THE CLIMATE CRISIS

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.

TRANSCRIPT

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.

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, Judy and Josh Weston and the Dr. Robert C. and Tina Sohn Foundation.

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