THE CLIMATE CRISIS

October 11, 2018 at 4:30 am

Historic Hurricane Michael heads north just after a grim warning was issued by the United Nations on climate change. One local group offers advice to New York’s elected officials on what changes are needed to combat the climate crisis.

Peril and Promise is an ongoing series of reports on the human impact of, and solutions for, Climate Change. Lead funding for Peril and Promise is provided by Dr. P. Roy Vagelos and Diana T. Vagelos. Major support is provided by Marc Haas Foundation and Sue and Edgar Wachenheim III.

Aired on October 10, 2018.

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> HELLO, AND WELCOME TO
"METROFOCUS."
I'M RAPHAEL P. RAMON.
IT WILL BE A STORMY NIGHT FOR
THOUSANDS AS HURRICANE MICHAEL
MOVES NORTH.
IT'S BEEN OVER 100 YEARS SINCE A
HURRICANE OF MICHAEL'S STRENGTH
HAS MADE LANDFALL ON THE FLORIDA
PANHANDLE AND ONLY THE THIRD
HURRICANE TO HIT THE PANHANDLE
SINCE THE 1950s.
THE DAMAGE OF WHAT IS EXPECTED
TO BE A STORM SURGE IN MICHAEL'S
WAKE WILL BE DETERMINED IN THE
COMING HOURS.
HURRICANE MICHAEL HITS JUST DAYS
AFTER THE OTHER UNITED NATIONS
RELEASED AID DIRE PREDICTION.
ON MONDAY THE WORLD'S BODY INTER
GOVERNMENTAL PANEL ON CLIMATE
CHANGE SHARED ITS RECENT
FINDINGS THAT WARNED THAT UNLESS
IMMEDIATE CHANGES GO INTO EFFECT
ACROSS THE GLOBE, THE WORLD WILL
SEE FOOD SHORTAGES, COASTAL
FLOODING, WORSENING WILDFIRES
AND A MASS DIE OFF OF OUR CORAL
REEFS BY 2040.
ITS A AUTHORIZES WARNED ALL OF
US MAY, QUOTE, MAY REACH RAPID
IN FAR REACHES IN ORDER TO SAVE
THE PLANET.
THE NEW YORK LEAGUE OF
CONSERVATION VOTERS CONSIDERS
THE ENVIRONMENT A PARAMOUNT
ISSUE WHEN ENTERING THE VOTING
BOOTH.
PERIL AND PROMISE, THE CHALLENGE
OF CLIMATE CHANGE, JACK FORD
RECENTLY SPOKE WITH THE LEAGUE'S
PRESIDENT MARCY A BISTRAND.
HE BEGAN BY ASKING ABOUT HER
ORGANIZATION.
>> IT'S AN ORGANIZATION THAT'S
BEEN AROUND ABOUT 25 YEARS.
AND IT'S A STATEWIDE
ORGANIZATION, SO WE'RE INVOLVED
ACROSS THE STATE.
AND WE WORK TO ELECT STRONG
CANDIDATES ON THE ENVIRONMENT.
WE HAVE AN ADVOCACY AGENDA.
WE WORK TO SUPPORT PEOPLE WHO
MOVE THAT AGENDA FORWARD.
>> AS I SAID IN THE
INTRODUCTION, NONPARTISAN?
>> NONPARTISAN.
>> SO, HOW, THEN, DO YOU -- AND
I'M GOING TO GET TO SOME ISSUES
IN A SECOND.
BUT TAKE ME THROUGH THE PROCESS,
THEN, OF IDENTIFYING CANDIDATES,
OF QUESTIONING CANDIDATES, AND
THEN ULTIMATELY AN ORGANIZATION
SAYING THIS IS SOMEBODY THAT WE
