Climate change is a global crisis that compels us to act. We need immediate action to tackle this issue today and ensure we leave behind a healthier, safer and more sustainable world for our children and grandchildren.  Since my introduction into state and national politics years ago, I have been in the lead defending our environment. I’ve sponsored legislation throughout my career calling for specific actions to eliminate greenhouse gases and invest in clean energy. While I have recognized this existential threat, most of my Republican colleagues – and President Trump – continue to ignore it, instead catering to the interests of big energy companies. It shouldn’t be hard or politically disadvantageous to come to terms with the man-made impacts that have caused climate change. Though some might see the fight against climate change as an interruption to human innovation, I see it as the embodiment of it. As a society, we should invest heavily in the already proven prospects of renewable energy and, eventually, abandon fossil fuels completely. I am a proud co-sponsor of the 2019 Green New Deal resolution and the Climate Action Now Act, both of which would include many of the bold climate-related proposals I have advocated for over the years. We should also strive for more energy efficient standards in automobiles and other products that we rely heavily on in our daily lives. Time is running out if we want to successfully subvert climate change. Future generations will remember who was on their side and who turned a blind eye.
As your Member of Congress, it’s my job to be a leader on the issues that matter most to my constituents. My climate change record demonstrates that commitment. For the 2018 calendar year, I was awarded a perfect 100 percent score by the League of Conservation Voters, accompanying my 93 percent lifetime score. As a proud member of the Safe Climate Caucus, I co-sponsored bills that would bring an end to new fossil fuel projects and move our electricity and most transportation systems to 100 percent renewable energy by 2035.
Since its proliferation in the last decade, I have been a major stalwart in the fight against the anti-climate agenda that has engulfed the Republican Party. In 2017, President Trump made the ill-informed choice to leave the Paris Climate Agreement at the behest of big energy. The agreement, signed by 195 parties, marked a unified recognition of the global climate crisis that is seldom seen in diplomatic relations. Not only is our leaving dangerous for the future of the world’s climate–the U.S. emits a disproportionate amount of CO2, it also hurts our diplomatic credibility abroad. The United States government must reaffirm its commitment to fighting climate change by rejoining the Paris Climate Agreement, whether by this president or the next person who holds the office.
This is a global issue, but the impacts of the climate crisis on our own community have been devastating. As a lifelong New Yorker, I see the differences in our extreme weather, our more frequent flooding, and the catastrophic impacts of Superstorm Sandy in 2012.
One of the biggest contributors to climate change is the large amounts of C02 released into the atmosphere by our fossil fuel burning automobiles. In 2017 I reintroduced the bipartisan Open Fuel Act. The legislation would require 50 percent of new automobiles by 2020 to be able to operate on nonpetroleum fuels. That number would increase to 80 percent by 2021 and 80 percent in each subsequent year. We hope to incentivize manufacturers and consumers to choose alternative fuel options that would reduce our dependence on fossil fuels and create thousands of new jobs here in the United States. By working together to curtail the effects of climate change, we can not only strive to achieve that goal, but we can also strengthen America’s economic outlook.
During the 116th Congress, I am proud to say that I’ve continued to be on the frontlines of climate advocacy. I cosponsored both of our caucus’s climate proposals, the Green New Deal and the Climate Action Now Act, because this issue is much too fragile to be subject to division and political games. Both include initiatives that I have championed and believe are necessary in saving our planet. I was thrilled to see that for the first time in American History, the energy production capacity of renewables outpaced that of coal in 2019. I hope that this is a sign of things to come as we look to transition to a cleaner energy future. The threat of climate change is dire, which is why I continue to push my esteemed colleagues to work with the rest of the world to cut carbon pollution and rise to the challenges that climate change presents to us.