New York—State Senator Liz Krueger, Environmental Advocates of New York, and St. Bartholomew's Church today announced a large-scale NYC event aimed at fighting the climate crisis. The event will feature Grammy winning recording artist and 2-time Country Music Association Female (CMA) Vocalist of the Year Kathy Mattea, Commissioner Pete Grannis of the State Department of Environment Conservation (DEC), and NYS Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli.
Mattea will present former Vice President Al Gore's An Inconvenient Truth slideshow. Her presentation will be followed by a discussion about what New York is doing to fight global warming, including the new Climate Control Office within the DEC, led by Commissioner Grannis and Comptroller DiNapoli. Due to New York City's regional population and business density, as well as our geographic vulnerability to the impacts of global warming, New York plays a key role in the future of the debate. The event is free and open to the public.
"The purpose of this event is to mobilize New Yorkers and their government to no longer sit idly by, and join in fighting the climate crisis," explained Senator Krueger (D-Manhattan). "Our goal is to have people ask themselves 'what can I change in my own life?' and leave with a better understanding of the complexity of this issue, and the very serious impending problems we face should we not act immediately. Some want to sit back and ignore mountains of scientific evidence while the planet continues to warm. New Yorkers overwhelmingly recognize the need for leadership on this issue in the face of complete negligence from the federal government."
In 2002, President George W. Bush dismissed a report released by his own administration that human activity is contributing to global warming, and during the recent United Nations convention skipped nearly all discussions related to global warming, instead opting for a separate D.C.-based conference that competed with international efforts. In all of his State of the Union speeches, global warming has been mentioned just once.
"The federal government's failure to take regulatory action on climate change has left this essential role to the states. Fortunately, the states have a large legal toolkit of measures they can take to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Examples include emissions caps, requirements for energy conservation, zero- or low-carbon renewable energy, controls on methane and nitrous oxide emissions from agricultural and solid waste operations, and many others," said Michael B. Gerrard, an environmental lawyer with Arnold & Porter in New York and editor of Global Climate Change and U.S. Law, recently published by the American Bar Association.
"The challenges presented by climate change can seem insurmountable. However, there are actions New York can and should take to significantly cut our contribution to global warming, including implementing the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, a first step toward reducing the state's climate-altering pollution from all sectors," said Robert Moore, Executive Director, Environmental Advocates of New York. "New York needs an ambitious global warming pollution reduction target to put us on the path to avoiding the worst effects of climate change."
The United States is home to 4-percent of the world's population, but produces a quarter of all emissions causing global warming. According to a 2003 report by the National Environmental Trust, New York produces more global warming pollution than 99 developing countries combined.
Kathy Mattea, a country music legend, has long impacted public opinion on political issues, including global warming and the AIDS pandemic. Her next album, slated for early 2008 release, will bring attention to the environmental devastation caused by mountaintop removal coal mining. Mattea was the first country music star to publicly address AIDS during the 1992 CMAs, and later organized Red Hot & Country, an album that raised funds for AIDS research and education. For that she was recognized at the very first VH1 Honors special. She was also the 1994 recipient of the Harvard AIDS Awareness Award. A personal friend of the Gore family, Mattea took part in the grassroots training program with the Vice President and top scientists in the field, learning how to present his slideshow around the country.
"In January 2006, I saw Al Gore give his now-famous Power-Point presentation on Global Warming, at Vanderbilt," Mattea said. "I didn't sleep for the next 2 nights. I found myself thinking about it constantly. I spent 3 days last September training with Mr. Gore and one of the top scientists in the field. I walked out with a burning commitment to take this message to as many people as I can. I was one of those people who thought that there's nothing a lone person can do to make a difference, and I learned differently. Now I want to spread the word of hope to regular people, and help them learn what the huge ripple effect can be when we each make small changes in our daily routines. We really can be part of the Solution. Even the smallest action empowers us to change our world. I want to help people remember that."
New York is facing severe long-term negatives associated with climate change, including heat-related illness and death, infectious and vector-borne diseases, agriculture instability placing 35,000 farms across the state at risk, and perhaps most devastating for the NYC-region, infrastructure and coastal property damage. Current models predict that sea levels can rise up to 33 inches by the end of the century, meaning bigger storm surges, more land flooded during major storms, and more coastal property at risk.
A 1998 study by Columbia University researchers concluded that subways, airports and low-lying areas will be affected by a rising water table and increased storm surges associated with global warming. In 2006, NYC was ranked as having the 2nd greatest risk of any U.S. city for storm surge and flooding, behind New Orleans.
"Were we to wave a magic-wand and stop what is contributing to global warming today, the oceans are projected to continue to warm for up to a half a century more because of the toxins we have already put into our atmosphere. The polar icecaps will melt to such a degree that polar bears will face extinction, according to the U.S. Geological Survey, and huge percentages of fish and marine populations will collapse while the rising and warming waters eat away at our coastlines as in-land agriculture is devastated, impacting our food supply," said Senator Krueger.
"This can be a very scary and depressing topic, but we must change the way we as individuals, and as a society, live our lives and make the decisions we do, or we will be leaving our children in an incredibly difficult position," she concluded.
WHAT: Warning! There’s a Warming: Stop Climate Change
WHO: Kathy Mattea, DEC Commissioner Pete Grannis, NYS Comptroller Tom
DiNapoli, State Senator Liz Krueger, Environmental Advocates of New
York, St. Bartholomew’s Church
WHERE: St. Bartholomew’s Church / Park Avenue @ 51st Street / NYC
WHEN: Tuesday, October 23rd, 2007 / 6-8PM