities) and ensuring jobs for those presently employed by the fossil fuel industry.
"Decades of inaction and opposition by the two main American political parties mean that it is too late to stop climate change. But scientists hope that we have up to 15 years to take major action that may stop the most devastating climate changes from occurring. Otherwise, large parts of New York City, especially in this Congressional district, will no longer be habitable due to rising tides and severe storms," noted Lane.
Lane also said that the federal government needed to dramatically improve its efforts to help families recover from the extreme weather that will continue to worsen due to climate change. Two years after Hurricane Sandy, federal agencies had spent only a fraction of the $48 billion allocated by Congress for relief. Nor has the City's "Build It Back" program done an adequate job.
James said he would prohibit the use of fossil fuels on federal government property, which accounts for about 25% of known US reserves. In order to prevent catastrophic climate change, we need to ensure that 80% of known fossil fuel reserves are never converted to greenhouse gas emissions.
James supports the federal government transitioning to 100% clean energy (no fossil fuels, no nukes) by 2030. He called for an immediate end to the billions of dollars in federal tax subsidies for fossil fuels and nukes and the enactment of a carbon tax in the $100-a-ton range to make greenhouse polluters begin to pay for the damage they cause. It is estimated, for instance, that burning fossil fuels results in the premature deaths annually of 3,100 New Yorkers and more than $25 billion in additional healthcare costs. Polls show that, by 2 to 1, Americans support a carbon tax. Supports goes up, particularly among Republicans, if a portion of the revenues is devoted to renewable energy.
Oil Change International estimates that the federal government provides more than $18 billion in annual subsidies. This includes tax breaks, incentives for production on federal lands (such as royalty fees that haven't been adjusted in 25 years) and tax deductions for clean-up costs.
"The development of offshore wind is critical to the plan to go to 100% clean energy. It is especially critical to do it off of New York City since it makes sense to locate major power facilities close to where the largest demand for energy exist - New York City and Long Island. This helps reduce the energy lost from transmission. But now the federal government has allowed the Port Ambrose LNG facility to jump to the head of the line in terms of developing the Port Ambrose area, even though groups have been working on offshore wind farm proposals in that area for 7 years," noted Lane, referring to the actions of the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM).