During his latest briefing on Hurricane Sandy, Gov. Andrew Cuomo expanded on his views on climate change, calling it a “reality” but choosing to focus on the increasing number of “extreme weather situations.”
Cuomo has gained attention in recent days for alluding to climate change during his public comments, and calling for the need to build infrastructure in a way that anticipates serious inclement weather.
“Part of learning from this is the recognition that climate change is a reality, extreme weather is a reality,” Cuomo said Thursday afternoon. “It is a reality that we are vulnerable, and if we’re going to do our job as elected officials we’re going to have to figure out how to redesign or how we go forward make the modifications necessary so we don’t incur this type of damage.””
More from Cuomo:
“Climate change is a controversial subject, right? People will debate whether or not there is climate change, whether or not it’s a cycle, whether it’s global warming. That’s a whole political debate that I don’t want to get into. I want to talk about the frequency of extreme weather situations, which is not political. The frequency of extreme weather situations is way up. We just went through Hurricane Irene just over a year ago and there’s only so long you can say, ‘Well, this is once in a lifetime and it will never happen again.’ And then it happens again.”
“The frequency is way up. It is not prudent, I believe, at this point to sit here and say, ‘Well, it’s not going to happen again. I believe it is going to happen again. I pray that it’s not; I believe that it is. Once you cross that bridge, once you have that recognition — then what are you doing about it? What design changes, what construction changes are you making to deal with it? It is a reality that I think is becoming clearer and clearer to more and more people every day. But do I believe that the nation has arrived at this as a consensus? No.”
Climate change, however, isn’t a new topic for Cuomo’s office, at least behind the scenes.
In June, Gannett’s Albany Bureau reported Cuomo’s office and state lawmakers had been in discussions over a bill that would reduce the state’s carbon-emissions cap, a move that would likely boost costs for coal-fired power plants and revamp the state’s participation in a regional climate-change program.
From our story in June:
Under pressure from environmental groups, lawmakers and Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office have discussed lowering the limit through the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, a nine-state cap-and-trade program in which carbon allowances are auctioned off to power producers.
That would increase the price of the credits at auction, and the added revenue to the state would partially be set aside to assist communities that see power plants close as a result, according to bill language drafted by Cuomo’s office and obtained by Gannett’s Albany Bureau.