Home > Uncategorized > Stunning Contrast Between NY Gov. Cuomo and Christie State of State Addresses

Stunning Contrast Between NY Gov. Cuomo and Christie State of State Addresses

Cuomo Promises Action on Climate Change – Christie in Complete Denial

First thing we have to learn is to accept the fact – and I believe it is a fact – that climate change is real. ~~~ NY Gov. Andrew Cuomo State of the State Address – 1/9/13

[Updates below]

I’ve been writing about how NJ Gov. Christie is in deep denial on global warming and ignoring the wake up call from Superstorm Sandy – most recently in Christie’s State of the State address see: Gov. Ignores Wake Up Call on Global Warming, Coastal Vulnerability, and Lax Regulation.

That is something that is even more stunning when compared to NY Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s State of the State addressdelivered just one day later, on Wednesday.

[we previously noted a similar sharp contrast with President Obama’ Executive Order on Sandy Rebuild – a major story that has had zero coverage in NJ media circles.]

While Christie has spent 3 years in climate denial (and worse); abandoned the northeast states’ Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI); diverted $680 million in Clean Energy Funds to pay for $1.57 BILLION in corporate welfare; ignored science and expert recommendations on shore vulnerability; recklessly promoted and deregulated rebuilding; consolidated political power in a Rebuild Czar; and engaged in demagogic emotional manipulation of Sandy’s victims, here’s what Gov. Cuomo did and said:

Responding to the crisis. We have to do everything we’ve outlined above but we also have the added responsibility of needing to address Hurricane Sandy. And let’s start by learning from what has happened. We empaneled four commissions right after Hurricane Sandy to look at the various aspects of the storm and lessons learned. They did extraordinary work and I’d ask us to give them a round of applause now and recognize the chairmen who worked very hard.

First thing we have to learn is to accept the fact – and I believe it is a fact – that climate change is real. It is denial to say this is – each of these situations is a once in a lifetime. There have been – there is a 100 year flood every two years now. It’s inarguable that the sea is warmer and that there is a changing weather pattern, and the time to act is now. We must lower the regional greenhouse gas emission cap. And let’s make a real difference on climate change by reducing the CO2 cap. We must also increase our use of local renewable power sources. We propose increasing the use of alternative power, distributed generation of electricity, which will reduce the reliance on the large power plants.

We must understand the needs of coastal communities. Because they pose special challenges and many of them are manmade. Let’s take a look at lower Manhattan. This was lower Manhattan in 1609. This is lower Manhattan now, all man-made filled areas. This is lower Manhattan with the Sandy storm surge. You can see that the man-made areas are the vulnerable areas to the storm surge. It’s the way they were filled; it’s the way they were constructed. We propose the Recreate NY-Smart Home Program, where rather than just rebuilding a home today – that we may very well rebuild two years from now, three years from now, four years from now – we build it back once but we build it back once right and we mitigate for the environmental damage and disaster.  I’d rather pay more and put a house on high links today than rebuild that house three times.

While Gov. Christie was working the Kleanex circuit, here are other examples of Leadership, Priorities, and Action Items Cuomo promised:

  • We propose a Recreate NY-Home Buyout program.
  • We must harden our infrastructure .
  • We must harden the New York City Subway system.
  • We must harden our airports
  • We need to harden our fuel delivery system
  • We should have a strategic fuel reserve
  • We must really get ready for the next storm and have a PSC that’s going to require the utilities to come up with a real plan.
  • We must “put real regulatory enforcement teeth into the Public Service Commission, which has for too long been a toothless tiger”
  • The time has come to abolish Long Island Power Authority, period.
  • We want to establish a world class emergency response network.
  • We want to create a statewide volunteer corps
  • We want to establish a statewide not-for-profit network to help coordinate the emergency response
  • We want to have a citizen education campaign to prepare citizens

Below is a national story on the Cuomo speech – I am providing the complete text because it is a subscription service and no link is available:

Gov. Cuomo pledges to flood-proof New York’s subway system, raise regional carbon emissions cap

Colin Sullivan, E&E reporter

Published: Thursday, January 10, 2013

NEW YORK — Dealing with climate change and protecting New York City from future superstorms featured high on the list of priorities during Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s State of the State address yesterday in Albany.

Cuomo, a Democrat, said he would work to make coastal areas and New York Harbor more resilient to climate change and storm surges thought to be intensified by the warming planet and rising seas. He also promised quick action to protect New York City’s subway system against flooding during future storms and tidal surges, describing inflatable bladders to block subway entrances.

He said flood-proof subways and bus depots would become a priority, with “vertical roll-down doors, vent closures, inflatable bladders and upsized fixed pumps (with backup power sources) … all options to harden New York’s subway system.” Although New York officials have weighed flood protection measures for years, their plans weren’t implemented, and Superstorm Sandy flooded and blacked out parts of the city’s subway and rail commuter systems in late October.

Cuomo talked at length of improving the state’s renewable energy capacity and lowering its carbon emissions. Citing the devastation brought by Sandy, Cuomo pledged to lower the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative’s carbon emissions cap. He also promised a $1 billion “Green Bank” to match private dollars with public on energy technology development.

The governor said redundancies must be built into the region’s fuel delivery network to avoid the long lines for gasoline and supply bottlenecks that hit the region after the storm. Cuomo said gas stations from here on out should have on-site backup power to protect New Yorkers from fuel disruptions.

A suggestion of harbor flood barriers

On carbon emissions, Cuomo urged the nine states participating in RGGI — a regional CO2 cap-and-trade program for electric power plants — to lower the current cap of 165 million tons of CO2. Cuomo noted that the target is well above the current emissions level of 91 million tons.

On New York Harbor, Cuomo said a long-term strategy should be developed to combine natural barriers with man-made obstacles to limit high tides and surges when a severe storm hits. He mentioned floodgates in his remarks but stopped short of backing specific proposals for the harbor, many of which would likely cost tens of billions of dollars to construct.

As he has before, Cuomo took a hard-line stance on so-called climate skeptics, saying they were living in a state all their own — “a state of denial.”

“Climate change is real,” he said, referring to Superstorm Sandy last year and Hurricane Irene the year before. “It is denial to say that each of these situations is once in a lifetime.”

Beyond that, Cuomo said he would abolish the Long Island Power Authority and hoped to privatize power generation and delivery on Long Island. Cuomo and others were downright hostile to LIPA in the wake of the storm last year as the power remained off through much of the island, and Cuomo said he would bring in another entity under stricter Public Service Commission regulation.

[Update #1: 1/12/13 – this makes the Christie denial and malfeasance criminal – it is finally sinking in, even at the NY Times:

Heat, Flood or Icy Cold, Extreme Weather Rages Worldwide


Update #2 – 2/4/13 – NY Times page one story provides even more stuniing contrast: Cuomo Seeking Home Buyouts in Flood Zones

ALBANY — Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo is proposing to spend as much as $400 million to purchase homes wrecked by Hurricane Sandy, have them demolished and then preserve the flood-prone land permanently, as undeveloped coastline.

The purchase program, which still requires approval from federal officials, would be among the most ambitious ever undertaken, not only in scale but also in how Mr. Cuomo would be using the money to begin reshaping coastal land use. Residents living in flood plains with homes that were significantly damaged would be offered the pre-storm value of their houses to relocate; those in even more vulnerable areas would be offered a bonus to sell; and in a small number of highly flood-prone areas, the state would double the bonus if an entire block of homeowners agreed to leave.

The land would never be built on again. Some properties could be turned into dunes, wetlands or other natural buffers that would help protect coastal communities from ferocious storms; other parcels could be combined and turned into public parkland.

In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, which swept through the region on Oct. 29, Mr. Cuomo has adamantly maintained that New York needs to reconsider the way it develops its coast. He has repeatedly spoken, in blunt terms, about the consequences of climate change, noting that he has responded to more extreme weather in his first two years as governor than his father, Mario M. Cuomo, did in his 12 years in the job. Last month, in hisState of the State address, he raised the prospect of home buyouts, declaring “there are some parcels that Mother Nature owns.”

[Update #3 –  2/10/13 – Wow, I just noticed that WNYC framed this contrast 6 weeks previously – great reporting and good for them, see :  Christie and Cuomo’s Dueling Visions for Post-Sandy Rebuilding – But I was still 2 weeks ahead of them in highlighting the “nostalgia” at the core of Christie’s response, and explaining  the negative implications of that, see:  Are there any grownups in the room?].

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