CAN GET BEHIND?
>> WE HAVE A VERY TRANSPARENT
PROCESS.
I THINK THAT IS EXTREMELY
IMPORTANT ON ISSUES LIKE THIS.
EVERY YEAR -- LET'S JUST TAKE
THE STATE LEGISLATURE.
EVERY YEAR WE LAYOUT WHAT OUR
AGENDA IS FOR THE LEGISLATURE.
WE ADVOCATE FOR IT.
WE TRACK PERFORMANCE OF THE
LEGISLATORS ON THAT AGENDA.
WE ISSUE A SCORE CARD AT THE END
OF THE SESSION THAT RANKS THE
LEGISLATORS ON THE BASIS OF
WHETHER THEY ADVANCE THAT AGENDA
OR NOT.
THEY SUBMIT A QUESTIONNAIRE IF
THEY WANT OUR ENDORSEMENT.
WE LOOK AT THE QUESTIONNAIRE.
WE MEET WITH THEM.
WE INTERVIEW THEM.
AND ON THE BASIS OF ALL OF THAT,
OUR BOARD DECIDES WHETHER
THEY'RE GOING TO ENDORSE THEM OR
NOT.
AND WE ENDORSE CANDIDATES.
AND THEN THERE IS ANOTHER LEVEL
OF THE UNIVERSE OF CANDIDATES WE
ENDORSE, A SUBSET WE INVEST IN.
IN OTHER WORDS, WE HAVE A PAC AS
WELL.
>> OKAY.
LET'S TALK ABOUT SOME ISSUES
THAT ARE OUT THERE.
>> SURE.
>> THAT IMPACT FOLKS WHO LIVE IN
THIS AREA.
WE'VE SEEN THE NOTION OF BANNING
PLASTIC BAGS, SORT OF BATTED
ABOUT IN THE POLITICAL ARENA.
WHAT'S YOUR THOUGHT ON THAT AND
HOW IT SHOULD BE HANDLED?
>> WELL, I DON'T THINK SAM AND
THE LEAGUE ADVOCATED FOR THIS,
OF PUTTING A FEE ON BAGS.
NOT BANNING THEM, BUT PUTTING A
FEE ON BOTH PLASTIC AND PAPER
BAGS.
THIS IS SOMETHING THEY DO IN
LONDON, THEY DO IN PARIS, THEY
DO IT IN MONTREAL AND SUFFOLK
COUNTY.
WHAT IT IS, IT MAKES CONSUMERS
THINK BEFORE THEY ASK FOR A BAG.
IT IS A WAY OF MINIMIZING THE
WASTE, NOT ONLY WE HAVE TO
DISPOSE OF, BUT THE COST, FOR
EXAMPLE, TO THE CITY OF MANAGING
THAT WASTE.
>> AND THE FEE WOULD GO WHERE?
>> THIS IS ONE OF THOSE TRICKY
THINGS ABOUT NEW YORK STATE.
IF WE CAN GET THE STATE TO PASS
THIS, THEN THE MONEY COULD BE
USED FOR THE ENVIRONMENTAL
PROTECTION FUND.
IF THE CITY DOES IT ALONE AND
THE PAC WILL PASS LEGISLATION
ALONG THESE LINES, THE MONEY
WILL HAVE TO GO TO THE RETAILER
BECAUSE NEW YORK STATE WOULD
CONSIDER THAT TAXING WITHOUT
GOING THROUGH --
>> IT WOULD STILL HAVE THE
IMPACT THAT YOU WANT, WHICH IS
TO MAKE PEOPLE THINK.
>> EXACTLY.
ONCE AGAIN, MOST OF THE WORLD
THAT WE TRAVEL IN DOES THIS
ALREADY.
>> WHAT DO YOU THINK THE
PROSPECT IS FOR THAT BEING --
>> IT'S GOING TO DEPEND ON WHAT
THE GOVERNOR DECIDES, QUITE
FRANKLY.
YOU KNOW, NEXT YEAR IS AN
INTERESTING YEAR IN ALBANY,
RIGHT?
THE ODDS ARE THAT THE GOVERNOR
WILL BE GOVERNOR AGAIN -- I'M
NOT PREDICTING, BUT THOSE ARE
THE ODDS.
BUT WHO IS GOING TO CONTROL THE
