Of all the severe threats that Donald Trump and Trumpism pose to New Yorkers, the one that is irreversible is climate change. Once the globe warms, it will take centuries to recover. Even then we cannot bring back cities destroyed by storms or species gone extinct. The impact on food and water supplies is virtually permanent, and the disruption of geopolitical stability is terrifying.
New Yorkers have the power, along with other large states, to lead away from this terrifying future. If NYS were its own country, it would be the 12th largest economy in the world. That gives it the heft to send a strong signal to the financial markets that have such an outsized influence on global investment patterns. Our signal should be this: The future is in clean renewable energy, not in fossil fuels. NYC too has both the symbolic and financial power to influence global markets, especially in concert with California and other large cities and states. And there is nothing the climate deniers or the Trump Administration can do to prevent it.
After years of New Yorkers organizing, Governor Cuomo has taken important steps by banning fracking and moving forward with his goal to reduce greenhouse gasses by 80% by 2050. The governor and legislature should take the next step and pass the NY Climate and Community Protection Act to ensure that his climate goals are codified with force of law and done so in a way that promotes good jobs and environmental justice. If enough states take this bold and comprehensive action, the market for fossil fuels will decline, regardless of federal policy. The demand for oil will be suppressed. The price and profits for oil companies will also be suppressed, encouraging the financial world to move beyond fossil fuels and shift investments to clean sectors.
New York’s own mega-investors, the city and state pension funds, should be among the early adopters of this financially and ethically sound investment strategy by divesting entirely from fossil fuels.
Read the rest of the op ed on the New York Daily News website
Take action now: Contact the city and state comptrollers