BY TRONE DOWD
Following the news that President Donald Trump would pull out of the Paris Climate Agreement, Mayor Bill de Blasio declared this week that he would follow through with plans to cut carbon emissions drastically, ensuring that the city does its part to curb climate change.
The announcement came Wednesday afternoon at the launch of ferry service in Brooklyn. The mayor called the Paris Accord “the biggest step forward we’ve taken in many years” and that the city would be ready to respond as early as next week.
“It’s unconscionable for the president to step away from [the accords],” he said. “But we’ll take matters into our own hands. We in New York City are going to have to take matters into our own hands. We plan, later this week, to sign an executive order maintaining New York City’s commitment to the Paris agreement.”
De Blasio said that the destructive aftermath of Hurricane Sandy should be all the proof that the president needs to realize that climate change is a real threat to nations across the world.
“President Trump should know that climate change is a dagger aimed straight at the heart of New York City,” de Blasio said. “It’s very painful to reflect the fact that Donald Trump is from New York City, he should know that what he is thinking of doing would hurt his hometown more than any place else.”
The Paris Climate Agreement is a joint venture to take part in reducing the effects of climate change by 194 countries around the globe. The United States would be one of three nations not participating in the pact, along with Nicaragua and Syria.
Queens has been at the forefront of the climate change issue. Of the five members of the City Council’s committee on Environmental Protection, four hail from Queens. Three of those members represent sections of Southeast Queens.
Councilman Costa Constantinides (D-Astoria), chairman of the council’s Environmental Protection Committee, told the Press of Southeast Queens that he agreed with the mayor’s plan, stating that Trump’s actions would have “destabilizing effects for the agreement and devastating effects for our planet.”
“Not combating climate change, or even acknowledging its existence, means that we won’t be ready for its destructive environmental, ecological, and national security—and financial effects,” he said. “Our country should invest in green jobs and renewable energy, rather than protecting the fossil fuel industry. I am appalled that Trump is dismantling the protections and regulations that had already been in place to keep our planet safe. This will not deter our city from leading the way on environmental protection by maintaining our commitment to the Paris agreement’s provisions and passing legislation that encourage use of renewable energy.”
Councilman Donovan Richards (D-Laurelton), who is the former chairman of the Environmental Protection Committee, has been a vocal supporter of climate change initiatives. In September 2015, he helped open a massive solar power plant at JFK Airport Park in Springfield Gardens, marking the single biggest pushes for alternative power in the borough. Richards currently serves as the co-chairman of the Progressive Caucus, which has pointed out that scientific proof shows that climate change is a threat.
“Pulling out of the Paris Accord is dangerous and irresponsible and I’m proud to stand with Mayor de Blasio and keep New York City in line with the original agreement made by President [Barack] Obama,” Richards said. “If and when Trump pulls out of the accord, he is saying that he doesn’t care about waterfront communities and the many low-income New Yorkers of color who will suffer the worst from this brain dead decision.”