LEGISLATURE?
WHO IS GOING TO CONTROL THE
SENATE?
SO I THINK YOU'RE GOING TO NEED
STRONG LEADERSHIP.
AND I KNOW THE LEAGUE IS GOING
TO BE PUSHING THIS ALONG WITH A
HOST OF OTHER THINGS.
>> WE TALKED ABOUT ANOTHER ISSUE
THAT GETS A LOT OF ATTENTION
BECAUSE IT POPS UP PERIODICALLY
AND THAT'S THE IDEA OF
CONGESTION PRICING IN THIS CITY.
WHAT ARE YOUR VIEWS ON THAT?
>> WELL, YOU KNOW,
TRANSPORTATION IS AN
ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUE.
IT'S AN ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUE
BECAUSE OF EMISSIONS THAT COME
OFF OF CARS.
AND AS WE ALL KNOW, THE MTA IS
POORLY FUNDED AND CONGESTION
PRICING IS A WAY IN WHICH WE CAN
RAISE MONEY FOR THE MTA AND AT
THE SAME TIME MINIMIZE TRAFFIC
CONGESTION.
WE SUPPORT IT.
>> YOU DO?
WHAT DO YOU THINK PROSPECTS ARE?
>> I THINK THAT THE GOVERNOR HAS
TO DO SOMETHING WITH THE MTA.
I THINK HE'S UNDER SO MUCH
ATTACK ON THIS RIGHT NOW.
YOU KNOW, PART OF HIS IMAGE IS
THE CAN-DO INFRASTRUCTURE GUY,
RIGHT?
THE TAPPAN ZEE BRIDGE, LAGUARDIA
AIRPORT.
THE FACT HE APPEARS TO BE
FAILING ON MASS TRANSIT IS
SOMETHING I DON'T THINK HE'S
GOING TO BE ABLE TO GET AWAY
WITH ANY LONGER.
SO I THINK THERE WILL BE A STEP.
>> WHAT ADVICE CAN YOU GIVE TO
OUR VIEWERS WHO ARE WATCHING,
LISTENING TO THIS CONVERSATION,
WELL, THE GOVERNMENT HAS TO DO
ALL THIS STUFF?
WHAT KIND OF ADVICE CAN YOU GIVE
TO PRIVATE CITIZENS, THINGS WE
CAN DO?
>> I'M NOT GOING TO SAY WHAT YOU
EXPECT MOW TO SAY.
ALL GOOD THINGS, TURN OFF YOUR
LIGHTS, THAT KIND OF THING.
IT'S POLITICS.
YOU HAVE TO FIGURE OUT WHAT YOU
CARE FOR.
YOU HAVE TO FIND OUT WHAT'S
GOING ON WITH GOVERNMENT, WITH
YOUR ELECTED OFFICIALS AND GET
INVOLVED.
THAT'S WHAT THEY SHOULD DO.
CHECK OUR WEBSITE, WWW.NYL.TV.
>> IT IS A PLEASURE TALKING TO
YOU, GETTING A SENSE OF WHAT
YOU'RE DOING.
WE'LL CONTINUE TO TALK WITH YOU
DOWN THE ROAD AS ALL OF THESE
ISSUES CONTINUE TO PERCOLATE.
>> ABSOLUTELY.
>> THANKS FOR JOINING US.
>> SURE T' BEEN FUN.
THANKS.

Mutual of America PSEG

Funders

MetroFocus is made possible by James and Merryl Tisch, Sue and Edgar Wachenheim III, the Sylvia A. and Simon B. Poyta Programming Endowment to Fight Anti-Semitism, Bernard and Irene Schwartz, Rosalind P. Walter, Barbara Hope Zuckerberg, Jody and John Arnhold, the Cheryl and Philip Milstein Family, Janet Prindle Seidler, and Judy and Josh Weston.

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