The PANIC rally and march started at 11:00 AM, at 79 Sheridan Ave., the state-owned, natural gas plant that heats/cools the Capitol/State Plaza Complex. Sheridan Ave., The march will stopped at sites along the way including DEC , NYS State Comptroller’s office, banks, and the Public Service Commission. Other marches begin from several sites including Albany High School and the downtown University at Albany downtown campus culminating in a rally at the State Capitol.
From observation, the march brought out some of the same people one would expect at any such “protest” but with the welcome addition of hundreds of high school-age participants many with ingenious signs stating their positions. See the young lady with the two-sided sign in the these photos.
Groups urged Governor Cuomo to declare a climate emergency. Specific demands included the following:
- Ban on all new fossil fuel projects.
- Halt to all New York State subsidies for fossil fuels.
- Increase in funding to $10 billion for renewable energy/green initiatives in the 2020-21 budget with 40% of targeting “disadvantaged communities.”
- Convert all public buildings and vehicles to zero “greenhouse gas” emissions by 2023.
- Amend building codes to require all new buildings be carbon emission free by 2023.
[Ed Note: Sadly, none of these demands addresses taking direct and immediate action to reduce energy use. The demands focused on an assumption of continued energy usage but substituting non-carbon sources. This is a completely unrealistic and unattainable goal. This approach echoes the much vaunted, so-called “Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act” which pushes action off to 2030 and 2050. It calls for studies, not action. And joke of jokes, yet another state panel: The New York State Climate Action Council. Oh please! This will be a dithering group of political appointees with minimal qualifications and no pressure to do anything.
A valid approach would include proposals such as the following:
- Adopt the California’s motor vehicle emission standards.
- Progressively reduce speed limits from the current 55 mph to an eventual 40 mph (and from 65 to 50 on 4-lanes roads). Enforce the speed limit with vehicle confiscation after so many violations (e.g., 1 month for each mph over the limit for, say, the third violation).
- Immedicte 40 mph limit for large trucks (“semis”) on secondary roads and 50 mph on 4-lane limited access roads.
- Increase the sales tax for new vehicles based on EPA mileage ratings. Have a scale of so much percentage for EPA 20-30 mpg, 15-20 mpg, etc. There might be no sales tax for new vehicles in the 40-50 mpg range.
- Progressively increase the fuel, tire, and related taxes (with provisions that the politicos not squander the increased revenue).
- Progressively (but aggressively), increase all tolls.
- Mandate bus pull-offs with bus operator controlled signalization to give buses priority to get back into the traffic flow.
- Mandate that towns and cities (a) progressively eliminate parking and (b) meter all on-street parking.
- … and on and on …
Sadly and in response to the march, the governor could only come up with a weak statement blaming the federal government for inaction while it is clearly in his power to lead NYS on climate action. From the Times Union, “Gov. Andrew Cuomo praised the climate marchers. In a prepared statement he said, ‘I commend the thousands of students who are participating in the Global Climate Strike today and demanding solutions to this crisis before it gets worse. This next generation of Americans will pay the price if the federal administration’s inaction continues.’”]