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Dunlea & Hawkins Push Climate Action

Dunlea & Hawkins Push Climate Action

For immediate release: August 9, 2018

Dunlea Running for Comptroller to Push Climate Action, Divestment from Fossil Fuels

Hawkins says Green New Deal is path to full employment

(Poughkeepsie, NY) The Green Party candidates for Comptroller and Governor came to Poughkeepsie today to call for increased action on climate change which they say is the path to full employment.

Howie Hawkins, who finished third in the race for Governor four years ago with 5% of the vote, was one of the first political figures to call for a ban on fracking nearly a decade ago and his call for a Green New Deal has increasingly been echoed by other candidates and parties seeking office.

Hawkins says New York must get to 100% clean energy, net zero carbon emissions by 2030, which means an immediate halt to all new fossil fuel projects. Hawkins has long called for the CPV power plant to be permanently shut down; the state recently imposed a temporary halt while the company seeks a Title 5 air permit. Cuomo’s former top aide was convicted this year in a corruption case involving the plant owners. Hawkins has also opposed the proposals for Cricket Valley Energy Center in Dover and the plan of Glide Path Industries to build a gas fired power plant and storage facility known as a "peaker plant" in the Town of Ulster.

Mark Dunlea, the Green candidate for State Comptroller, said that the refusal of the current Comptroller to divest the state pension funds from fossil fuels is the main focus of his candidacy. For the last five years Dunlea has helped coordinate the NYC and state campaigns for 350.org to divest public pension funds from fossil fuels. NYC announced earlier this year that they would divest.

“The climate crisis is a runaway freight train but Cuomo and Trump are still shoveling more fossil fuels in the engine to make it go faster. An increasing number of scientists and even the NY Times Magazine have concluded that humanity is doomed. But rather than throwing up our hands in despair, we need to acknowledge that we are facing a climate emergency and mobilize across the board to try to contain the amount of damage and suffering that is already being felt,” said Dunlea.

Unlike Cuomo who has flooded the state with natural gas, Hawkins points out that methane from natural gas is more than 80 times more potent as a greenhouse gas than carbon is over the first 20 years in the atmosphere.

“We are glad that grassroots opposition forced the Governor to agree to ban fracking. Unfortunately, Cuomo continues to allow the state to be flooded with imported fracked gas from Pennsylvania. NY lags far behind other states in moving us to 100% clean energy,” stated Hawkins.

New York only gets 4% of its state electricity from renewable energy. Hawkins and Dunlea both support NY Off Fossil Fuels bill (NY OFF, A5105A/S5908A) to move to 100% clean energy by 2030.

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Cynthia Nixon supports a weaker climate action bill for 100% clean energy by 2050. Governor Cuomo’s stated goal is 50% clean electricity by 2030, which would only reduce New York’s total carbon footprint by about 12% since electric power generation only accounts for about a quarter of the state’s total carbon footprint. Republican candidate Marc Molinaro wants to repeal the fracking ban and go all in on fracked gas.

“Our society is adding carbon to the atmosphere at least 10 times faster than the last climate catastrophe 252 million years ago due to extreme volcanic activity, when planetary temperatures rose by 5 degrees and 97% of all species went extinct. The climate science says industrial economies like New York’s must get to 100% clean energy by 2030 if we are to avert runaway global warming. Politicians who promote lower and slower goals, or no goals, are part of the problem, not the solution,” Hawkins said.

The Green New Deal combines a transition to 100% clean energy by 2030 with targeted public investments directly into the energy, housing, transportation, and water and sewage infrastructure of struggling communities upstate. It will lower the costs of doing business by lowering energy, health care, broadband, and property tax costs to business.

A 2013 study by Stanford and Cornell professors found that a rapid transition to clean energy by 2030 would result in “4.5 million jobs created during construction and 58,000 permanent annual jobs thereafter for the energy facilities,” which equates to about 300,000 40-year jobs.

In 2017, nearly 1 million Americans were working near- or full-time in the energy efficiency, solar, wind, and alternative vehicles sectors. This is almost five times the current employment in the fossil fuel electric industry, which includes coal, gas, and oil workers.

Dunlea also said that New York needs a comptroller who will be more aggressive in addressing the epidemic of political corruption in New York State. He said that as Comptroller he would investigate state contracts which were awarded to campaign contributions, otherwise known as pay-to-play. Cuomo got the state legislature to take away the power of the Comptroller to review certain state contracts just before he began awarding the Buffalo Billion contracts to campaign donors.

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