We are facing a global existential crisis. The science is clear — climate change is the biggest short and long-term threat to social justice, economic stability, national security and public health. Some scientists are stating we have until roughly 2030 before we cross over the horizon of catastrophe, and irreversible damage is done to our planet.
Right here at home in Central New York, we are seeing the harmful effects every day, from the contaminated algal blooms growing on our lakes with potential to get into our drinking water, to flooding from Lake Ontario that is ruining land for miles and putting countless homes and businesses at risk.
As a former Pentagon policy advisor, I helped account and prepare for the devastating effects of climate change at home and abroad. I will fight for strong actions – like rejoining the Paris Climate Agreement, accelerating our transition to clean energy, and reinforcing our infrastructure against flooding and other natural disasters – because we have a basic responsibility to leave a better world for our children and grandchildren
Action must be taken. Yet Washington simply isn’t listening.
Our own Rep. John Katko went to Washington questioning whether climate change was caused by humans, and he’s since earned a dismal lifetime rating from the League of Conservation Voters of 27% – meaning he’s voted against protecting our environment for future generations three quarters of the time. Why, you might ask? The key is to follow the money.
Oil and gas companies continue to rack up massive tax breaks that aren’t available to working families, while the 2017 Trump tax bill that Katko voted for gave billions in new tax benefits to the fossil fuel industry. Meanwhile, smart regulations designed to keep our air clean and reduce emissions are being rolled back as the fossil fuel industry and its lobbyists donate millions in campaign contributions to gain massive influence in the Trump administration.
This simply can’t continue. It’s time for new ideas and fresh leadership that is not beholden to dark special interest money and will fight to protect our planet as well as our communities here in Central New York.
This starts with rejoining the Paris climate agreement — intended to achieve net zero carbon emissions by mid-century — which the Trump administration filed paperwork to begin formally withdrawing from back in October 2019. If this withdrawal is completed in 2020, the United States will become the only country on the planet not participating in this mission.
Not only should we be part of the Paris climate agreement, but we should be leading the charge to effectively tackle this pending catastrophe by accelerating our transition to 100% renewable energy.
Currently, carbon-free energy sources, such as wind, solar, and nuclear, generate about 36% of the United States’ electricity. We must work towards a grid and economy that is 100% clean and self-sufficient.
A strong economy and clean environment do not have to be mutually exclusive. In fact, with a large-scale public and private investment in our infrastructure, technology, and workforce, our region can spawn the next “Green” Industrial Revolution and become a central hub leading the charge in producing clean, renewable energy. Not only will this lower carbon emission levels, but it has the potential to generate tens of thousands of good-paying jobs across every skill and education level.
We then must take aggressive action to protect our lakes from the toxic algal blooms that continue to grow more harmful, in large part as a result of climate change in which the last four years have been the warmest in history. This means investing in new technology that repairs or replaces household septic tanks, updates wastewater treatment plants, and installs state of the art, green stormwater infrastructure, all designed to curb toxic runoff and account for elevated temperatures.
We also must take a holistic approach to addressing flooding along Lake Ontario through investment in 21st Century water infrastructure and amending the International Joint Commission 2014 Plan to account for the increased rainfall and snowfall as a result of climate change.
In the military, when we were confronted with a crisis, we began by defining the problem. We never asked a fellow service member their political affiliation or allowed dark special interest money to influence our actions – we came together and tackled the problem efficiently and effectively to complete the mission at hand. This is the same swift and aggressive leadership needed to tackle the climate crisis before it is too late – a mission I am committed to for our children, for the people of Central New York, and for the future of our planet.
- Recommit to the Paris Accords
- Spur large-scale public and private investment in renewable energy
- End subsidies to the fossil fuel industry and instead start putting those subsidies and additional investment in renewable energy and training the next green workforce
- Upgrade more of our buildings and grid to run off renewable energy
- Implement sustainable transportation investments
- Boost forest and ecosystem restoration
- Invest in research and development that fights climate change
Help us grow our team and turn NY-24 blue this November!