FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
The Council of the City of New York
Council Member Costa Constantinides, District 22

September 25, 2019
Contact: Terence Cullen
718-274-4500

Constantinides Stresses Urgency to Combat Climate Change After Latest IPCC Report

Astoria, NY – New York City Council Member Costa Constantinides, Chair of the Committee on Environmental Protection, today called on all levels of government to meaningfully act on climate change after the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) this morning issued yet another stark report. The body’s findings warned that Earth’s oceans are greatly stressed, in part, because steady greenhouse gas emissions have created a hotter planet.

“We all woke up this morning to another disturbing report by the IPCC, which warned our oceans are extremely strained because of rising greenhouse gas emissions. Even if we act now, climbing sea levels and underwater destruction provide a grim future both for our children and the unique ecosystems in our waterways. I hope world leaders gathered for the U.N. General Assembly this week realize the severity of this report and how it might forever shape their borders and endanger their citizens. While the White House might turn a blind eye to findings like these, New York City is well aware of the threat. That’s why, in April, we passed the Climate Mobilization Act, the largest carbon emissions reduction ever mandated at the local level, so other cities may have a blueprint for reducing carbon emissions. I am committed to fighting for more meaningful, attainable policies that give our children a brighter, greener, safer future.”

Background:

  • The New York City Council in April 2019 enacted the Climate Mobilization Act, which is the largest carbon emissions mandate ever enacted by any city, anywhere. In addition to promoting green roofs and renewable energy, this multi-bill package required large buildings reduce their carbon emissions a collective 40% by 2030. Structures that 25,000 square feet or larger currently account for 30% of the Big Apple’s annual greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Today’s IPCC report warned of unprecedented sea level rise even with meaningful greenhouse gas reductions. Constantinides and Resiliency Chair Justin Brannan have introduced a bill in June requiring the City come up with a five-borough resiliency plan, the need for which was underscored by the extreme weather that struck New York City this summer.
  • Pollution and a hotter planet have also led to lower oxygen levels in waterways, the IPCC found, which in turn can disrupt wildlife and ecosystems. Constantinides has pushed for cleaner waterways in New York City, whether by reviving the Jamaica Bay Task Force last Climate Week or pushing for the creation of a new waste water treatment plant on Rikers Island once the remaining jails there close.

Council Member Costa Constantinides represents the New York City Council’s 22nd District, which includes his native Astoria along with parts of Woodside, East Elmhurst, and Jackson Heights. He serves as the chair of the City Council’s Environmental Protection Committee and sits on three additional committees: Sanitation, Resiliency, and Technology. For more information, visit council.nyc.gov/costa.

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