by Hugh Johnson
Mark Dunlea, the Green Party Candidate running for the New York State Comptroller, spoke at October Save the Pine Bush dinner. He commenced by stating the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)’s assertion that we have only 12 years to do something about Climate Change (really Accelerated Global Warming, AGW). A “miracle” solution is needed to cut back Greenhouse Emission by 97% which the IPCC feels is needed to begin to reverse AGW. This would include reducing the use of Natural gas and Fracking, which release methane, an even more dangerous heating trapping gas compared to CO2. According a New York Times article, it might be too late to do reverse the damage of climate change.
Mark relayed the IPCC’s report that once the earth’s average temperature warms up to 5 degrees, the dreaded “Science Fiction” scenarios involving AGW will take over and this could be the beginning of the extinction of mankind. Some projections are that the average annual temperatures in New York State could warm as much as 10 degrees by 2080! So far, the earth has warmed about 1.5 degrees Fahrenheit in the past century but is warming faster each year. The IPCC is hoping that we can build a machine that literally sucks the CO2 out of the atmosphere which might be the only way to totally reverse AGW at this point.
He discussed 350.org which is an international group addressing climate change with the hope of reducing CO2 to 350 parts per million (ppm). They focus on political will which Mark thinks is missing these days. Mankind now exceeds 400 ppm which many feel is approaching, if not exceeding the “tipping” point where AGW will really begin. This group urges all to stop supporting and investing in huge fossil companies like Exon.
Mark’s major concern with NY, despite being a “Blue” state and recognizing “Climate Change” driven mainly by mankind, does not practice what it preaches. The State gets only 1 percent of its electricity by solar power, 3 percent by wind and the rest most from fossil fuels.
Meanwhile there are plans to build a huge turbine station at Sheridan Avenue which would provide heat to many central buildings in Albany, including the Empire Plaza. This would be driven by natural gas and NOT renewable energy. According to the latest IPCC report, NYC, despite an intricate mass transit system, is the second worst offender of carbon emissions, next only to Los Angles.
He also discussed the “Green New Deal.” A spin-off from the Roosevelt’s “New Deal’, it formed in 2010 in Europe. He discussed the two main parts of it. The first is moving to totally renewable “clean” energy by 2030. This is energy that doest NOT produce green house gases. This transition would create up to 5 million new jobs, although some would be short-lived. California looks to reach this goal by 2020 and is already 50 percent there. New York State on the other hand, is only about 23 percent of the way towards meeting this goal. He also stated the Texas now receives up to 17 percent of its power supply from wind. Interestingly, all but one of the NY Democratic congress folks is on board with the idea to make New York meet the 2030 goal. Paul Tonko is the exception who claims he does not have enough time to read the IPCC report.
The other part of the “Green New Deal” includes a directed “Carbon Tax” on the profits of fossil fuel companies with any proceeds being directly invested back into renewable energies. However Mark warns, this Carbon Tax would NOT eliminate climate change.
Mark is realistic that he will not beat DiNapoli. Even so, he urges EVERYONE to call DiNapoli at 518-474-4044 and tell him to divest the NY Pension Funds from fossil fuels. Tom DiNapoli is not a climate change denier and will listen if people call him on this. I already called this number, got through quickly and got my name on the list to divest the funds from fossil fuels.